Day 5 of Fall Practice Observations w/ Chris Treece
Practice 5: First Day In Full Pads
With several NFL scouts looking on for Tennessee’s first practice in pads, it concluded with not so much fanfare. Actually it was kind of flat. There wasn’t a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Few guys stood out. This is the day were you get noticed for your intensity and aggressiveness. The players just looked tired and not dialed in. There were however, several of the freshmen that stood out, one in particular. Cam Sutton was impressive from beginning to end. His technique was on point and at one point in some of the individual drills; no receivers caught a pass on 23. I can’t begin to tell you how impressive his footwork and technique are. He is also a leader. He was telling the DB’s and the defense to get fired up. This young man gets it early. Trust, Cam Sutton WILL BE A VERY SPECIAL PLAYER for UT. He has the speed, the skill set and the attitude to back it all up. He is physical in press coverage and has the quickness to cover up for an occasional false step. He is truly fun to watch and the fans are going to be pleased with what he brings to the table.
Other guys that stood out today was Malik Foreman. I thought he did a really good job at fighting for position and competing hard. He still needs to clean up some small technique things but he is a physical corner that loves compete. Marquez North, Jason Croom, Ryan Jenkins and Jonathan Johnson played big in some of the drills against the DB’s. Croom has made a commitment to be a more physical receiver and it is showing big time. His focus is very high and he is playing very big, which is what was asked of him during the spring. He is another guy that has learned all of the positions on the field. Jonathan Johnson continues to impress me with his quickness and strength in the slot. His ability to separate is ridiculous. He is very good in tight spaces and has a knack at creating separation. Marquez North continues to get better with every rep. His size makes it almost impossible for DB’s to get leverage on him. He rarely get taken out of his routes and his strength allows him to get the corners out of there game. Ryan Jenkins is playing much bigger than his size and put in extra work before the start of practice. This young man is very smooth and fluid when comes off the line of scrimmage. He has good body control with strong hands. He is another guy with great focus.
All in all I would have to say that the defense won the day which is not uncommon in the beginning of camp. This team has a long way to before the first game on the 31st. The quarterbacks need to start progressing more, the offensive line needs to be more consistent and the running backs need to be more decisive. The defensive line needs to do a better job with pad level and be more aggressive. With that being said it is only the 5th day of fall camp. This team will be ok. The coaching staff is working hard to challenge this team mentally. Like I’ve always said when you get tired the mind is the first thing to go. Remember, this football team is in a transitional phase from the past three years. That why this freshmen group is having so much success in my opinion.
Chris Treece is the host of The Chris Treece Show every Monday through Friday from 1-3 on Tennessee Sports Radio. You can follow him on Twitter at @christreeceshow