KNOXVILLE – Just a little more than 12 hours after its first spring practice, Tennessee's football team was back at it on Haslam Field Saturday morning for practice No. 2.
On another sunny day in Knoxville, the Volunteers spent another two-plus hours preparing for the 2014 season.
The open viewing period for the media on Saturday morning provided some one-on-one reps between receivers and defensive backs and the first look at the kickers vying to replace Michael Palardy, whom Tennessee coach Butch Jones called the MVP of last year's team earlier this week.
Here's what we saw in Saturday's practice:
• Immediately after the team's stretching period, Jones called for some one-on-ones from the 8-yard line between one receiver and one defensive back, and a couple of Tennessee's new receivers were called to line up.
In the first rep, rising sophomore cornerback Malik Foreman, who's pushing for a potential starting spot, broke up a slant pass in the end zone intended for Josh Malone, the five-star freshman receiver.
Junior college transfer receiver Von Pearson pulled one back for the offense with an excellent grab on a fade route in the back corner of the end zone against Cam Sutton, the Vols' All-SEC freshman corner from 2013.
Rising senior Justin Coleman won it for the defense, though, by snagging a 50-50 ball from Marquez North on a fade pattern.
• Pearson has created as much buzz as any of Tennessee's 14 January early enrollees, and it's clear that the Vols' coaches like what he brings to the table. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder from Virginia was singled out by Jones after Friday's practice for taking a short throw and turning it into a big play. He's working in the slot with Pig Howard (personal) out for spring, and so far he's made some noise.
• It was a bad, bad day for Tennessee's field goal kickers, at least when they moved outside of 40-yarders. George Bullock, the rising third-year sophomore from Knoxville, missed five straight kicks -- four of them wide right -- from about 45 yards. Derrick Brodus and Patrick Toole, both walk-on kickers, both missed theirs wide right.
The Vols did sign one of the nation's top-rated kickers in the 2014 class in Aaron Medley, but the Marshall County (Tenn.) High School product won't be here till the summer. Based on Saturday's output, he can't get here soon enough. And when he does arrive, he'll have ample opportunity to win the job.
• Interesting note: rising sophomore linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin got some work holding on field goals and extra points. The Vols are replacing their entire battery on field goals with the graduation of snapper J.R. Carr and holder Tyler Drummer. Matt Giampapa, who played at the University School of Jackson and was the starting snapper at Michigan State in 2011, snapped with the first group. Punter Matt Darr also got some work at holder.
• As he often does, Jones cracked a couple of one-liners on Saturday morning. While The Gap Band's "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" blared over the speakers at practice, Jones quipped that the song was dedicated to freshman cornerback D'Andre Payne.
Jones later gigged All-SEC linebacker A.J. Johnson by barking at him to "show me that 5-[second]-flat speed!" and pointing out that fellow linebacker Curt Maggitt was the faster of the two during a drill.
More practice coverage online and in Sunday'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 ...