The last time we checked in on Tennessee defensive end Jacques Smith, the sophomore was on the receiving end of his second foot surgery following the end of the Vols’ spring practices.
At the time, UT coach Derek Dooley said the procedure — which in Dooley’s own words was more “precautionary” than anything else — to Smith’s left foot (the first surgery was for his right foot) was an “insurance policy” to ensure Smith would be ready for the start of fall camp.
You could say Smith cashed in on that insurance policy, as he is has been listed as “full-go” by Dooley for the start of preseason practices.
Smith had a huge impact on defense for the Vols last season as a true freshman, starting all 13 games. Heading into 2011, Dooley called Smith “the best defensive lineman we have so far this spring.”
In other roster news, linebacker Austin Johnson looks like he will also be able to participate fully in fall camp and the 2011 season following a July 24th arrest for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Is that decision based on the fact that there is practically no depth at the linebacker positions for Tennessee? Listen to the sweet, sultry words of Dooley and determine for yourself.
“We were all disappointed when we read the news, and we’re disappointed any time a player makes a bad choice that puts a negative light on our program,” Dooley said. “There are several things that we’re going to do with Austin, and I’m comfortable with where we are on that.
“He’ll be out there for the first day and he’s eligible to play. We hope that we don’t have any more headlines like that again.”