The Vols took the practice field on Friday afternoon, and for the first time all fall, the media was able to see some game-like action. But more on that in a minute.
Tennessee was out in full pads on Friday, and we were able to see some individual work and a little red zone action as well. Here are our notes and observations from the Vols’ practice on Friday.
Update: Head coach Butch Jones said after practice that Jarrett Guarantano was not at Tennessee’s practice on Friday due to a death in his family. Our condolences are with Guarantano and his family.
- There seemed to be an extra bit of intensity at practice today from the coaches. Nothing out of the ordinary really, but the coaches were amped up and ready to go today. The players followed suit.
- All of the offensive linemen who had been held out the past week were back at practice today. Trey Smith, Brett Kendrick, and Marcus Tatum were all out on the field on Friday, as well as Josh Smith at receiver.
- Ty Chandler has a good burst. We still haven’t seen that in game-like situations, but just from what I’ve been able to gather from drills, he has the potential to be an explosive athlete for Tennessee.
We finally got to see some game-like action during fall camp today. Here’s what we saw:
The first three drives near the goal line were orchestrated by Quinten Dormady. The first offensive play resulted in a touchdown pass from Dormady to sophomore Brandon Johnson in the back of the end zone. Johnson made a solid grab for the score. The next two drives ended in victories for the defense as the defensive line got pressure off the end on the second play to force an incompletion, and the third drive ended with more pressure as Dormady moved out of the pocket and couldn’t find an open receiver, tossing it into the end zone but falling incomplete.
The next two drives were led by freshman quarterback Will McBride, and neither of those possessions ended in points for the offense. McBride’s first pass was on the money, but freshman safety Theo Jackson made an exceptional play to break up the pass and prevent a score. The next drive saw the defense get pressure and force a bad pass by McBride that was almost intercepted by a defensive lineman.
Tennessee’s defensive line certainly seems to be more than capable at this point in camp. It didn’t seem like the offensive line was overwhelmed like they were at times last season, but the defensive line, especially the ends, got good push and made some impressive moves to apply pressure to the quarterbacks. It’s hard to tell when the same team is going up against each other just exactly how effective one unit is compared to the other, but the Vols’ defensive line certainly looked good during the part we got to see.