March 12, 2013
Lewis finding role on Vols' D; more notes
It's not surprising to see defensive end LaTroy Lewis smiling these days. The redshirt freshman couldn't be happier to be back on the field after missing all of season with a torn ACL.
Lewis was one of the surprises last August and was poised to make an impact as a true freshman last season as an outside linebacker. But a knee injury in a pick-up basketball game on a Sunday off-day ending any hopes of Lewis helping in 2012.
After being cleared for contact just a week or so ago, Lewis is back and in his mind better than ever.
"It was painful coming in as a freshman working really hard and establishing yourself. Then getting hurt and being shut down. It was hard for me at first, but I realized it was time for me to learn, put some more weight on and get stronger. I feel more prepared now.
"I feel good. I feel really good," offered Lewis, who missed most of his senior year of high school with a broken foot. "I have no restrictions. I am moving with no pain. I'm doing much better than I was 6 months ago."
Lewis entered spring at 248 pounds and likes his role as a rush defensive end in John Jancek's new scheme.
"For me it's working well," Lewis said. "It's fits most of my strengths, rushing off the edge but still playing the run. Most important is getting after the quarterback.
"Last year, I was a little light even to play the Jack (linebacker). This year I am more comfortable with putting my hand on the ground."
Lewis said he would like to add more weight provided he an keep his speed. For now, his focus is on building what has been a quick start for the defensive line.
"They like how we are getting it (the scheme) fast. A lot of us are coming in extra at night and getting more work in. You could tell on the field. We knew were to line up. We knew what our assignments were and it showed," Lewis said.
TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES
Brian Randolph said there were times in his rehab he wasn't sure he would make it back to the field, simply because of the discouraging nature of the recovery. But Randolph said that when he could sit in team meetings with his defensive teammates, he did. And Randolph said he tweaked his hamstring a bit Tuesday but that he overall felt good.
Brendan Downs said he felt good and had been receiving first-team reps through the opening two practices at the tight end spot.
Butch Jones, who previously praised Lewis about his speed and potential to be a disruptive force on the defensive line, stressed his team's need for a sense of urgency in everything it does on the practice field. Jones acknowledged that tempo might get slowed a bit Thursday as the players don pads for the first time, but Jones emphasized it would be the time for the team to fight through and be mentally strong. ...
VolQuest.com will have more on Randolph, the competition at tight end for the Vols, Jones stressing to keep momentum surging for the program and more throughout the day. Plus more recruiting and basketball coverage to come.
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