Monte's soft side

At 69 years of age, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is old enough to be the grandfather of Tennessee's players. So, it's understandable that he sometimes shows a grandfatherly affection for them.

Thursday evening was one of those times. Kiffin's smile grew warmer and his tone grew softer as he discussed the defensive players who are hoping to help the Vols rebound from a 5-7 season in 2008.

"I just like the attitude, I really do," he said. "It's fun to coach these guys. They're fired up. These guys want to win so bad."

Kiffin wants to win, too. But he's been around coaching long enough to recognize that working together in pursuit of success can be just as rewarding as victory itself. And he's enjoying that pursuit this preseason.

"Personally, I'm having a blast ... all the new coaches we're working with ... being back in college ... working with freshmen and stuff like that," he said. "It's a lot of fun. It's a great group of guys."

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