Position and scrimmage switches highlight Vols practice

Position and scrimmage switches highlight Vols practice

August 19th, 2011 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE - With three receivers taking in Friday morning's practice on the sidelines, Derek Dooley pulled the orange defensive jerseys off cornerbacks Anthony Anderson and Naz Oliver in favor of white offensive jerseys.

The University of Tennessee football coach had several reasons to go through with the change.

"We're not deep as it is [at receiver]," Dooley said. "We've got injuries with Zach [Rogers], injuries with DeAnthony [Arnett], nothing major but little stuff. We've got a lot of guys in the secondary and so naturally when you're short in an area, you say who on that board has the skill sets to help us that we can afford to help us.

"Anthony, in particular, has a lot of good athleticism, he played it in high school, but he also brings a nice senior presence into that room. We've got a young room in there. Our oldest guy is Zach, and he doesn't talk. The next-oldest guys are true sophomores. We've got a lot of youth in there. I think Anthony will help us."

Rogers is battling a deep bruise on triceps, the freshman Arnett is dealing with soreness and fatigue in his hamstring and Matt Milton reaggravated an abdominal injury after taking a hit in practice on Thursday.

Anderson, a fifth-year senior who's also in the mix for the Volunteers' punt-return job, played receiver at Knoxville's Austin-East High School.

"Looking at the playbook looked like Japanese language, seeing all the zig-zags and everything," he said. "They made it as simple as possible on the first day."

Anderson's previous experience and physical abilities, Dooley believes the move is important from an experience standpoint.

"Great character, team football player, loves Tennessee and that's easier said than done because we're all selfish by nature," Dooley said. "We're born selfish. I mean when a baby is hungry, he cries, because all he's thinking about is 'I need some milk.' When you take a toy away from a baby, he cries and gets mad because he's not thinking about sharing,he's thinking 'I want my toy.' You have to beat out that self-absorbed trait that we all are born with. Anthony has none of that; it's a real tribute to his character."

Odds and ends

The Vols scrimmage on Saturday, and while Dooley usually treats the third scrimmage of camp, the Vols will also run some plays because they need it. Dooley said it'd be about 20 normal plays followed by 25-30 situational plays.

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson spoke with the media for the first time since spraining his MCL nearly two weeks ago. The senior said he feels 100 percent, but he won't scrimmage Saturday though he's closer to a return. Dooley said earlier this week that Jackson needs some work before the season starts.

Other players who didn't practice Friday: tailback/receiver Rajion Neal (knee), tailback Tom Smith (knee), linebacker Greg King (knee) and receiver Antonio Jones (undisclosed).

More coverage online and in Saturday's Times Free Press. Follow Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter for more continuous updates.