published Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Tennessee football practice report: Pearson's catch highlights indoor work

KNOXVILLE — Some chillier temperatures and some overnight rainfall prompted Tennessee's football team practice inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex on Thursday afternoon, but that didn't keep the Volunteers from getting to work.

And as he's done a couple of times this spring, junior college transfer receiver Von Pearson made an impressive play.

This time it was a one-handed snag in the corner of the end zone in a one-on-one with rising sophomore cornerback Malik Foreman with the whole team watching.

The entire offense ran over to Pearson and mobbed him after the catch. He juked out All-SEC freshman corner Cam Sutton to turn a short pass into a touchdown in the Vols' practice this spring. The 6-foot-3, 181-pounder is working in the slot and showing his ability already.

Here are some other quick notes and observations from Tennessee's practice:

• As he often was last season, head coach Butch Jones was on defensive tackle Jason Carr early on Thursday, telling the sophomore from Memphis that he would call him out to go first in the Vols' circle drill "every practice." It's a big spring for Carr, who needs to show he can help at a thin position.

• Speaking of the circle drill, freshman linebacker Jakob Johnson, whom Jones called "Germany," (he's originally from Stuttgart), held his own against All-SEC 'backer A.J. Johnson. Freshman offensive tackle Coleman Thomas won his matchup with defensive end Dimarya Mixon, another newcomer. Jones called out a few of Tennessee's 14 January enrollees to take a turn.

• In the one-on-one in the end zone following Pearson's highlight-reel catch, Jason Croom drew a pass interference penalty on a slant pattern against Sutton. The Vols then went into some offensive tackle-defensive end one-on-ones, with Corey Vereen besting Dontavius Blair, the junior college transfer, and Thomas holding his own with Maggitt.

• The defense spent a couple of periods during the open session working on defending the bubble screen, the quick wide throws that gave the Vols all kinds of fits last season.

• Running backs coach Robert Gillespie continued to work five-star freshman Jalen Hurd. During a drill where the backs worked on staying low and balanced as they bounced off a blocking pad held by a manager, Gillespie stopped Hurd and made him start the drill over. Then the former Florida tailback got hands-on with Hurd, physically lifting his left leg to show the proper technique.

• At quarterback, Justin Worley ran out with the first group as Tennessee broke into a team period as the open viewing period ended, though during the walk-through earlier in practice all four quarterbacks got reps with the first group.

• Assistant coaches are speaking to the media today, and they should shed more light into how this team is progressing, as they typically do.

More practice coverage online and in Friday's Times Free Press.

about Patrick Brown...

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 ...

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