Tennessee football practice report: Vols break from the script

Tennessee football practice report: Vols break from the script

August 12th, 2014 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Receiver Johnathon Johnson makes a one-handed catch in Tennessee's practice on Tuesday afternoon.

KNOXVILLE - In full training camp mode this week, Tennessee continued its preseason preparations on a steamy Tuesday afternoon at Haslam Field.

Coach Butch Jones got his team's competitive juices flowing right from the start by going off the script with some two-point plays and red-zone team periods.

Here are some notes and observations from the open viewing period:

*Tennessee went right from its stretching period to a set of four two-point plays.

Receiver Marquez North dropped a fade in the corner of the end zone from quarterback Justin Worley, who took all the first-team quarterback reps, on the first play, though safety Devaun Swafford had some nice coverage on the play. Worley had to throw his second chance out of the back of the end zone after a high snap.

With Mack Crowder, who worked on the side of practice with his right ankle noticeably taped, out for a second straight practice, the Vols moved Kyler Kerbyson from right guard to center and plugged freshman Jashon Robertson, who began camp at defensive tackle, in to Kerbyson's old spot.

Freshman tight end Daniel Helm dropped quarterback Nathan Peterman's pass at the goal line on the first reps for the second group, and Justus Pickett scored on Josh Dobb's lone rep at quarterback.

*The Vols then broke into a series of red-zone plays where the line of scrimmage moved from the 18-yard line to the 9, then the 6 and then the 3, and the offense repeatedly got the best of the defense.

North caught a touchdown pass from Worley in the back corner of the end zone over freshman cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, and Devrin Young turned a swing pass into a touchdown. Pickett took a draw in for a score before Worley's final fade pass was incomplete.

*Jason Croom featured on the first two plays for the second-team offense, catching a jump ball over freshman corner D'Andre Payne right along the back of the end zone and having a high slant throw from Peterman go through his hands.

Peterman improvised after a low snap from freshman center Ray Raulerson and ran in for a score, and Helm redeemed himself with a tough touchdown catch with freshman safety Evan Berry draped all over him.

*On the second set of plays for the first-team offense, redshirt freshman receiver Ryan Jenkins caught a touchdown pass, and Young scored on a screen play on which Robertson delivered a crunching crack-back block on defensive tackle Owen Williams.

Moseley tripped up freshman tailback Jalen Hurd in the open field, and A.J. Johnson stuffed Pickett for a loss before Pig Howard hauled in a fade out of bounds.

*On the final set for the second-team offense, nickelback Malik Foreman was flagged for holding, and Dobbs threw a strike to Johnathon Johnson for a touchdown on a slant.

Dobbs misread his running lanes on a zone-read keeper, but he took a bootleg in for a score to finish the series. Pickett added another touchdown between Dobbs's runs.

"You better start coming to play, defense!" Jones barked.

*Some further personnel notes from those team periods:

In addition to Robertson, Dontavius Blair and Brett Kendrick got some first-team work at left and right tackle, respectively, ahead of usual first-teamers Jacob Gilliam and Coleman Thomas.

Defensively, both Williams and freshman linebacker Dillon Bates got some first-team work. Usual starting linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has been in a non-contact jersey this week.

Freshman Todd Kelly got some second-team work, along with fellow rookies Dimarya Mixon and Michael Sawyers at defensive tackle, defensive end Dewayne Hendrix, safety Evan Berry and linebacker Elliott Berry.

*Jones challenged Elliott Berry right from the start by making him go three straight times in the Vols' "circle of life" drill, including a first rep against his twin brother Evan. On Elliott Berry's third rep, linebacker Justin King drove him out of the circle.

*Curt Maggitt (leg) continues to be absent from practice, though tailbacks Marlin Lane and Derrell Scott were both back, albeit limited. Freshman receiver Vic Wharton and freshman kicker Aaron Medley were new additions to the "hole," where injured players work out during practice. Defensive end Jaylen Miller remains out with an undisclosed injury.

More coverage online and in Wednesday's Times Free Press.