Aug. 5, 2009
After a full day of meetings and walk-throughs, head coach Lane Kiffin said it felt as if his team had squeezed in four practices on Wednesday.
With players again in helmets and shorts for the second day of preseason practice, the defense was the talk of the afternoon. Kiffin said junior defensive back Eric Berry accounted for four or five turnovers, and junior defensive end Chris Walker -- named most improved player during spring practice -- has continued to be a solid pass rusher.
"Defense continues to do great job getting the ball back," Kiffin said. "It's so great for our offense. Even though they don't want to give up the ball, it makes our offense better. Hopefully, it will make things easier later on."
All-America safety Berry will not be alone as a defensive playmaker. Kiffin said the secondary is easily the deepest position for the Vols.
Among the returnees are Dennis Rogan, a 5-10 junior from Knoxville, and Brent Vinson, the 6-0 junior from Hampton, Va. Rogan started all 12 games for Tennessee last season, while Vinson battled injuries but always has been highly regarded. And sophomore Art Evans drew rave reviews from his summer workouts.
"A lot of times the `twos' go in and there's someone you can pick on, that you can go after," he said. "But when our `twos' come in -- those are pretty tough guys to go against."
Kiffin added that multitalented players like Jackson, who is fast enough to play the cornerback position, give him versatile options for the secondary.
"We have a unique secondary with so many guys that can cover and play safety," Kiffin said. "We have to figure out pretty soon who's going to play where and make sure we get the other guys into position to play."
WELCOME BACK BBQ -- Kiffin and selected coaches and players are helping host the 2009 Welcome Back Barbecue, set for Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Knox County Chapter of the UT Alumni Association invites fans to enjoy a barbecue dinner while hearing an early take on the 2009 Tennessee football season.
Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 7. Parking is available in the G-10 garage between the arena and Neyland Stadium.
See the Knox County Chapter Web site for more information at:
NEXT -- The Vols add shoulder pads for preseason practice Thursday and Friday.