Saturday’s practice was a physical one for the Tennessee football team but one that Derek Dooley thought got too physical with what he called “extracurricular talk and activity after the play.”
UT’s head coach wasn’t pleased with how some of his players let their emotions get the best of them during the intense practice.
Quarterback Nick Stephens said this kind of stuff has been a part of the football program since he arrived, but that coaches handle the situations differently and that Dooley has a much different philosophy regarding those situations than the previous coaching staff.
Linebacker coach Lance Thompson seems to echo Dooley’s view.
“Good players always play between the snap,” Thompson said after Tuesday’s practice. “The stuff that happens after the whistle is for those rah-rah guys.”

Johnson impressing at new position

Austin Johnson has made the switch from “being hit to delivering the hit.”
The converted fullback has been playing at middle linebacker this spring in large part due to injuries the Vols have accumulated at the position. Johnson played linebacker in high school and has caught the eye of Thompson as a player who can contribute this fall.
“At the mike position, Austin Johnson has really stepped it up,” Thompson said. “(I’m) really pleased with Austin for a guy that hadn’t played linebacker in a couple of years.”

He’s not Monte Kiffin; he’s Justin Wilcox

In his first year at Tennessee, Justin Wilcox quickly made it a point not to compare himself to the Vols’ former defensive coordinator.
Wilcox came from Boise State, the mid-major power that has won two BCS bowl games in the last four years.
Wilcox said the decision to leave a national championship contender to come to Tennessee was an easy one because the UT program is among the elite programs in the country.
“The tradition here at Tennessee and in the SEC is unmatched,” Wilcox said.

Smith reunited with Tennessee, Dooley

Former Vol great Chuck Smith rejoined the program this spring, becoming the defensive line coach.
Smith has made it a priority to remind the current players about the history and tradition that Tennessee football once had.
Smith said he constantly brings up former players that he admired and great teams such as the 1985 “Sugar Vols” that won the SEC Championship.
“(The coaches) are just trying to let the guys know that the expectations are to play hard, fast and smart and represent the University of Tennessee on and off the field like they should,” Smith said.
Growing up, Smith was a high school teammate of Dooley’s. Smith said Dooley was one of the leaders of the team and has the same drive now as he did then.
“He’s about his business,” Smith said. “He’s serious about winning football games and doing it the right way.”

First scrimmage

The Vols will hold their first scrimmage of the spring Thursday afternoon. Some emphasized aspects of the scrimmage will be the newly installed goal line and short yardage situations, as well as field goal techniques and schemes.