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Tennessee Athletics photo by Andrew Ferguson / Tennessee receiver Jimmy Calloway makes a catch in front of Volunteers defensive back Jaylen McCollough during a practice earlier this spring. The Vols will wrap up Josh Heupel's first spring with Saturday's Orange & White contest inside Neyland Stadium.

There is no shortage of questions entering Tennessee's first Orange & White spring football game with Josh Heupel at the helm.

Who will have the best Saturday afternoon among quarterbacks Harrison Bailey, Hendon Hooker and Brian Maurer? Will Alex Golesh's offense or the defense under Tim Banks have the better day? Will Mother Nature have any effect on the offense's desired tempo?

No matter what transpires inside what could be a soggy Neyland Stadium, it is certain to be important to Heupel.

"Collectively as a staff, this is our greatest dress rehearsal before we get to the fall," Heupel said. "The first two scrimmages we tried to treat like a game in everything that we were doing for our players to make sure they were prepared and understood what we wanted. This will be a huge opportunity for our staff to grow and to make sure we're ready to operate efficiently and effectively."

The Orange & White game, which starts at 4, will be available on SET Network+ and can be heard on the Vol Network, and it also can be streamed through utsports.com. Tennessee held its 13th spring practice Thursday, with a walkthrough Friday serving as the 14th.

Tennessee never came close to a spring game last year, when the outbreak of the coronavirus suspended team activities after two practices, and this year's components are eager to see what transpires.

"These practices are all important, and that's not a coaching cliche," Banks said. "When you're a new team and a new staff, you understand how valuable every single rep is and how valuable every single practice is. Our kids understand that, and they understand that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done for us to go where we want to go, and that's the motivation they have.

"These guys are hungry, and they want to get better. I would be extremely disappointed if they didn't come out excited for the opportunity to obviously get inside Neyland and to tee this thing up."

Tennessee announced Friday that offensive players will wear orange jerseys and that defensive players will wear white jerseys. Normal game scoring will apply, with the offense alternating possessions for the Orange and White teams.

The first half will contain two 15-minute quarters, and there will be a 10-minute halftime. The third and fourth quarters will be accompanied by a running clock.

"What a great opportunity for our guys to compete in front of our fans, put on a show and show the improvement that they've made," Heupel said.

Admission to the Orange & White game is free, with the Neyland Stadium gates set to open at 2:30.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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