Finishing Strong

The Tennessee Volunteers football squad concluded spring practice today in Neyland Stadium. Their last workout before the Orange and White game was a success, read as InsideTennessee.com brings you all the latest.

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers peeled off the pads this afternoon for what was the last practice of spring football before the Orange and White game.

After previously struggling with focus and energy outside of full pads Dooley got what he wanted from his team as practice came to a close.

"We just polished everything up and (worked on) the organizational stuff," Dooley said. "They were good today. I have seen a lot of progress in this team from an intangibles standpoint in the last two weeks. I am pleased with how spring ended."

Dooley will be looking for more individual performances considering true first-team reps will be limited during Saturday's game where teams split up via draft Wednesday night.

"I will be upset if we don't give the effort, don't play with toughness – that is what I am looking for," said Dooley. "We don't want them to go out there and flop around. That is not the purpose of it."

One player that will not take part in the Orange and White spring game is sophomore defensive end Jacques Smith. Smith suffered and injury to his foot, likely a stress fracture, but the extent of the injury is still in question.

"He is hurt, but we won't know until the doctors get a full look at him, the extent of it," Derek Dooley said. "He won't play, probably the worst-case scenario, we do expect him to be full go by June, which is the summer program."

Dooley added that both Malik Jackson and Smith have been amongst the most effective players on the defensive side of the football this spring.

"Him and Malik, clearly were the most disruptive players on defense this spring. They were tough to block and they did it on a consistent basis."

Dooley and the Vols will end spring practice in Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon with the annual spring game before taking a spring recess and resuming workouts in June.

In Good Hands

While Dooley and his staff will have little to no contact with their players following Saturday's game another coach will take the wheel, Ron McKeefrey. And Derek Dooley for one feels very good about his new strength coach.

"I think Ron has an excellent combination of intelligence and competence in the field of strength and conditioning training with that kind of old school warrior mentality," Dooley said. "Some strength coaches are tough and they will push you, but they don't know what they are doing. Other strength coaches are very scientific in what they are doing, but they loose that warrior like element driving the young people. He is as good as I have seen combining the two."

For more on the Vols new strength coach be sure to read the latest edition of Rocky Top News for a feature article on the Vols new weight room guru.

Talking Trash

Tyler Bray says the spring game is a time for confidence and more importantly a time for trash talk, but his opposition is coming from the most unlikely of opponents, Jim Chaney.

"Coach Chaney and I talk the most trash about it," Bray said. "(In) Gibbs Hall today he was throwing up the little throat slash. It's fun."

Bray joked of trading in running plays for deep bombs during Saturday's game in order to have a little fun on offense. And also mentioned the possibility of his opponents trying to steal a teammate or two, much like last year.

"We were talking about that earlier, how many plays might come in and we might accidently call the wrong one," Bray said with a smile. "We will probably end up making a switch (of players) at the end. They did that last year, but it didn't help."


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