Tennessee Spring Practice Notes: 4/20/17

    by -

    Some notes and observations from the open portion of practice on Thursday afternoon:

    Happy returns: In what’s become somewhat of a tradition for Butch Jones, several of the injured players that we didn’t see much of during the spring have made a return to the practice field over the course of the final few practices.

    Receiver Josh Smith, receiver Brandon Johnson, defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, linebacker Quart’e Sapp and safety Micah Abernathy were among the players on the field in green, non-contact uniforms on the field.

    Don’t necessarily expect all, or even any, of the players who have been banged up this spring to play on Saturday, but it had to be encouraging for the receivers, who have been a bit shorthanded all spring to have a couple potential contributors in Smith and Johnson back on the field.

    Here’s a quick glimpse at them running some routes:

    Passing drills: While it was nice to have those fresh faces on the field, it wasn’t a great day overall, at least in the open portion, for the quarterbacks and wide receivers. The ball hit the ground entirely too many times for a group that was working on air during one of the early portions of practice.

    Both positions share some of the blame for that. Passes were a bit off the mark at times, but the receivers also got their hands on several that ended up hitting the ground. Offensive coordinator Larry Scott and quarterbacks coach Mike Canales were heard voicing their displeasure a few times as the group scheduled to regularly connect.

    By the fourth period – the final session the media was allowed to view – things were a little more crisp and the coaches seemed to be more pleased with the results. Seeing that many misses at this point in spring, however, is a little concerning and is definitely something to keep an eye on during the Orange and White Game on Saturday.

    RTI’s spring practice coverage is sponsored by the Nautical Boat Club of Knoxville!