KNOXVILLE — For many Tennessee football players, it took too long for 7 o'clock to roll around Friday night.
After all, the Volunteers long were anticipating the first practice of the 2014 season.
"On the first day everyone's going to be itching for it," sophomore linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin said after Tennessee wrapped up its opening practice at Haslam Field. "It didn't affect us too much waiting around all day.
"It took too long," he added with a smile, "a little too long."
Second-year coach Butch Jones was pleased with some parts of practice, though he pointed out he and his staff can learn only so much with the players in helmets and shorts.
Jones was pleased with the impact some of Tennessee's many newcomers made in their practice debuts.
"I saw a much faster football team in all areas in moving around," he said, "but now it's able to get off blocks and make plays. Just our overall team, I could see much improvement.
"We have to get a lot of players ready to play for the first time. We have a lot of questions. We have a lot of untested positions and individuals in our football program. We have to test them each and every day both mentally and physically."
The wait is over, and the Vols are eager to focus on the preparations for the season, which begins against Utah State in 29 days.
"We took the practice field ready to go, so that's the good thing about it," All-SEC linebacker A.J. Johnson said. "I feel like we came out with a lot of energy and ready to play, but we always can get better. We've got more to improve on, and we can surely bring more energy. Everybody's ready for the pads to get on, so the energy's going to come when that comes as well."
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...