August 30, 2012
Couch time big for the Vols
It was, at times, the coaches' liberal open-door policies.
Other times it was simply an intern, mere months removed from winning a national championship at Alabama, displaying a willingness to do whatever might help the transition.
Either way, as Tennessee prepares to face N.C. State Friday night inside the Georgia Dome in the Vols' 2012 season opener and Derek Dooley's third as Tennessee's coach, the potentially overwhelming transition of a coaching staff with seven new full-time faces is being mitigated by office visits more Dr. Phil than Dr. Football.
"It was big. Every time we see them, it's not always about football," said sophomore safety Brian Randolph, one of several Vols defensive backs who pointed specifically to coaches Derrick Ansley and Josh Conklin. "So that's a big deal for us. We have more than just a coach; we have someone who cares about us. They also show a lot of interest in us, ask about class. It's not just as a football player."
Added defensive lineman Steven Fowlkes, "(Line coach John Palermo) is always there if you need help, even if it's 10 at night. He's there to go over plays with you. I also have to give (defensive intern Nick) Gentry love because all summer he was there helping us. Late at night if you needed help with the plays, he would come to your crib and go over plays all night with you. I give props to both of those guys."
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