After getting a day off from practice for the annual media and photo day on Saturday, the Vols returned to Haslam Field with renewed energy on Sunday.
With just one more practice and the mock game left on the training camp schedule, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is looking for his team to "lock in" for a strong finish and he came out pleased with the result after Sunday's effort.
"We had a real good practice today, high energy," Dooley said. "We got a little rain out there so we got some wet ball work and that was good. This is the hardest part of camp. You finish two scrimmages and they are sick of it, the coaches are sick of it, but we have a couple of more days to work that we have to get something out of.
"It is so important, when you get to this point, to lock in on one or two specific areas that we have to improve on, individually, as a unit, as a group, whatever it is. If you keep that focus on how can I value my self-improvement the next two days, then you will get something good out of it. And we did today, so I was pleased."
The strong practice was a good sign for Dooley and his staff as the Vols had been trying to get the energy level back up after an emotional ending to a successful week of camp at Milligan College.
"I think we really hit that dip when we got back from Milligan and it was like Milligan and we're done," Dooley said. "Then we get back and we're not done. Those first couple of practices after Milligan, it was hard. It was tough emotionally, but I think we've pulled out of that and now we have our energy back."
TIGHT ENDS LOO-KING TO BOLSTER DEPTH
As seen at yesterday's media day, the tight end corps is running a little thin these days as three of Tennessee's tight ends were on crutches.
Enter Greg King and Ben Bartholomew.
Bartholomew, who has been practicing at both fullback and tight end this fall camp, was confused yesterday as to which unit group he should take a picture with.
Bartholomew chose to go with the latter option, and it appears his intuition was correct.
"I have worked a lot of tight end lately but I have been doing that pretty much through my whole career," Bartholomew said. "So it is pretty natural. I am just trying to get better at everything I can do."
Greg King on the other hand hasn't been on the offensive side of the ball since high school. It appears as though he talked his way into the switch.
"I was excited [when I found out]," King said, "but I kind of jinxed myself talking to the coaches saying ‘coach I can play a little fullback if you want me to come over there and play for you.' And then it happened the next day."
As King mentioned, head coach Derek Dooley took that conversation and ran with it, looking for any possible way to bolster the depth at that position.
"We're depleted at tight end and he's got that tight end body type," Dooley said. "He's not in the two-deep over there (on defense) but he's got some good qualities about him. He's got a good attitude so we are going to see how he does.
"We have to get in and just evaluate him a couple of days to see if he's got the skills set to help us and then we have to, obviously, keep it real simple and get him functioning. I've been in this position in the NFL. They bring a tight end in and you have to get him game ready in five days. There are ways you can get a guy to function out there, but it is still a long haul to help you win."
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