Vols open fall camp

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers opened fall camp Tuesday afternoon. Read as InsideTennessee.com brings you up to speed on all the latest concerning Tennessee football.

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers blasted off fall football camp in temperatures in the upper 90s on Tuesday afternoon at Haslam Field.

While Tuesday may have been a scorcher the Tennessee head coach knows that many places around the Southeastern Conference that are even hotter.

"It really isn't that hot," Dooley said. "I told the team, it's hot, but it's hotter in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and so, what are you going to do about it? We structure practice so that they can work and recover. We got a lot of water for them, but it's not an excuse not to go. They did a pretty good job of that today."

The Vols' first afternoon at Haslam wasn't anything special, but Dooley just needed the feel of the turf under his adidas to feel normal again.

"This is therapy for me, to get on the grass, it was about that time, I needed to get out here," he said. "It was a good first practice, but there is nothing spectacular that you see and nothing terrible. It is just a first practice."

Jackson setting the tone

One player who brought energy to Tuesday's practice was junior safety Janzen Jackson, who is returning from a spring semester hiatus.

"He has just great energy on the football field," Dooley said. "I see it in the team meeting room, it's like a glow out there. He has got a smile on his face.

"This is what Janzen loves. I am happy he is with our team, not just because it makes our team better, but you can see just his soul brighten up out there."

Dooley cited Jackson for an infectious attitude following Tuesday's opening day.

"I think what benefits is just his energy level," Dooley said. "It rubs off on people. He is first in everything, he has good enthusiasm, he's active, and he loves competing. He is everything you look for in a competitor on the field."

Originally, there was a concern, having missed spring football, that Jackson's stamina might not be up to par, but Tennessee fans can wipe any ideas of those struggles from the forefront of their minds.

"He is fine, which just shows you what type of athlete he is," Dooley said. "It doesn't take a guy like that long to get back in condition. The next step really will be mastering the defense and seeing how we can take every ounce of his talents and impact the game without trying to kill the guy."

Since joining the Vols, Jackson has started in 22 of 23 games. He has proved to be one of the most productive members of the defense. Last season, Jackson snagged five interceptions and brought down 69 opponents.

Dooley's first several practices will separate veterans from both incoming freshmen and junior college transfers to provide in-depth coaching. One player that will be absent from Tuesday night's workout will be Devrin Young.

Young who suffered a fractured collarbone yesterday in a weight room incident will miss all of fall camp.

"Injuries are a part of the game," Dooley said. "You like them to happen when they are competing in a game and not when they show up.

"He hurt his shoulder last week, we X-rayed it, it didn't show anything, it was sore, so I think it is something that happened before yesterday. It took a while, when he was working a little and it finally gave."

Dooley and a healthy crop of new Volunteers will take to Haslam Field on Tuesday evening at 7:45.

Jacques Smith at full speed

Jacques Smith, a sophomore, had offseason surgery following the spring to repair stress fractures in both feet, returned to the field Tuesday and looks to be blossoming.

"Anytime you are doing surgery on your feet there is concern," Dooley said. "I hope it holds up. He looked good out there and he looked fresh. It looks like it was a good decision to go in there a do both feet."

Coming off the edge, Smith will likely be a key aspect of the Vol defense this fall.

"I think he has got the ability to be an elite passrusher that can impact a game," Dooley said. "Whether he can be able to do that or not, time will tell. And if you are an elite pass rusher, does he have the stamina and the stature to hold up in the run game?"

As a freshman, Smith played in all 13 games and racked up 24 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Ben Martin is Back

After suffering a second Achilles' rupture, Ben Martin returned to the practice field. And it was the first time Dooley has even gotten an extended look at the defensive end.

"He was able to make it through practice one, which is the first thing he has done since I have been here in 18 months," Dooley said. "I consider that tremendous progress. I say that not really in jest. I am serious.

"There is a lot anxiety, you are pushing around, I am sure he was a little nervous, so that was our goal today was to get to practice two. And we did that."

Martin originally tore the Achilles' tendon in August of 2010 and missed that entire season. He suffered the same injury to the opposite leg in February of 2011.


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