published Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Dooley sees practice progress


by Wes Rucker

KNOXVILLE — College football coaches hesitate to comment on any day’s work, especially a scrimmage, until they’ve seen the video.

But there was no silver lining to Tennessee’s Saturday scrimmage, first-year Volunteers coach Derek Dooley confirmed Monday.

“It was pretty consistent with the initial reaction,” Dooley said. “I was looking for something better, but I think I saw it right on when I was on the field.”

Dooley was disappointed but admitted that he and his assistants have intentionally thrown as much of the new schemes as possible at their young team.

“We’re trying to do a lot to see what we can do,” Dooley said Monday. “Today we really tightened it down, and that’s probably one of the reasons practice was so good. There wasn’t a lot of thinking. They could just play. A lot of it’s on coaching, but we do it on purpose so we can see what they can do.

“Today was a really good way to come back after the scrimmage. We made a little progress today.”

Eventually, though, Dooley expects to see his Vols improve on the late-game situations that bothered him in Saturday’s situational work.

“Our youth and inexperience shows in critical situations, and the whole scrimmage was a critical situation,” he said. “So consequently, the whole scrimmage was not what it needed to be, especially on offense.

“But we corrected it and moved on, and that’s all you can do.”

The Vols will practice today before going through a gameday dress rehearsal Wednesday. They’ll start specific UT-Martin preparation Thursday and Friday before taking off the entire weekend and getting back to work Monday.

Gameday changes

UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton said Dooley agreed to move the pregame “Vol Walk” back to its traditional time of 2 hours, 15 minutes before kickoff. The walk will start on Lake Loudon Boulevard and head to the Volunteer Statue — commonly known as the “Torchbearer” — before proceeding down Peyton Manning Pass to Phillip Fulmer Way. The team will enter Neyland Stadium at Gate 21A.

Former coach Lane Kiffin shortened the Vol Walk last season because he thought it got players too “hyped up” well before kickoff. The move disturbed many UT fans who considered the Vol Walk one of the program’s proudest traditions.

Several offseason enhancements to the stadium should be completed before the Sept. 4 opener against UT-Martin. The 1,804-seat Tennessee Terrace club seats will debut on the west side of the stadium, as will a twice-life-size statue of former coach Robert Neyland outside Gate 16 and exterior murals of Neyland, Johnny Majors, Al Wilson, Peyton Manning, Doug Atkins and Chattanooga’s Reggie White.

A new amphitheater outside renovated Gate 21 will host the Vol Network’s Kickoff Call-In Show with Voice of the Vols Bob Kesling and analyst Tim Priest.

Student-section seats were adjusted to make room for moving the Vols to the west sideline.

Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.

about Wes Rucker...

Twitter - @wesrucker Facebook - /tfpvolsbeat

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