Vols' first combined practice goes well

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- Saturday afternoon marked the first time in fall camp that the Tennessee football team practiced as one cohesive unit. The squad was split into two separate groups throughout the first three days.

"They saw more guys which means more recovery sometimes," Head Coach Derek Dooley said. "The freshmen stepped right in and I think they were prepared for it so I felt good about it."

While the Vols have only been practicing since Wednesday, Dooley has been pleased with the team's progress since the spring.

"I've seen noticeable difference in everything since spring practice because we really go through a very similar installation of how we do things," Dooley said. "I feel like these guys are starting to see how stuff works. I think there's a little more comfort level."

On Friday, the Vols implemented shoulder pads into their practice attire and tomorrow the football team will harness full pads for the first time this fall.

"If you have shoulder pads on, you can hit and we hit," Dooley said. "We don't do much different in full gear than we do in shoulder pads, so we have a pretty good feel right now."

Throughout the week, the Vols have installed new techniques and schemes for different situations. Today was no different as UT worked on its red-zone offense.

"We had a really good practice today," Dooley said. "We installed red area. Each day we're installing something new situationally. We have our goals. We always talk about when we install (something new), we want to score touchdowns obviously on offense. We put in a lot of the red-zone game plan stuff we do and really the best part about it today is we just had good energy and intensity. We had the right mindset, so I was real pleased and felt like we got better today.

As fall camp continues and the team spends more time together, everything is becoming easier for the coaching staff and players.

"I think it's just being around each other more, with coaches," Dooley said. "It's like anything. The more they're around us and they understand our expectations and what upsets us, the more we're around them and we understand what they're concerns our, the better it gets. It's just time."

Brewer switches to football

Brent Brewer, who spent the past four years playing professional baseball with the Milwaukee Brewers' organization, returned to football this fall and is in camp with Tennessee.

"A lot of those baseball guys, you love them because they're so mature," Dooley said. "They really have a nice comfort zone with coaches. I think it's the nature of the sport, obviously older. I think he's going to be a steal for us. He's a great athlete (and) he's instinctive."

Brewer was selected in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft by Milwaukee after originally signing to play football at Florida State.

Courtesy: UT sports

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