Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday during his press conference that previously suspended players Marlon Walls and Greg King would report for practice with the rest of the team, and Dooley expects both players to play in the first game.
Walls, a sophomore defensive tackle, and King, a sophomore linebacker, were indefinitely suspended following the bar brawl last month that sent two people to the hospital, including an off-duty police officer. Dooley dismissed safety Darren Myles, Jr., after he was arrested in connection with that brawl.
Dooley said if there are any new developments with the Knoxville Police Department’s investigation that he reserves the right to hand down additional punishment. But at this point, he considers it a closed matter internally.
Based on the facts of the case, Dooley said he had “no qualms whatsoever bringing them back now. The only thing that could possibly change that is some new information that I don’t know is out there. I don’t anticipate that happening.”
Getting Walls and King back is crucial for the Vols. Both are projected starters, and Tennessee was already thin at defensive tackle prior to Walls being suspended.
Here are a few more tidbits from Dooley’s press conference:
Sophomore Marsalis Teague and freshman Ted Meline will start out in the secondary when preseason practice opens Wednesday. Teague played receiver last season for the Vols, and Meline came to Tennessee as a receiver.
Dooley said junior college defensive back Dave Clark did not make it academically and wouldn’t be the with Vols this season. They’re still waiting to hear on the eligibility of junior college defensive lineman John Brown as well as three freshmen – defensive backs Eddrick Loften and Marcques Dixon and linebacker Martaze Jackson.
Dooley was extremely upbeat about quarterback Matt Simms and the way he’s gone about his business during the offseason. Simms, a junior college newcomer, opens preseason camp as the starter. “There’s not one player on our team who has made more of an investment and put in more time to being a good player,” Dooley said of Simms.