Vols must regain focus

Derek Dooley's Volunteers struggled through Tuesday's practice. Go "Inside" this edition of the practice report to read all the latest concerning Tennessee football.

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers are preparing for one of their toughest opponents of the 2010 season, the Oregon Ducks.

In order to be successful the Vols will need to be nearly perfect in their preparation, but their head coach didn't see what he wanted from his team Tuesday afternoon.

"Not one of our better practices today," said Dooley. "I am a little disappointed, but it is pretty common for a young and inexperienced team."

There is no doubt Dooley has a young football team. With 19 youngsters in the two-deep, many of the Tennessee players will have to adjust quickly to collegiate football.

"This is the first second game for a lot of our players," said Dooley. "Football is hard – it's a grind. If you don't have control over your mind, every day, and your mind controls your body instead of your body controling your mind, it's a hard thing to endure.

"You come out and you have to do it all over again. It's something that is not easy. Football is tough and you have to recommit yourself every week. You have to practice and prepare hard every week as it's your last game and only game."

The body will adjust to the treatment accorded it, according to the Tennessee head coach.

"Your body is a little sore from the game – it's supposed to be. That's football," he said.

"You have to hit it out, you have to knock it out, you have to break the scabs open and your body adjusts to whatever stress you put on it. We are going to keep stressing them."

One thing is for certain: There aren't bad practices in championship programs.

"The good teams that I have been around know how to practice well," said Dooley. "You are going to have great days and good days, but you can't have bad days."

More Old School Dooley

With Virginia Tech and Boise State in the spotlight Monday night, almost all of America saw the fashion statement with their Nike Pro Combat uniforms.

Don't expect Tennessee's new head coach to make any changes to the age-old Tennessee garments.

"That is kind of the ‘in' thing," said Dooley. "I am big on the brand, I didn't even recognize Virginia Tech. I like our uniforms and I don't expect any changes."

Dooley said his players know better than to come and ask him for any kind of funky uniform changes and the Vols head coach wouldn't trade his sponsor for any other. Dooley was asked about Tennessee's uniforms after several players 'tweeted' responses to Tech's new gear.

"They actually love our uniforms and they would never come to me and ask me for something like that," said Dooley. "Let me say this, ‘Our players love Adidas.' They wouldn't trade Adidas for any other company. I think you can ask the guys that Twittered that stuff and they would feel the same way."

Malik Jackson, Nike Man?

USC transfer Malik Jackson may have missed a memo Tuesday afternoon. Having played for both a Nike school and an Adidas school, Jackson says he prefers Nike, but he has to prefer Adidas.

"Right now since I am with Adidas, I guess I like Adidas," said Jackson. "Personally, I like Nike. Especially Virginia Tech's jerseys last night, those were sweet. I liked those and Boise's."

Apparently, Dooley snubbed Tennessee's defensive end when he asked about Tennessee getting a jersey makeover.

"I asked Dooley today if we could have some jerseys like that and he laughed at me," said Jackson.

Shaw Back, Moore Sits

Offensive lineman Jarrod Shaw was expected to miss practice in preparation for Tennessee's matchup with Oregon, but it appears the only senior lineman is progressing nicely.

Shaw returned to the practice field Tuesday. While he did participate he was not able to complete the full practice. Dooley hopes he will be ready in time for Saturday's game.

Denarius Moore, on the other hand, did not return to practice today with an ankle injury. Gerald Jones also missed with a broken hand, and was seen at practice with a cast covering that hand. Dooley confirmed Jones had successful surgery to repair the broken bone on Monday.

Hughes Turns Corner

Stories of a lackluster camp from defensive tackle Montori Hughes must have motivated the young lineman. Dooley said Hughes turned a corner late in camp and it showed during Tennessee's game with UT-Martin.

"The last week of training camp and game week he started really turning the corner on his preparation," said Dooley. "His attitude has been great, his work ethic has been great and it paid off in the game. I was pleased to see him start moving in that direction."

Dooley and the Vols will resume practice Wednesday afternoon at Haslam Field.


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