Milton staying interception-free for the Vols

Tennessee Athletics photo / Running back Jaylen Wright (0) and quarterback Joe Milton III (7) talk during Tennessee's second preseason scrimmage Wednesday inside Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee Athletics photo / Running back Jaylen Wright (0) and quarterback Joe Milton III (7) talk during Tennessee's second preseason scrimmage Wednesday inside Neyland Stadium.

Quarterback Joe Milton III has played in 17 games the past two seasons for the Tennessee Volunteers and has yet to throw his first interception.

Milton apparently wants it to stay that way based on coach Josh Heupel's comments following Wednesday's second preseason scrimmage.

"He's been really accurate with the football and really decisive," Heupel said in a news conference. "He's been a really good decision-maker. I don't know if he's thrown a pick all training camp."

Wednesday marked Tennessee's final scrimmage before the Sept. 2 season opener against Virginia inside Nashville's Nissan Stadium. The scrimmage was closed to the media, with Heupel again expressing his appreciation for the energy on both sides of the ball.

Heupel said the offense had the upper hand early in the scrimmage but that the defense was superior midway through the workout and really dominated during the overtime situations at the end.

"We're two weeks away from kickoff, two and change, and we've got a lot of things that we need to continue to clean up," Heupel said. "The communication side could have been better offensively, as well as some of the mechanics stuff, but all in all it was good work."

Heupel admitted the first scrimmage was a little cleaner from an operational standpoint.

Tennessee scrimmaged without senior center Cooper Mays, who remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury that required a recent procedure. Heupel said following the first scrimmage that the setback to Mays would be a "couple-week deal," but he wasn't as specific Wednesday regarding the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder's status for Virginia.

"We believe we'll have an opportunity to have him back," Heupel said. "Everything has gone well since he had the issue he had, but at the same time, you better have a contingency plan, and that goes for every position."

Heupel revealed that freshman running back DeSean Bishop and freshman defensive lineman Tyree Weathersby have suffered setbacks, with Weathersby out for the season. Bishop is expected out for a couple of months.

The Vols are scheduled to take Thursday off before practicing Friday and Saturday.


The Wright stuff

Junior running back Jaylen Wright played in all 13 games last season, rushing for 875 yards, 6.0 yards a carry and 10 touchdowns, and he has been impressive this month in Heupel's eyes.

"He's a young guy who earlier in his career just wanted to run around everything and just use his speed to his advantage," Heupel said. "That's how he developed as a young back in high school. He can still do that, but he's got really good vision and understands blockers and how to use them. He delivers double teams to the second level.

"He's just playing at a really high level."


Praising Webb

Heupel also had some kind words Wednesday for redshirt freshman receiver Kaleb Webb.

"I don't know if anybody spends more time in the building catching balls," he said. "He's always coming back for extra work in the middle of the day. He's gotten a lot stronger and in his lower body in particular, which has helped him in his speed and getting in and out of breaks."

Heupel added that the same could be said for Chas Nimrod, another redshirt freshman receiver. Webb played in three games last season, while Nimrod played in two, with neither recording any stats.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com.

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