Butch Jones has been at Tennessee long enough to realize the importance of paying attention when Peyton Manning has something to say.
The first-year coach said a conversation with the Denver Broncos quarterback and former Tennessee star gave him the idea to make one training-camp practice open to the public. Tennessee held that open practice Saturday at Neyland Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 39,000 fans. Most of them stayed throughout the 90-minute session amid steady rain.
The open practice gave the Volunteers something of a dress rehearsal two weeks before the Aug. 31 season opener with Austin Peay. The band was in the stands playing ''Rocky Top,'' and cheerleaders were on the sidelines.
''It's definitely not the atmosphere that it's going to be (on Aug. 31), but it's close to it,'' junior cornerback Justin Coleman said. ''It's as close as you can get to a game.''
This also represented one more opportunity for Jones to re-energize a fan base that had grown weary fro...