KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee turned in a bit of an below-par day in the eyes of head coach Derek Dooley, who termed Tuesday’s two-hour workout at Haslam Field “not one of our better practices.”
The Vols face a difficult task this weekend hosting Oregon, which jumped four places to seventh in the latest Associated Press poll after blitzing New Mexico 72-0 Saturday in Eugene. The Ducks are the preseason pick to win their second straight Pacific-10 Conference crown.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Dooley said of his squad’s effort. “But it’s pretty common for a young and inexperienced team. You’ve got to come out and do it all over again.
“It’s not easy. Football’s tough, and you have to re-commit yourself every week. You’ve got to practice hard every week; you’ve got to prepare hard every week as if it’s your last game and only game. I think that’s something we’re going to have to learn to do.”
The Vols were sharp Saturday against an overmatched UT Martin squad in the 50-0 blanking. This week’s foe offers little resemblance.
“They’re good and they’re deep and they’re fast,” Dooley said. “It allows them to play faster when they’re in there because they can catch their breath, and that’s really where you want to be as a program. They’re right where every program aspires to be.
“They do a great job of coaching. They’ve done a great job of developing the kind of players they want and getting them to believe in their system. And they’re deep. They’ve done it right. Kudos to them and all the coaches who were there before and kudos to Coach (Chip) Kelly for making it even better.”
Dooley said offensive guard Jarrod Shaw progressed a little more than they thought he would and was able to practice Tuesday.
“He didn’t get the whole day in, but we hope he will be fine for the game. Denarius (Moore) didn’t practice today, so we will evaluate him again Wednesday.”
Dooley also said that surgery on Gerald Jones’ broken hand went well.
HUGHES COMES UP HUGE
Sophomore tackle Montori Hughes played with just the sort of defensive intensity Saturday night that the UT coaching staff has been looking for.
Hughes contributed 2 1/2 tackles for loss, including one sack, among his four tackles and also broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage as Tennessee blanked UT Martin 50-0.
“The last week of training camp and during game week, he started turning the corner on his preparation,” Dooley said. “His attitude’s been great, his work ethic has been great and it paid off in the game. So I was pleased to see him start moving in that direction.”
Tickets are selling steadily but an ample supply remains for Saturday 7 p.m. kickoff against Oregon.
Prices for the Oregon contest are $60 and can be purchased via UTtix.com, over the phone at 865/656-1200 or 800/332-VOLS (8657), or at the ticket counter. Because of construction at Thompson-Boling Arena, the Athletics Department Ticket Office is temporarily located on the northwest concourse level of the arena directly above the old ticket office location. Office hours Monday through Friday are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.
(E-mail Stan Crawley at firstname.lastname@example.org)