Not from the vantage point of Tennessee junior guard Zach Fulton, who said his unit relishes the opportunity to set the tone each and every day the Vols practice.
"The team basically follows us. If we do bad in practice, that basically means like the whole team is not going to do well in practice," Fulton said. "So we've got to set the tempo on the offensive line. We know the receiving corps is great so if we give Tyler (Bray) time, he'll get the ball to somebody.
"It's what we do. What we've been trained to do."
If Fulton sounded like a commercial, the mammoth third-year starter merely echoed the sentiments of his head coach.
"I think so. I'd be crushed if they didn't set the tone. These guys have been in the program for three years," Derek Dooley said. "At some point take ownership of the team, take ownership of the practice, let's go. They're doing a good job of that."
Good enough that Bray said through five practices he has rarely been bothered by the defense.
"Not recently. Today was a little different," Bray said, noting the Vols' fifth practice and some minor fatigue, "but before that I was barely getting touched."
Moreover, with weapons like Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers and junior college newcomer Cordarrelle Patterson at his disposal, Bray said he can't wait to line up.
"I'm like that every play. This offensive line, I'm not really scared of anyone getting to me," Bray said. "They're a great offensive line."
Not yet. Fulton, as his other linemates have attested, has heard all too often about the line's struggles and Tennessee's anemic running game a year ago.
"I'd say about every day. Every day. It just added fuel to the fire," Fulton said of how often he was reminded of the Vols' struggles. "It made us to make sure that we're going to be better this year. We're going to prove everybody wrong."
SPREADING THE LOVE
Bray said Patterson has emerged as a virtual starter in the Vols' offense and was destined for a strong debut campaign.
"CP is everything everyone has hyped him up to be. Go up and get the ball. Big, strong receiver," Bray said. "He's going to do very well in the SEC.
"It's going to be very big. He's pretty much a starter already, so we're going to count on him to play a big role. Between the three of them, they should have a very good season."
Big enough that Bray joked he could earn some extra cash, depending upon how he distributed the football.
"There's a payment process going on right now. It's five bucks a ball, and touchdowns are 10," joked the quarterback.
A day after he was praised by Dooley for his leadership, Bray also was praised by Fulton for his take-charge demeanor.
"There's a lot more leadership. Making sure we hustle down the field when the ball is thrown. Just little stuff like that that every quarterback should be doing, every leader should be doing," Fulton said.
Bray has become more animated and commanding on the field each day in practice, and he acknowledged an additional comfort level in doing so.
"It's starting to become more second-nature. At first it's kind of hard because you don't want to scream at the guys. They're about 100 pounds bigger than you, so you don't want to say the wrong thing and get smacked around," Bray said. "But they're starting to listen to me a little more, and they're working a lot harder than they have."
Could Bray have envisioned taking that same tact a year ago?
"A little bit. Not as much," he said. "They probably would have looked at me like 'What are you telling me to do? Shut up. You're not running routes.' This year, I can pretty much say whatever and they're going to listen."
All that does, Fulton said, is make the line want to keep Bray protected even more.
"We appreciate it a lot, because it pushes us even more," Fulton said. "We know that we have a great quarterback behind us. That inspires us to protect him even more."
CLASS IN SESSION
With the last day of classes for the second session of summer school, Tennessee was without starting wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers and cornerback Eric Gordon. The two were having finals.
With the semester ending on Tuesday, the Vols should learn by next week, if not sooner, if there will be any academic casualties.
AYRES MAKES THE MOVE
A day after moving freshman Justin King from linebacker to tight end, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley announced Joe Ayres moved from the defensive line to tight end.
The move was spurred not only because of the lack of depth already at the position, but also because starting tight end Mychal Rivera was out with a knee injury.
Even though the redshirt junior has never played tight end, Ayres has played offensive line and Dooley thinks he may be able to help some with blocking.
"With Rivera out we're thin there. We've got a lot of D-linemen and we're looking on the board to see who could help us, just like with Justin King," Dooley said. "I think Joe can really give us some value, especially as a bigger, physical guy to help us block."
VOLS HAVE FIRST INJURIES
Tennessee had the injury bug hit camp for the first time Tuesday as Rivera was held out because of a knee injury. Freshman running back Davante Bourque was slowed down by a neck injury but still participated.
Dooley didn't consider either serious.
"Rivera tweaked his knee a little bit, it's nothing serious, but he'll probably be out a week or so," Dooley said.
"Bourque got a 'neck.' It's not really a stinger. I think it's a 'whiplash' deal. I'm not a doctor. He's moving his shoulders but not his neck. The only people I've seen do that have whiplash or are trying to fake they have it so they can win some money in a lawsuit. He didn't get in a car wreck, but he got hit.
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