Spring Report: Practice 4

Updated: March 13, 2014

The Vols’ moved indoors today as the outdoor practice field was still a little too wet from storms on Wednesday. The energy was high as the players bounced around the facility, making sure they get more work in before their first scrimmage tomorrow. Here are some notes from today’s practice.

- The Von Pearson Show continued today as he continues to make impressive plays. After stretching, Butch Jones made a “sudden change” and had the ball placed on the 8 yard line. Pearson got the first rep with Malik Foreman covering him. Riley Ferguson placed the ball in the back left corner of the endzone where Pearson made a spectacular one handed catch. His new teammates immediately rushed to him to celebrate the touchdown.

- Missing from practice was senior running back Marlin Lane.

- With Lane not at practice, Jalen Hurd was able to receive more coaching from Robert Gillespie. The freshman running back was talking constantly with his position coach, especially during a practice pad contact drill. The drill focused on keeping the pad level low and taking a hit in the shoulder. This coaching staff obviously wants to make sure Hurd will be prepared for contact on his shoulder, which he injured last fall.

- Speaking of Hurd, keep an eye on the possibility of him split out wide. Right before the media viewing session ended, he lined up on the numbers and was about to run a route. Unfortunately, the session ended and he moved on to the next drill.

- The quarterbacks spent another period of practice working with the secondary on high-pointing interceptions. The DBs made some tough catches, but Willie Martinez got frustrated by some players catching the ball in stride. He threw his notes down in frustration as players continued to not jump for the ball.

- In a basic passing drill, the receivers performed much better. There were not nearly as many passes hitting the dirt as there were on Tuesday.


- Sources have told me that the defense won during the team period today. The defense seemed more aggressive and were extremely vocal towards their offensive counterparts.

- Freshman tight end Daniel Helm made a “circus catch” for a touchdown. He had a defensive back draped over him, but made the tough catch. Keep an eye on him and don’t be surprised if he is a big part of the offense. He seems to be taking advantage of the injuries to Brendan Down and A.J. Branisel.

- JUCO transfer Owen Williams and fellow newcomer Dimarya Mixon made several plays on the D-Line this afternoon. Williams will be needed to help rebuild a depleted line.

- Per a source, interceptions were a recurring problem this afternoon with Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman, and Josh Dobbs all being picked off. Devaun Swafford made at least one of those picks from his safety position.

- The quarterbacks did very little to separate from each other today. Ferguson made some nice throws, but continues to struggle at times. The competition will continue when the Vols have their first scrimmage tomorrow.

Andrew Darago is the Co-Host of The Dave Hooker Show for Tennessee Sports Radio and Writer for TNSportsRadio.com. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewTSR

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