12 Days Left: Notes/Thoughts on Vols’ 8-19 Practice
The Vols took to Haslam Field on an overcast Monday evening. Media was allowed to watch practice for about an hour and there was a heavy emphasis on the run game during this time. Only about 5 pass attempts were made as the Vols focused on reverses and draw plays in the red zone. Here are so quick thoughts on today’s practice.
With the open practice this past Saturday, Vol Nation was able to form their own opinions on the UT signal callers for the first time since the Orange and White Game back in April. On Saturday, Nathan Peterman stood out while Justin Worley faltered in the eyes of the fans. During two team segments on Monday, Worley led the first team offense out. In a 2-point conversion situation drill, the pocket collapsed on him, but he was able to step up just enough to perhaps get back to the line of scrimmage. He did not seem panicked as the defense closed in on him. Peterman came out with the second team and did not make the most of his opportunity to score 2 points for the Vols. His pass on a slant route was behind the receiver, where it was tipped by a defender and then intercepted by Byron Moore who took it to the house.
In the 2nd team drill, often times called the “Gotta Have It” drill, Worley once again led the first team out. The drill started on the 12 in the red zone and moved closer with each rep. Worley did not throw once during the 4 plays he had during this drill as all of the play calls were reverses to wide receivers and draws to the running backs. Peterman split his 4 plays with true freshman Josh Dobbs who ran the offense for plays 3 and 4. Riley Ferguson did not get any reps.
As wide receiver coach Zach Azzanni stated last week, there is no real depth chart when it comes to this position, especially with the amount of injuries they have. During the 2 point conversion drill, the first team receivers were Pig Howard (in a green non-contact jersey), Josh Smith and Marquez North. The second team consisted of Jacob Carter, Devrin Young, and Cody Blanc.
During the “Gotta Have It” drill, the first group of receivers were North, Young, and Smith. The second team was made up Jason Croom, Drae Bowles, Carter, and Blanc. North was taken down in the backfield on a quick hand-off from Worley on the first play, but redeemed himself 2 plays later by scoring on a similar play from 6 yards out. Drae Bowles fumbled away his one chance carrying the ball after gaining a few yards. Head Coach Butch Jones shouted through the megaphone, “It’s goin’ that way!! We won’t get these calls on away games!” Jones praised Croom during this drill for his outside blocking that led to the North touchdown.
Later in practice, the receivers and defensive backs worked on blocking for toss plays. North really stood out as he consistently blocked whoever he was matched up with. Young struggled during this drill and pleaded for another rep as he was clearly disappointed in his performance. The defensive backs had a difficult time getting of the blocks and making the tackle during this drill.
Below is a list of players that were either out completely or in a green non-contact jersey:
Jacques Smith – No shoulder pads, was jogging constantly on the sidelines
Marlin Lane – Full pads, but stayed off to the side and had a noticeable limp
Dylan Wiesman – Full pads, but stayed off to the side
Paul Harris – Full pads, but stayed off to the side
Ryan Jenkins – Full pads, but stayed off to the side
Mike Williams – No should pads, right arm in a sling
Alex Ellis – Small walking boot and crutches
Pig Howard – Green jersey, participated the majority of practice
Curt Maggitt – Green jersey, did not participate very much
Brian Randolph – Green jersey, participated during practice
Justin King – Green jersey, did not participate very much
Andrew Darago is a Host/Writer/Producer for Tennessee Sports Radio. You can contact/follow him on Twitter at @AndrewTSR