Fall camp is meant to be a time of learning things about your team, what they are capable of handling and what they are capable of producing.
Tennessee first year Head Coach Lane Kiffin is taking that approach as he is testing his team's toughness, teaching them the fundamentals of football, while testing their endurance.
One spectator in the crowd today made this assessment of the Volunteers workouts this week.
"I have been watching Tennessee football for a long time, this is the most physical practice I have ever seen here at Rocky Top," noted the observer. "What's impressive is that they are still in shorts and shoulder pads."
One member of the media asked Coach Kiffin if he thought the aggressive and physical practices was catching up with the Vols.
"No not at all," Kiffin responded. "We have two people not practicing out of 104, that's not bad. We have to learn to be a more physical football team."
You could tell from Friday's practice that the Vols are gearing up for full pads.
"We are getting ready to play real football," Kiffin said. "We are going to scrimmage some tomorrow in the stadium. We are going to see who can tackle, who can fend off cut blocks and get ready to play the game."
Saturday will mark the first day of full pads, the Volunteers have been in shorts and shoulder pads the last two days.
"They are ready to hit someone," Kiffin said. "This is what fall football camp is all about."
With no previous starter promised a starting job with the exception of Heisman hopeful Eric Berry, it's apparent that the players are focused on competing at their highest level.
"We have told them from day one that they have to come out here everyday and prove themselves," Kiffin said earlier. "No one has a starting role locked up other than Eric, everyone needs to be hungry and go out and earn themselves a starting role."
With a new coaching staff the first few days of a fall football is a continuation of the learning process both for the coaching staff and the players.
"We are all learning each other," Coach Willie Mack Garza said Tuesday. "We all want to fine tune our performances, that's why we are focus on improving each and every day."
After Saturday's first day of full pads, the team will participate Sunday in their Annual Media Day before returning to practice Monday for the first day of two-a-day practices.
Defensive back Brent Vinson-out today with hamstring
Linebacker Rico McCoy-out today having test on his knee
Running back Bryce Brown-held out with a minor concussion,/p>
Running back Tauren Poole-went out with cramps
QUARTERBACK RACE GETTING TIGHTER?
Nick Stephens had one of his better practices, two late interceptions kept it from being an outstanding day. For those who think that Jonathan Crompton has already won the competition, you might want to rethink that. While Crompton may have an edge, it appears to several that Stephens has tighten the gap.
GERALD JONES READY TO PLAY HOOPS
I'm not sure if Lane Kiffin will let Bruce Pearl close to Gerald Jones, but it appears that Jones could maybe hoop a little or at least slam dunk some. After catching a touchdown pass, he slam dunked the football over the goal post. It was a pretty impressive performance.
SYKES IS GETTING PSYCHED
Ray Sykes is glad to be here at Rocky Top and ready to get the pads on. When asked about what he has learned so far from Ed Orgeron, Sykes smiled. "I have learned so much in four days from him," Sykes explained. "It's all about the pass rush with him and Coach Monte."
Sykes also received praise from Lane Kiffin.
PUNT RETURNERS CAN DANCE
Several of the punt returns showed they can make some moves returning punts but also can move a little to the music. Several started jumping when some high energy music was pumped into the practice field during warm-ups.