Loss to Cal? Unthinkable

Tennessee All-American offensive tackle Arron Sears said losing to California in the Sept. 2 season opener would be ``devastating.'' Tight end Chris Brown doesn't go that far, but he's pretty close. He can't envision starting with a home defeat.

``I can't imagine losing to Cal,'' Brown said. ``After last season, just losing in general, no matter who it will be to, would be embarrassing to us.

``We build ourself off working hard and winning football games. We don't want to lose. We feel it's not in us to lose. We work so hard. I'm not saying Cal doesn't work hard because I'm sure they're working just as hard as we are. But we want to win. We want to take it one step at a time and go at Cal and take all the other games after that.''

Brown admitted going 5-6 was a blow to the team's confidence.

``We lost a couple of games to teams we shouldn't have lost to,'' Brown said. ``It was a blow, but now we feel we have to forget about it, even though people are still going to talk about it no matter what happens this year.

``We can win the SEC East and maybe the SEC championship and people will say, `Well, what about last year?' So it's always going to be there.''


Defensive lineman J.T.Mapu hasn't played football in a year. His Mormon mission in Houston and Sulphur, La., left him with minimal time on a daily basis to work out.

But defensive line coach Dan Brooks likes what he's seen thus far from the junior from Hawaii.

``I'd never dealt with this before, but J.T. Mapu is ahead of where I thought he'd be after being gone for two years,'' said Brooks, adding that Mapu is competing for a starting job.

``I was worried about him. He could have walked in here 20 pounds overweight. Nobody had seen him. Nobody knew. But he looks great. He has a great work ethic. He has great retention mentally.''

Mapu remembers UT's scheme and he remembers his techniques. And he's ahead physically of where Brooks anticipated he would be.

``He hasn't lost quickness,'' Brooks said. ``And the tenacity he brings. He has pretty much a self inner pride of doing things right. I don't have any idea what he bench presses. I don't care. … It looks like his strength levels are good.''


It had the makings of a routine day. Wake up, go to class, work out.

Only this day, Vols defensive back Demetrice Morley found himself practicing with an NFL star: Peyton Manning.

Manning has a June golf tournament in Knoxville and always stops by the UT complex to work out for a few days with current Vol players.

``It was very exciting,'' Morley said. ``The Most Valuable Player in the NFL – after school, you're catching balls from him.''

Morley didn't know Manning was coming.

``He just kind of showed up,'' Morley said. ``He came to work with the other quarterbacks, one-on-one, seven-on-seven. We were just having a good time. I don't know if he knew who I was, but I knew who he was.''

Manning knew who Morley was. He said Morley was as impressive as any of UT's receivers catching the ball.

Morley said he wouldn't mind doubling as a receiver.

``I'm a team player,'' Morley said. ``They could put me at any position on the team – center, guard. I'll try my best to give it my 110 (percent). I'm good at receiver, but not as good as I am at safety.'' ``If it happens, it happens,'' Morley said of being a receiver or returner. ``I'm going to get my hands on the ball, even if it's on defense.''

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