JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -The Tennessee football team opened its off-campus portion of training camp with a practice at Science Hill High School in Johnson City on Friday afternoon.
The Vols packed up and traveled the 115 miles to upper East Tennessee on Thursday, a move which head coach Derek Dooley said went off without a hitch.
“We had a heck of a move,” Dooley said. “It was an incredible operation what our support staff was able to pull off because it looks like we moved the entire city of Knoxville over here. We woke up and didn’t miss a beat. Kudos to the equipment staff, the training staff, the ops and the video staff on the incredible job they did.”
Although the operations portion of the trip was a success, Dooley was not pleased with his team’s effort once it hit the field for the first time outside of Knoxville.
“Part of the reason we came here was to kind of change the environment, make it uncomfortable, get them out of their comfort zone and we didn’t handle that very well,” Dooley said. “That’s what we have to learn to do because we are going to be out there in games and different environments and how are we going to handle not being in that comfort zone? We were a little lethargic today which was disappointing but we have a scrimmage tomorrow and will be ready to amp it up.”
Saturday’s scrimmage will be the first for the Big Orange since the opening of training camp. For Dooley and his staff it will serve as a test of where the team is in its understanding of the schemes implemented over the last eight days as well as an evaluation tool for some of the younger players.
“Obviously, I want to see us play with a level of intensity the entire scrimmage which we didn’t always do last year and certainly you want to execute and have all your playmakers go out there and make plays,” Dooley said. “It’s going to be a great level of evaluation for some of these guys that want to get in the mix and try to help the team.”
In an interesting side note, the Vols practiced on Steve Spurrier Field, named after the current South Carolina head coach who was a three-sport letterman with the Hilltoppers, earning all-state honors in football, basketball and baseball.
“I think he is a generous man to give back to his high school, so I commend him for what he has done,” Dooley said. “It’s a tribute to the fact that he was a great player, a great coach and made a lot of money. When that happens, you get your name on the field.”