"I think in the long run we'll all come together and have a chance to be a really good defense," said Simon.
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer wasn't quite as optimistic about his front four, but did hint at having some nice tools at his disposal.
"It's very difficult to say we've got talent there. We've got some big guys that can run, but are they going to be coachable and responsive?"
One of the players that Fulmer mentioned by name is 6'6 300lb. Justin Harrell. Harrell has not played a down of college football due to injuries. However, Fulmer said that he'll play in the home opener against Fresno St.
In the long run only time will tell will how successful the defensive front will be. However, at this point Fulmer is excited about both lines paying attention to the little things.
"I think particularly on the offensive and defensive fronts there's been alot of good quality fundamentals."
In the secondary, three positions seem to be set in stone. Seniors Jabari Greer, Rashad Baker, and Gibril Wilson are all locked into starting roles. The cornerback slot opposite Greer is one that according to Fulmer is wide open.
"It's truly an up for grabs position," Fulmer said.
Fulmer also continues to toy with the idea of moving receivers Jonathan Wade and Derrick Tinsley to the secondary.
"I think there's a place that we can start working with them on the defensive side."
On the offensive side of the ball, the Vols hope to return to the power running game that made them a national power in the late 90's. If UT expects to have a stellar ground attack then junior Cedric Houston will be counted on to carry the load. So far the Arkansas native is up to the challenge.
"I feel a little more shiftier this summer," said the slimmed down Houston. After playing at 225lbs. last season, Houston is down to around 220 with the hope of losing another five pounds. As far as the wall of offensive linemen Houston plays behind, he feels equally confident. "Once we get the guys out there that have been with each other, I think they'll get going."
As far as finding a back-up quarterback, Fulmer remains admittedly concerned. James Banks continues to split time at wide out and quarterback. Although it's still a crap shoot as to where he'll end up. "There's no way I'm going to be right because I don't have a crystal ball," said Fulmer about the Banks dilemma.
Tennessee practices again tomorrow and Friday before putting on the shoulder pads on Saturday.