Tennessee in town; holds first practice

Volunteers DL Miller, DB Payne plan to transfer

(TaxSlayer Bowl photo by Patrick Nealis)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After arriving in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon, the Tennessee Volunteers settled into Marriott Sawgrass for the night, then got down to business Monday morning with its first practice at the University of North Florida.

The 6-6 Vols face the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) on Friday in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

This will be Tennessee's 50th bowl appearance and the team's first since 2010. If the Vols beat Iowa, it will be their first winning season since 2009.

Vols slideshow

"That's the biggest next step for the program that we can do something about still this year,'' defensive tackle Jordan Williams said. "We're back in a bowl this year, that was a big step, but we want more. We're not getting ahead of ourselves, just taking things one day, one game at a time, trying to get better."

At Monday's practice, Tennessee coach Butch Jones confirmed that defensive lineman Jaylen Miller and defensive back D'Andre Payne aren't with the team for TaxSlayer Bowl practices and intend to transfer.

Jones says that "wherever they feel they can play, we'll help them."

A sophomore from Gaffney, South Carolina, Miller played nine games this season and made two tackles. Payne is a freshman from Washington who made four tackles in eight games.

Monday night bowl officials will host receptions and welcome dinners at each of the team hotels: the Volunteers at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort and the Hawkeyes at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

A seafood buffet is on the menu for both teams.