Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane works through individuals drills during the Vols' practice on Thursday afternoon.Photo by Patrick Brown
KNOXVILLE — After taking Wednesday off from practice, Tennessee was back out at Haslam Field on a sticky Thursday afternoon working toward Saturday, which will feature a morning scrimmage and an evening practice.
Here are some notes and observations from the Volunteers' practice.
• Tennessee had four rounds of situational team work early on in practice. The scenario: the offense took possession near midfield with 1:02 left in the game and one timeout remaining down two points.
The first-team offense's two turns, with Justin Worley at quarterback, ended in a fourth-down incompletion and an interception. On the first series, Pig Howard had a short pass go through his hands, and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin made a nice open-field tackle on tailback Marlin Lane before a miscommunication on fourth down saw Worley throw deep to a spot devoid of any receivers.
Worley started his second series with two completions, but freshman cornerback Emmanuel Moseley had good coverage deep on receiver Marquez North and came down with a tough catch on Worley's underthrown pass to end the series.
"Put the ball where one guy can catch it!" Vols coach Butch Jones barked at his senior quarterback.
For the twos, Devrin Young dropped a screen pass from Josh Dobbs and Josh Smith caught a short pass, but blitzing nickelback Malik Foreman batted down Dobbs' fourth-down pass at the line of scrimmage.
Nathan Peterman guided the second-team offense into field goal range with a long completion to Smith before freshman tailback Jalen Hurd added some tough yards. With the obnoxious noise of a crying baby and a horn blaring, freshman kicker Aaron Medley was good from 31 yards to "win" the situation for the offense.
• The team periods always provide a glimpse into who's where in the lineups, particularly defensively.
At defensive line with the second-team: junior college transfer Owen Williams and freshmen Dewayne Hendrix, Derek Barnett and Michael Sawyers. The two linebackers were freshmen Dillon Bates and Gavin Bryant. The second-team secondary was corners D'Andre Payne and Riyahd Jones, Foreman and safeties LaDarrell McNeil and Lemond Johnson, though freshmen Todd Kelly and Evan Berry were the safeties for the twos' second turn.
• Freshman Dimarya Mixon has been working with the second-group, but he got some first-team work at defensive tackle.
Kenny Bynum also got some first-team work at linebacker as the Vols look for depth there while limiting A.J. Johnson's reps.
• While the rest of the Vols went into 7-on-7 mode during the final open period of practice, the offensive and defensive lines gathered for some 1-on-1 work.
Both Corey Vereen and freshman Joe Henderson got around freshman right tackle Coleman Thomas to win their reps, while former walk-on Jacob Gilliam held up Curt Maggitt and JuCo transfer Dontavius Blair stymied freshman Jakob Johnson as those two continue to battle at left tackle.
In the middle, Danny O'Brien bested center Mack Crowder, who bounced back to win a rematch between the two. Right guard Kyler Kerbyson stuffed Jordan Williams, only for the rematch between those two to go the other way.
Barnett beat redshirt freshman right tackle Brett Kendrick on his rep, and Sawyers pushed back freshman center Ray Raulerson.
• More personnel items …
The first-team kickoff coverage unit: Medley, A.J. Johnson, Bates, Lemond Johnson, McNeil, safety Devaun Swafford, nickelback Justin Coleman, corners Cam Sutton Michael Williams freshman defensive backs Rashaan Gaulden and Elliott Berry.
The second-team kickoff coverage unit: Moseley, Kelly, Evan Berry, Foreman, Payne, kicker George Bullock, JuCo transfer Chris Weatherd, safeties Geraldo Orta and Max Arnold, freshman linebacker Neiko Creamer and freshman Vic Wharton.
• Receivers Howard and Drae Bowles were in green non-contact jerseys.
• Guards Dylan Wiesman and Austin Sanders continue to miss practice time. Wiesman has done little this August and spent Thursday working out off to the side. As he was on Tuesday, Sanders, the former Bradley Central standout, dressed, but stood to the side of the offensive line drills.
Jashon Robertson, who began camp at defensive tackle, is getting second-team work at right guard.
• Freshman tailback Derrell Scott also dressed and watched practice, and Hendrix was being tended to under a tent adjacent to practice field after leaving in the middle of practice.
Jones said after Tuesday's practice the Vols are taking precautions with any preseason injuries.
More coverage online and in Friday's Times Free Press.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...