A no huddle offense, six plays and a touchdown later he knew they were ready to play when Tyler Bray connected with Da'Rick Rogers for an opening-drive touchdown.
"It was a lot better performance by the offense and really a lot better scrimmage by the team from an intangibles standpoint – the effort, toughness, the discipline was a lot better, the execution was a lot better and the offense really came out and controlled the tempo," Derek Dooley said.
While last Saturday's offense was flat it was evident that Tyler Bray and company came out with a renewed vigor in Neyland Stadium.
"The main thing was I wanted to see a little intensity level," Dooley said. "The intensity level was there, the mental intensity, the physicality was better and they absolutely came out with a real aggressive mindset."
For the first time during spring practice Dooley began to see what he needs out of a new skill group on a consistent basis and although it has taken too long it was nice to be there for the first time.
"I think today when you watched them in the first few drives was what the expectation is going to be.
"It shouldn't take us 11 practices and a lot of screaming, ranting and raving to get it going. That is where our maturity has got to grow up pretty quick and be professionals."
Tyler Bray is starting to shred the label of rookie quarterback and take charge of the Volunteers huddle, something Dooley craves from his signal caller.
"He just had good command out there and that is what I look for in a quarterback," Dooley said. "He had good command and I think he really only made one bad decision – threw and interception, but over all he was managing the offense well."
A more seasoned Bray and the offense were able to use the no-huddle offense in order to establish an intensity that couldn't be matched by the defense. Tennessee fans should be more prepared to watch an up-tempo offense this fall.
"It is something we wanted to do more of," Dooley said. "We didn't do much last year because Tyler was so new, but I think it is something we want to keep building.
"I do think there are times in the game when we need to get it going and pick up the tempo. Sometimes things are working for you in the regular and we want to be able to change our tempo."
Hood Could Help
Derek Dooley continues to lack the size necessary to create disruption on the interior defensive line, but he may have found help from an unlikely source, Daniel Hood.
"Dan has been doing well and I think he is going to be able to help us," Dooley said. "He is 300 pounds, he strains, he works, he does what the coaches tell him to do and he is where he is suppose to be. I wouldn't say he is a dominant player, but if he keeps this pace up he will be able to help us this year."
Hood moved to defensive tackle at the beginning of spring practice by his own request and has been making noise every since. Hood ended Saturday's scrimmage with 5 tackles.
Solid Special Teams
Both Michael Palardy and Matt Darr, who were highly regarded out of high school, struggled with their duties last Saturday, but recovered just as well as the Tennessee offense.
"Mike made all his field goals and kicked off the ball better and Matt hit some big punts," Dooley said. "I was pleased to see that. It looked like you had two good young specialists out there."
Both Austin Johnson (knee) and Greg King (neck) left Saturday's scrimmage. Dooley and the staff have yet to learn the extent of the injuries.
King has been working with the second team defense and Johnson has been working at with the first team defense.