Terrific tempo

Finally, the reason for Tennessee's 5-7 record last football season has been exposed ... too much lolly-gagging.

When asked what he thinks of the off-the-charts energy level exhibited by the Vols' new coaching staff this spring, rising junior receiver Gerald Jones flashed a big grin.

"I love it. I love every single bit of it," he said. "You don't have one coach out there who's lolly-gagging or who's kind of mild-mannered. They're all up-tempo, especially Coach (Ed) Orgeron."

Certainly, there is nothing mild-mannered about the new coaching staff. Based on the first three spring workouts, the aides are far more animated and vocal than their predecessors. The players seem to be responding favorably to the new ultra-intense coaching style.

"It's fun," rising senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton said. "That's the reason you play the game. We're just as intense as they are.

"We're all into it but we know what we're getting done and know what we're learning. They're teaching us and we're soaking it up because we want to soak up all the knowledge they know."

Rising senior linebacker Rico McCoy offered similar thoughts when asked about the mood in practice this spring.

"Excitement," he said. "A bunch of guys are excited. We have a bunch of young guys who think this is their time and a bunch of old guys that want to finish up strong. The excitement is there."

In addition to designating Haslam Field a "no lolly-gagging zone," Tennessee's coaches are making practice more physically taxing this spring than in the past. That's pleasing to some Vols, not so pleasing to others.

"It varies from person to person," Jones said. "For a lot of people it's been very hard. For a lot of people it's been somewhat like they're used to ... like me.

"I was working hard since (the first time) I stepped on the field. It's exciting but it is tiring.

"It will wear you out but it will make you better in the end."

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