Scrimmage Notebook No. 1

Scrimmage Notebook No. 1

The Tennessee Volunteers moved to an empty stadium for Tuesday's practice. Go "Inside" this edition of the scrimmage notebook to get all the facts following the workout in Neyland Stadium.

Intangibles are Key

Derek Dooley was disappointed in the defense early in Tuesday's scrimmage, but it wasn't a technical issue. It was purely intangibles holding back the Tennessee defense.

"The biggest thing that I have emphasized, what I was disappointed in was the intangibles that we played with, the effort, the toughness, the discipline, the competitive spirit – we have to get that part right before we can worry about all that other scheme," Dooley said.

Adding Some Depth

Derek Dooley admitted to misspeaking Monday afternoon when he told local media that they were the deepest position in Knoxville, along with the training staff. Dooley has now added punters to that list.

"We punted three guys and every one of them averaged over 44 yards," he said. "It's going to be an interesting … we have some talented punters.

"We are deep at kicker. I misspoke the other day, the training staff, the media and now you can add kickers and punter to that list."

The Tennessee Volunteers have added two talented freshmen in Matt Darr and Michael Palardy to assist with special teams and they also return senior punter Chad Cunningham.

Rajion Still Raw

Derek Dooley said freshman tailback Rajion Neal is about as raw as they come, but the physical skills are undeniable.

"He has no idea what he is doing," said Dooley. "He doesn't understand what a protection is. A pass route is out of the question, but every now and then he just does all that stuff.

"He is as true freshman as a true freshman can be from a football standpoint, but physically he is not. He's got good physical skills, and he is an instinctive runner."

Gordon Delivers in Camp

No question the Volunteers need a youngster to step up at the cornerback position. Eric Gordon seems to be the guy that is ready to step into that role.

"Eric Gordon has had a great camp," said Dooley. "If I picked a couple guys that we needed to have a good camp Eric Gordon is one of them."

Gordon seems to bringing the intangibles that his new coaches are looking for this month.

"He is in to it, he is competing, he has probably had more pass breakups than anyone on the back end," Dooley said. "He has a lot of things to work on, but he is competing."

Poole Bringing It

Tauren Poole may have every bit of the physical skills that he needs, but his head coach said that isn't what sets the senior apart from the rest.

"He is doing everything well," said Dooley. "It's the intangible part of it, it really is. And it's not to take away from his physical skills, but he is putting so much in. He is putting every ounce in. He is getting return on it and that's what it takes."

Headaches All Around

Fullback Kevin Cooper missed Tuesday's scrimmage with a headache, but head coach Derek Dooley said headaches are to be expected. The head coach added that they will always err on the side of caution.

"If you get a headache nowadays you have to be out for a week," said Dooley. "Remember, we err on safety around here and that's what we are supposed to do.

"Do you ever see what we ask them to do? Of course you are going to get a headache. Let me tell you I get a headache. I am going to ask for a day off for a concussion. But we are doing the right thing."

Injury Free

Derek Dooley escaped his first scrimmage injury-free, which almost seems like a change of pace following three season-ending injuries in the first week of fall camp.

While there were no injuries, some players sat out of Tuesday's workout. Art Evans missed with a twisted ankle that doesn't appear serious.

Janzen Jackson missed his second day in a row with a hamstring injury. Jackson is expected back Thursday for the team's first two-a-day practice.

Nigel Mitchell-Thorton also missed with an unspecified injury. Dooley acted as though the injury wasn't serious.

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