Dooley put Vols through detailed 'Mock Game'

Derek Dooley is known for being detail-oriented. It showed Wednesday evening as the first-year UT head coach put his team through a mock game at Neyland Stadium. Go "Inside" to read a firsthand account of the action, what took place and how Dooley and players felt about the event.

Derek Dooley put his first-year football team through a detailed dress rehearsal Wednesday night.

Dooley, who is known for being very detail-oriented, didn't leave any stone unturned or step untouched.

From the Vol Walk, to a complete pre-game warm-up, everything was included to allow Dooley, his new staff and his new football team to know what to expect a week from Saturday.

The Tennessee cheerleaders were on hand, Smokey made an appearance, and the band appeared on the Jumbotron.

"This is the reason we do these things," Dooley said after his first mock game as the head coach of the Volunteers. "I counted over 25 things that we need to fix administratively."

While the media present during the event didn't ask Dooley specifically, probably one of the 25 things on his list to fix has to be one of the ghosts that showed up during the pre-game.

With his football team out on the field, someone turned on the Jumbotron for the first time of the year.

Guess who appeared?

Lane Kiffin's First Tennessee bank ad was shown with the former Vol coach saying, "I hear what people are saying about me, I hear the chatter." Ironic, to say the least.

That got a chuckle from everyone in attendance, including the players on the field. For the record everyone appears to be very happy he is gone.

It was said that the team would run over 60 plays of different situations. While I didn't count to make sure how many they ran, one thing was for sure - everyone appeared to be tested on substitutions and game type situations.

"No one knew what we were going to do or what we scripted," Dooley said. "Only I and the three coordinators knew. Even the other assistant coaches didn't know what was coming."

This allowed the first-year coach to throw some different situations both offensively, defensively and most importantly on his special team units.

"One time we made a quick change and had 12 men out on the field; that can't happen on game day," Dooley said. "We still have some time to get those things corrected."

Senior defensive lineman Chris Walker also talked about today's mock game.

"It was a good experience," Walker said. "For the new guys it gave them a chance to see what we will be doing on game day. They will still be wide-eyed on game day, especially on how loud it will be and how much orange and white will be in the stands."

Walker feels this team has gone through a lot over the last seven months and feels it has brought this group closer together.

"I definitely think we are ready," Walker said. "We have worked extremely hard over the spring and summer. We have gone through a lot of adversity and it has made us a lot stronger and closer as a group."

The team will now take off Thursday and will get off early Friday for the weekend to rest and then begin getting ready for next week's season opener. The team will return Sunday evening and begin preparations for the Tennessee-Martin game.


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