Pads popping at Haslam

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers really started playing football Thursday afternoon when they threw on the shoulder pads. Read as InsideTennessee.com brings you up to date on every Tennessee football.

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers trotted onto Haslam Field on Thursday sporting new attire — shoulder pads.

That's right, there were actually some pads popping at Tennessee's practice, which Dooley says is the first true test of his football team.

"It doesn't matter how much you train in the offseason in the heat, lifting weights or running," Dooley said. "Until you put on the shoulder pads and start hitting each other, your body doesn't understand what it's supposed to feel like."

Not only the added weight of installations can slow players early in fall camp, but also the sheer weight of some added gear can bring things down a notch.

"Our guys, the first day of shoulder pads is a tough one on them because it's heavy, they're sweating and hitting," Dooley said. "We just have to adjust and that's what your body does. It will adjust to the amount of stress that you put on it and I remind them of that all the time."

Although the pace of practice may have slowed a bit, the Tennessee offense looks to be pushing forward into the 2011 season.

"They're doing good," Dooley said. "We have a little experience, a little carryover, and they worked very hard this summer. We put a lot on them, a lot of shifting, moving and concepts. I've been real pleased. We haven't had a lot of mistakes."

Dooley and Chaney clicking

According to Dooley, if the offensive coordinator and the head coach don't get along it can add up to a lot of yelling into headsets, but that isn't the case with him and his coordinator Jim Chaney.

"We just share so much philosophically on offense, in terminology and what it takes to win," Dooley said. "When you believe in each other philosophically and you like the way you work together as people, you usually reach a pretty good arrangement."

Chaney is now entering his third year at Tennessee. Dooley's offensive coordinator joined the Vols under Lane Kiffin and was one of two holdovers from the Kiffin staff.

"He and I hit it off from the beginning," Dooley said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted him to stay and I'm glad he did."

Dallas and Arnett do battle

After the loss of senior wide receiver Gerald Jones, the Vol coaching staff is left looking for a new slot wide receiver. Two players that might do battle for that position, newcomers DeAnthony Arnett and Vincent Dallas.

"They both have talent," wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett said. "They are both quick and athletic. I'm excited to work with them for the next couple of weeks and find our where they fit into our offense.

"I think they will be slot guys, primarily. But, they can play outside also. We need a couple of slots to fit in our offense. The two young guys will have to come along and play in the slot."

Arnett and Dallas have both been involved in the evening session practices, which will conclude Thursday night before both groups merge together.

Johnson charges dropped

Senior linebacker Austin Johnson may no longer be facing legal action for his public intoxication incident that occurred just before the Vols opened camp, but that doesn't erase the arrest altogether.

"It is good for him, but it doesn't change the headline that we had," Dooley said. "If we could go back three days and just erase everything y'all wrote it would be great news, but we can't do that. I knew based on what he told me there wasn't going to be much legally, but that doesn't OK what he did."

Dooley has referenced that there were few more upset than Johnson following last week's events.

The Tennessee head coach decided to handle the incident internally and Johnson will not face suspension. Johnson is slotted to start at middle linebacker according to the depth chart.


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