"You have to be smart about it, but at the same time, you have to realize that's the only way to go out there and play as physical as you want to play," Stone said. "You have to practice it and do full-speed things in practice with full contact."
Jones said he's been through this type of situation before. He referred to his Cincinnati teams that featured current Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe and Cleveland Browns defensive tackle John Hughes.
"If one was to my left and if one was to my right, they'd tape me and chuckle and say they were both soft mentally (as juniors)," Jones said. "We challenged them, and the way they developed in a year's time is probably the most development I've ever seen in two individuals."
Tennessee may be suffering from the cumulative effect of facing ranked opponents week after week. The Vols aren't alone in this regard.
Arkansas lost 35-17 to Auburn last week in its fifth straight game against a Top 25 team. The Razorbacks have lost six straight overall and were outscored 214-67 in their five games against ranked foes.
"For the weak, it probably brings you down," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "I think for the strong, it probably gives you a reference point in the future. It definitely does."
Auburn isn't taking anything for granted. The Tigers know Tennessee was competitive with ranked teams in its last two home games.
"At home they play pretty good," Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. "They beat South Carolina the last time at home, I think they had Georgia pretty much on the ropes and gave it away maybe in overtime. And talent-wise, they have a lot of good athletic guys. It'll be interesting to see."
NOTES: Jones said redshirt quarterback Nathan Peterman will be available to play Saturday after missing five games to recover from surgery to his right hand. Jones hasn't said whether Peterman or freshman Riley Ferguson will work as Joshua Dobbs' main backup. ... Jones said kicker/punter Michael Palardy couldn't even walk Thursday because of back spasms. Palardy healed quickly enough to play against Missouri and kick a 51-yard field goal.