Center Pope visits hospital

KNOXVILLE - Tennessee football player Cody Pope was released from UT Medical Center late Tuesday night after "precautionary tests" and will practice today, according to an athletic department spokesperson.

The spokesperson relayed a statement from UT head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh confirming that Pope was hospitalized earlier in the day. Multiple UT officials declined to disclose why Pope was sent to the hospital.

Pope - a 6-foot-6, 290-pound vegetarian from California - is UT's first-team center. He played multiple positions early in his career before settling back into the offensive line and starting the Vols' season opener against UT-Martin last weekend.

When asked if "any injuries of note" occurred in Tuesday's practice, first-year Vols coach Derek Dooley said, "Not right now."

"We always know more in the morning, you know, when everybody gets a little treatment," Dooley added.

Pope tweeted late Tuesday, "Thanks for the prayers. I'm going to be just fine."


Senior guard Jarrod Shaw returned to practice on a limited basis Tuesday after injuring his ankle in the second half against UT-Martin.

"It feels great," Shaw said. "I'm ready to go. It feels real good."

Shaw said he's done "nothing but get treatment" since the injury.

"I was waiting for those guys to open the training room yesterday, and I spent my whole Labor Day here," he said.

When Shaw hasn't been in the training room, he's been pampered at home by his girlfriend.

"She's been icing my foot and all kinds of stuff," he said. "She's wonderful."

Junior wide receiver Denarius Moore, a starter and one of the Vols' most explosive players, sat out again Tuesday with an injured right ankle and walked around in a large boot.

"We'll evaluate him tomorrow," Dooley said.

Tough Tuesday

Dooley was clearly displeased with his team's Tuesday work.

"Not one of our better practices today," he said. "I'm a little disappointed, but it's pretty common for a young and inexperienced team. You come out and you've got to do it all over again. And it's something that you have to learn. It's not easy. Football's tough, and you have to recommit yourself every week. And you've got to practice hard every week. You've got to prepare hard every week, as if it's your last game and your only game.

"I think that's something we're going to have to learn to do."

Poole a return man?

Dooley said he'd re-examine every possible option for the Vols at punt returner, and junior starting tailback Tauren Poole joined the group Tuesday.

The coach said Monday that he would look back at several players' recruiting highlight tapes in hopes of finding more options to replace injured first-team returner Gerald Jones, who might have lost his job anyway after muffing and losing a punt Saturday.

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