Kiffin thrilled with workout

Some bouncy hip-hop tunes were piped in during Tuesday's practice at Haslam Field, but the real music to Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin's ears was the sounds of pads popping ... and popping ... and popping.

The Vols went at one another with remarkable energy in a three-hour workout that left their head man grinning broadly.

"I thought we had an extremely physical practice today," Kiffin said in a decidedly upbeat tone. "The guys really responded. Our big focus is not for guys to think about Saturday (Orange & White Game). We needed to have two more great practices, and that started with today.

"The practice was very good, very physical."

For the second time this spring, Kiffin's attempt to end practice was thwarted by players demanding to continue competing. Originally, the workout was supposed to end with eight plays of full-speed goal-line scrimmaging.

"The defense won six to two," Kiffin said. "Then they (offensive and defensive players) challenged back and forth and went three extra plays, and the offense won three in a row.

"I thought the energy level was great. They really responded to what we needed. That was one great practice today, and (the players were) not worried about Saturday."

Asked if he selected the hip-hop tunes piped in through the practice field's sound system, Kiffin replied, "No, it's not my playlist."

Smiling smugly, the head man added that the music had been edited to eliminate some crude language that blared onto the practice field in a previous workout.

The ultra-high energy level of Tennessee's practices this spring has been well documented. The fact it was just as high in Workout No. 13 as it was in Workout No. 1 amazed even the Vols' head man.

"I think it's pretty special," Kiffin said. "That's not normal ... for our guys to do that and respond to the way the coaches bring it at 'em every day.

"These are long days for these guys. We maximize every minute that we can.... It's not a lot of walking and talking. It's grinding ... getting 'em in shape and getting 'em mentally in shape for what a game's like."

Because of their off-the-charts enthusiasm and physicality, Tennessee's workouts bear little resemblance to the business-like practices Kiffin conducted when he was head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders in 2007 and part of 2008.

"You can't really go live very much in the NFL," Kiffin explained. "There's a lot of big contracts up there, so you can't do a (full-scale scrimmage) period like that.

"It's a lot different in college and in the NFL. You've got (college) guys battling for spots, whereas in the NFL you've got guys that are pretty secure in their spots. You can't create as much competition as you can in college, so it's hard to have a practice like that in the NFL."


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