Coach Butch Jones tests 'sharpness' of Tennessee Vols team

Coach Butch Jones tests 'sharpness' of Tennessee Vols team

August 10th, 2013 by Patrick Brown in Local - Breaking News

Extra points

Defensive tackle Mo Couch wore a protective boot on his right foot and was on crutches during practice. Corner Justin Coleman didn't practice, and Malik Foreman was also out, as the freshman corner wore a sleeve on his right calf and walked with a noticeable limp. Freshmen receivers Paul Harris (foot) and Josh Smith (knee) remained out.

With two corners on the sideline, Sutton and walk-on Michael Williams were the first-team corners.

At safety, LaDarrell McNeil was limited with a green non-contact jersey, though Byron Moore returned to practice. Both players have missed time with hamstring issues.

Tight end Alex Ellis also didn't practice.

Reserve linebacker and special teamer Channing Fugate was not at practice for the second straight day, and some reports have suggested the senior could be looking to transfer to another school in search of playing time.

Jones will update any injuries following tonight's scrimmage.

KNOXVILLE - Tennessee practiced for a little more than an hour this morning ahead of tonight's scrimmage, but first-year coach Butch Jones tested his team's sharpness during a series of situational team periods and situational work.

The entire practice was open to the media, though tonight's second practice at Neyland Stadium, scheduled for 7 p.m., will be closed.

Most of the situational work focused on end-of-game situations where the offense is trailing with less than a minute left and no timeouts remaining.

From the 3-yard line with 27 seconds left, the first-team offense scored touchdown when quarterback Justin Worley rolled to his right and found Pig Howard in the end zone. In the second series for the starters, Howard dropped a potential touchdown, and the offense settled for a field goal.

"Dropped passes cost games," Jones thundered into his microphone before commending the defense's "great job."

In that situation with the second team, quarterback Nathan Peterman threw a swing pass to tailback Justus Pickett, the Maryland transfer, and after cornerback Riyahd Jones tackled him inbounds for a loss, some miscommunication on a substitution caused confusion as the clock ran out.

"We just lost the game," Jones told his team.

With the second-team offense, freshman Josh Dobbs threw a touchdown pass to Devrin Young on a play that had Tennessee's defensive coaches looking for a penalty flag for offensive interference when a pick play freed Young.

On 2nd-and-15 from the 40 with 22 seconds left, Worley narrowly missed completions to Jason Croom twice and Howard once, and Michael Palardy was short and right on two attempts at a 57-yard field goal. In the same situation, Peterman was sacked by defensive end Jordan Williams on the second team's turn.

With 1:18 left on its own 41, Worley found freshman receiver Marquez North for 25 yards before an illegal procedure penalty and a sack backed up Tennessee's first-team offense. Safety Brian Randolph broke up a fourth-down pass intended for North, though the hit might have drawn a flag for targeting in a game. Jones commended Randolph for his "good play" and reminded his defense of the new rules for targeting and helmet-to-helmet hits.

Peterman completed passes to Pickett and Croom, who failed to get out of bounds, but Jones called the delay of game penalty the quarterback induced a "catastrophic mistake." The Vols attempted to run its field goal team on with the clock running down, and the kick was low and blocked by the middle of Tennessee's line.

"We try to expose our players to anything and every situation that occurs throughout the course of a football season," Jones said after Friday's practice, "so when that situation occurs during the season, they've practiced it and they have confidence in that situation because they have seen it and they have practiced it."

The Vols also did a series of live punt and kickoff situations. Devrin Young was the first-team returner on punt and kickoffs. Jones got on to Cameron Suttion for missing a block in punt protection, yelling at the freshman cornerback that the kick would have been blocked and he would have made "SportsCenter."

"Lock in freshman!" Jones barked.