Tennessee was the first SEC team to open preseason practice on Tuesday, and the UTsports.com website has a complete rundown, including video of Derek Dooley's post-practice comments and links to stories from different media outlets around the state.
It sounds like sophomore Daniel Hood is serious about making an impact at defensive tackle. Hood, who's listed at 293 pounds now, made the switch from offensive line and is one of the players Dooley complimented.
Junior safety Janzen Jackson also made a big impact in his first day back. He missed all of spring practice after withdrawing from school last semester to deal with personal issues.
"I think what benefits the team is just his energy level," Dooley said of Jackson. "It rubs off on people. He's first in everything. He has good enthusiasm. He's active. He loves competing. He's everything you look for in a competitor on the field."
After suffering his second torn Achilles tendon, senior defensive end Ben Martin was back on Haslam Field for the first practice. The Cincinnati native missed last season after his first torn Achilles suffered in August 2010. Then in February, he suffered the same injury on the foot causing him to miss spring practice.
"It felt really good to be back on the field with the guys," Martin said. "It felt good to be a part of the team again, going through the drills and getting yelled at by the coaches, it felt good again."
Martin took a moment to collect himself when asked about what `the moment' was that he felt like he was back.
"Probably when we were going through the first set of drills and I realized I was tired -- this is what football is supposed to feel like," Martin said. "I had my helmet, my mouth piece, that's what football is. I wasn't hesitant -- that's how you get hurt. I do think about limitations and have to know what my limits are .... But I am a football player, I just want to get back out there and play."
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray said he's up to 202 pounds, and one of the battles to watch this August will be at safety. Junior Prentiss Waggner, who had five interceptions last season, will be vying with Jackson and Brent Brewer for one of the starting jobs. It could be that Waggner settles in as a nickelback. He's also played some at cornerback, so his versatility should come in handy for the Vols this season.
They also have junior college newcomers Byron Moore and Izauea Lanier, both of whom are expected to contribute right away in the secondary.