An overhauled roster and coaching staff is at work at Tennessee in an attempt to find the proper mesh for a productive 2014-15 season.
The NCAA calendar flipped to allow programs to get into the 20-hour practice week and the Volunteers are taking full advantage.
"I'm learning these guys; they're learning a little about me," first-year Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall said last week.
With director of athletics Dave Hart looking on, the Vols hit the hardwood in Pratt Pavilion on Tuesday.
Willie Carmichael at center, 6-foot-5 junior Armani Moore at power forward, 6-foot-6 senior Josh Richardson and 6-foot-5 junior Devon Baulkman at the wings, with 6-foot-3 junior Kevin Punter at the point.
Size issues this winter could be thwarted some by full-court pressure mismatches in the offense's favor. Dominic Woodson could answer questions as well...once he's up to speed and down in weight.
The transfer from Memphis needs to lose a double-digit number of pounds. The center came in at 298 pounds, is down to 281. Tennessee's Southeastern Conference schedule gets underway Jan. 7. If by that point Woodson has his weight in the 265-pound range, Tyndall says, Carmichael could slide to power forward to vacate the starting center spot for Woodson.
Carmichael is still 25 pounds shy of his target weight but is already 25 pounds higher than he was when he committed to the O&W. The high-motor front-court play said Monday that he is not even sure how many meals he's eating per day.
The top storyline this preseason—other than Tyndall's first campaign in Knoxville—is the point guard position. Transfers and graduation hit the position hard. For the first time in his life, Punter will attempt to hold that spot down. The sponge-like Punter was moved in what Tyndall says is "out of desperation." Richardson is the back-up court general.
The coach says Carmichael, Moore and Richardson are the lone "concrete" starters penciled in with Baulkman and Punter needing to hold off competition.
Tariq Owens' future appears bright because of his length and athleticism. The freshman is up 16 pounds and could be included into the rotation in spurts but his lack of size figures to keep him on the bench for much of the winter.
Detrick Mostella continues to show raw ability but must learn how to work within the framework of a college-based offense and buy into playing defense.
Learn more about the Vols by clicking play on the InsideTennessee videos below:
Willie Carmichael video interview
Kevin Punter video interview