Thunderstorms chased Tennessee indoors for Thursday afternoon's practice session, but the veteran Vols made the most of Day 2 under the roof of the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.
The nighttime session featuring more of the younger players was back outside on Haslam Field.
"There were no complaints about the heat today, but that's the beauty of the indoor facility," head coach Derek Dooley said between workouts. "It was a good spirited practice. The first couple of days it's a lot of installation. We're not in pads yet, but I think a big emphasis is making sure you don't turn the ball over and don't make mistakes. So that's a really big point the first days as it will be every day."
The Vols throw on shoulder pads for their next two practice dates before going to full pads Sunday. The first practice as a complete unit is Saturday.
Despite the lack of contact thus far in fall camp, Dooley continues to be impressed by tailback Tauren Poole. The junior averaged 8.5 yards per rushing attempt (10 for 85) last season and finished on a strong note at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, spelling starter Montario Hardesty on one drive to the tune of three consecutive carries for a combined 15 yards.
Dooley said that whatever Poole has been asked to do – throughout his career but especially this season – he has done it with pride.
"(It's) the same thing I've seen since I got here -- incredible work ethic, incredible attitude, runs hard, tremendous effort, great leader," Dooley said. "So he's doing quite well."
The Toccoa, Ga., product measures 5-11 and 213 pounds, which is ideal to the Vols first-year head coach.
"I prefer the multi-purpose back," Dooley said. "The prototype back is about 5-10 to 6 feet tall, really 5-10 to 5-11, and a good 215-220 pounds. Now that doesn't mean there aren't great backs around 195-200; we've had some good ones in the past.
"They come in all shapes and sizes. But when they start getting in that specialty role, that's what they are -- they're specialty backs. The real heavy backs, they're great for goal line and short-yardage, but then you've got to get them out of the game every down. Those little scat guys are good in the space downs and loose downs, and that's OK too.
"The most important thing is are they good and are they productive. If they are, we'll find ways to get them in the game and help us."
Poole's chance to help the Vols appears to be now, although Dooley doesn't want to rely solely on his shoulders.
"I've always said you need two starters," Dooley said. "You need to start with two ones, because I believe in the two-back system. I believe you have to have two great backs for a lot of reasons -- for durability reasons, being fresh in the fourth quarter, to push each other to play better.
"And then it's important to have a good third. The backup to me is the third guy. I think David (Oku), Toney (Williams) and Rajion Neal will be a good competitive matchup to see who can step up there and slot it in with Tauren."
Dooley said his younger players in the evening practice sessions are progressing but at their own pace.
"It's not even close to what the old guys are, but I'm a little more patient. With them, I have a lot of patience because they just don't know. They don't understand the tempo and the pace, and they also don't know what to do.
"It's night and day, and it's another reason why we have two practices."