Tip of the day

Tennessee's football staff was encouraged to see Dan Williams tipping passes in Saturday's scrimmage but discouraged to see the 6-3 junior defensive tackle tipping the scales at around 320 pounds.

Dan Williams has fought the battle of the bulge since signing with the Vols out of Memphis East High School three years ago. He showed up on campus weighing 357 pounds and rarely showed up in game action as a result. After trimming down to an even 300 last fall, however, he turned into a hoss. Williams recorded 40 stops (13 more than any other tackle), with 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 3 hurries. He also saved the Kentucky game by blocking a potential game-winning field-goal attempt on the final play of overtime No. 2.

Williams has put on a few pounds since the season ended but he still recorded 4 tackles, a tackle for loss and 3 pass deflections in Saturday's scrimmage. In spite of those impressive numbers, Phillip Fulmer has concerns.

"Dan made a couple of outstanding plays," Tennessee's head coach said following the scrimmage. "But he needs to lose about 20 pounds again."

John Chavis also chose the low-key approach when asked about Williams' scrimmage performance.

"He's doing a good job getting his hands up," the Vols' defensive coordinator said. "But what we want him to do is start sacking the passer a little bit. Maybe we're not rushing hard enough.

"Dan's done a good job. He feels it, and that's what defensive linemen have to do. There's got to be a clock in their head (telling them) when they're not going to get there (for the sack), to get their hands up and bat balls."

In addition to the three pass deflections credited to Williams, ends Wes Brown and Ben Martin were credited with a deflection each. That's an encouraging development.

"We've had more of that this spring than we've ever had before," Chavis said of the batted passes. "We're doing a good job with that but we need to continue to get better with our pressure. We need to get our sacks back up where they need to be. The past couple of years we're not anywhere near where we need to be.

"When you get sacks, they're usually drive-stoppers. We've missed that the past couple of years."

Like Chavis, Fulmer was encouraged to see some passes tipped on Saturday but discouraged that the scrimmage produced just two sacks – one each by tackle Demonte Bolden and safety Demetrice Morley.

"We batted some balls down, which is good to see, but it also means you're not getting close to the quarterback," Fulmer said. "We don't want to get in the habit of jumping up in the air at the line of scrimmage. We've got to rush the passer better."

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