The Tennessee Drill

Vol head man Phillip Fulmer didn't allow media to watch Wednesday morning's "Tennessee Drill" but, fortunately, he didn't prevent Tennessee's players from talking about it.

The Tennessee Drill is the highlight of Week 1 each August, pitting an offensive player against a defensive player in a one-on-one situation. Emotions run high among both the participants and the observers, and scraps are commonplace. Because this year's Tennessee Drill occurred near the end of the morning workout – when media were not allowed to watch – details are sketchy and second-hand.

"Josh Briscoe did a good job on the offensive side," senior linebacker Kevin Simon said, referring to a freshman wide receiver. "Him and (sophomore defensive back) Inky Johnson had a good little matchup going on."

"Jesse Mahelona probably had the best matchup, going against Rob Smith," Simon added. "It was good work today. It was good to see everybody out there competing."

Simon said the Tennessee Drill is "all about attitude and mental toughness. ‘It's me versus you, and I'm going to win this battle.' It's a competition thing … kind of like an us (defense) against them (offense) kind of thing."

Though displeased with the morning workout as a whole, Fulmer liked the energy level he saw in the Tennessee Drill.

"We had good intensity in that," he said. "A lot of those young guys don't know what to expect when they come to that, so it was good for them to see a little bit of it."

Asked if any Tennessee Drill matchups were especially exciting, Fulmer replied: "The usual … when Rob Smith and Jesse (Mahelona) go against each other … or Albert (Toeaina) and Parys (Haralson). It's the same ones."

Basically, the head man says the Tennessee Drill is for the young pups, rather than the old dogs.

"That's a lot more for the younger ones than it is for them (veterans)," Fulmer said. "Those guys already know how to be physical and tough."

In addition to physicality and toughness, the Tennessee Drill spotlights sound technique. Guys who play too high run the risk of getting humiliated in front of their teammates.

"It was good for a couple of defensive linemen who had their pads up too much in the scrimmage yesterday," Fulmer said. "That's as good as it gets right there. There's no place to go. It's right there in front of everybody."


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