The smile on Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer's face grew wider with each crack of the pads Saturday evening.
Fulmer turned the Vols loose on one another during a limited 9-on-8 full-contact scrimmage. The offense got the best of the action, as the backs averaged about 6 yards per run.
"We needed to get back into it," Fulmer said. "I was very pleased with the way we came off the ball."
Tailbacks Jamal Lewis, Onterrio Smith and Travis Stephens got the carries.
"Man, I wanted to go and have some of that," said tailback Travis Henry, who was held out of the full-contact drill. "I guess they just wanted to hold me out to be sure. But next time I want some plays. These couple days of practice have felt great."
Henry suffered a mild concussion in UT's regular-season finale against Vanderbilt.
The defense was missing defensive tackle Darwin Walker, who graduated earlier in the day, and linebacker Raynoch Thompson, who was ill.
Junior tight end Neil Johnson, a former champion in the Tennessee drill (a practice hitting drill), said the contact felt good.
"It got us back used to hitting people," said Johnson, a 250-pounder. "We really got the feeling back, and I thought it went really well."
SITTING OUT: Linebacker Travis Colston (back) missed Saturday 11/2-hour practice, as did center Spencer Riley (knee). Both are expected to practice Monday.
The Vols will practice twice Monday and Tuesday and break for the holidays after a Wednesday morning practice.