Do Vols have stamina to endure?

Tennessee's football team will need more than good players and a few good breaks to win big this season; the Vols will need endurance. The quest for a national title will involve surviving a 14-game meat-grinder —12 regular-season games, an SEC Championship Game and the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe.

''It's going to be a grueling schedule,'' senior offensive tackle Will Ofenheusle says. ''We're used to playing pretty grueling schedules but this one's tough. You have to be in shape to be able to perform and you need stamina to endure a whole season, not just week to week.''

Fortunately, the Vols appear to be up to the task. They have worked hard this offseason to get their bodies in peak condition for the rough road that lies ahead.

''Overall, I think we're in better shape than any team since I've been here,'' Ofenheusle says. ''We took a little different approach in the spring. We started running in the spring and ran all through the summer. We're doing a whole lot better than I've seen a team doing, endurance-wise and strength-wise.''

Ofenheusle also sees progress in terms of team unity.

''We've jelled here of late,'' he says. ''That's the main part of summer time — to bond as a team. We get stronger and build our endurance (during summer workouts) but the best aspect of it is how your team will jell, versus no one being here till the first day of two-a-days.''


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