Sun shines on Vols in Nashville

Day two in Nashville for the Vols and the temperature may just be above freezing, but it certainly seemed a little warmer as the sun shined down on the Vols afternoon practice. Read as InsideTennessee.com brings you the latest from the Vols bowl practice.

New Routine

After coming up short on a few throws during Sunday's practice Tyler Bray is ready to change up his pregame routine for Thursday's outdoor game at LP Field.

"The first part of practice I was having trouble, I couldn't feel my arm or hand, so I was kind of having trouble with the accuracy," said Bray. "Finally, I got it to where I was warm, throwing and we were running in and out of periods so I had a chance to warm up.

"Instead of going back and sitting down I will probably stay and throw as much as possible so I don't get as cold."

Despite having trouble late in the season with shoulder pain Tyler Bray says the cold weather has not affected the injury whatsoever. Bray says he has been pain free for a couple of weeks now. Bray did say that he can't remember playing in a high school game at much less the 40 or 50 degrees.

Full Speed Ahead

Derek Dooley has been quick to praise both the offensive and defensive lines of the North Carolina Tarheels and it's not going unnoticed by his players either. Tauren Poole says not only are they big, but they can scoot too.

"They are very fast; you don't see many to many guys breaking runs on them," said Poole. "It's definitely going to be the type of game where you have to make one cut and go. You can't run side to side on North Carolina."

Hughes Still Working

Sophomore defensive tackle Montori Hughes has struggled with an ankle issue almost all of the 2010 season. Hughes was also suspended for the teams' final game of the year against Kentucky.

It was expected the Hughes would play a crucial role on a thin Tennessee defensive line. Derek Dooley says Hughes is working with a good attitude to get back into he Vols lineup.

"He is doing good, he is working hard – still battling his ankle a little bit, but you know he has a long way to go in a lot of areas," said Dooley of Hughes. "He has had a good attitude, he works hard, he has to improve a lot fundamentally, he has got to improve a lot with his understanding of the defense, how his role fits and not just freelancing."

Fulton in Training

Monday afternoon meant it was time for some extra-curricular activities for Derek Dooley and his football team, one being a rib-eating contest held by the Music City Bowl. Derek Dooley says there is no doubt who will be representing to Vols.

"We have a team rib-eating contest tonight. I am hoping Zach Fulton is working his stomach getting ready for the rib-eating contest so we can have a good showing," said Dooley.

Dooley has stressed the importance of combining both work and play during the Vols bowl week in Nashville and the contest is just another example.

"You have to have a pretty good combination of relaxing and having fun, but also keeping your focus on the game."

Back at Home

After shedding his red non-contact jersey Monday afternoon Nashville native Eric Gordon couldn't be more excited about playing in his home town and there are no shortage of people trying to get their hands on tickets. Gordon says he has been asked to try and obtain upwards of 30 tickets.

"It's big (to be back) man, everyone is trying to get tickets right now – they are calling me on my phone, Facebook, everybody is trying to get tickets," said Gordon. "I am trying to help them out when I can, but I don't think I can get many tickets right now."

Ripple Effect

It appears that Derek Dooley wasn't the only person anticipating the return of safety and all-conference player Janzen Jackson. Speaking to corner Eric Gordon, Jackson brings a whole new level of confidence to the Tennessee backfield.

"It feels great having that guy back," said Gordon of Jackson's return. "You definitely notice when he is missing, so when he comes back it just brings a smile. It's a comfort zone when he comes back."

Video with Derek Dooley following practice


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