KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee linebacker Herman Lathers laid a hard hit on freshman running back Bryce Brown during practice, causing the heralded recruit to hit the ground and the ball to pop out of his hands.
Coach Lane Kiffin said Thursday those kinds of hits are vital to the Volunteers as they prepare for a tough Southeastern Conference schedule this season.
Kiffin says Brown and the other young players need those kind of hits throughout fall practice so that they're fully prepared when the Vols open Sept. 5 against Western Kentucky. He also likes to see how the players respond in those situations.
In this case Brown hopped right back to his feet, ready for another play.
Lathers says the freshmen are sometimes targeted for hard hits as a way to welcome them to the SEC hard-hitting style of play.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.