March 26, 2009
Tennessee fired off what its head coach called the best practice of the spring Thursday at Haslam Field, working for nearly three hours in all types of weather. By day's end, the Vols had reached the one-third marker in their 2009 spring schedule.
"I thought the intensity level through the whole day, from beginning to end, was probably our best practice," Lane Kiffin said. "I thought guys really responded; the offensive definitely responded to what happened Tuesday and really performed well. They ran the ball extremely well and the line played much better.
"We're getting better assignment-wise and all around I'm really pleased, especially with the way we ran the ball today."
Tennessee's effort was in contrast to Tuesday's first day back from a 10-day layoff. Spring showers popped on and off all afternoon, yet the post-practice chatter was all sunshine -- especially toward a couple of key linemen making position changes on both sides of the ball.
"Wes (Brown) moved inside Tuesday and had a great practice," Kiffin said of his senior defensive lineman. "He did some really good things going in there and we're pleased with that. And Gerald (Williams), we put him down at end and we are excited to look at him there.
"Cody (Pope) has been a real surprise to us as far as coming in and picking things up. The system has really helped. It's not a system that relies on really big (offensive) linemen. You don't have to be big to play in this system; you have to be quick and be athletic. Aaron (Douglas), it's an extremely hard transition to go to tackle like he did but we think he has a great future there. He's very aggressive and a player who really likes to get after it. That's the type of personality we like."
The Vols' sixth practice is Saturday, a split workout at both Haslam Field and Neyland Stadium. There will be some scrimmage work mixed in, but Kiffin's goal remains the same whether in game or practice situations.
"We've got to have great intensity and we've got to be assignment-perfect. We just want our guys to continue to improve individually and as an offense, defense and special teams.