Sunday’s practice on Haslam Field began with Rocky Top blaring over the loudspeaker as the team lined up for their warmup and stretching portion at approximately 3:45. The team received another reprieve from the elements as it was yet another mild afternoon on the field.
Here’s were the key takeaways from practice #3:
Slow Start: Butch Jones was none too pleased with how his players – and coaches – began practice on Sunday. Jones was immediately heard yelling at his coaches and various players for their lack of energy and focus as the players went through their jogging lines. The team managed to make it through this portion without much else from the head coach, but things escalated quickly when the team hit the stretching lines.
Butch Jones made the team restart their stretch session at least six times before they completed it. Each time he did so with an explanation the reason for the restart – clearly attempting to drive home to his team the importance of their preparation. Lack of clapping, helmet straps left unbuckled, and lack of energy were all reasons given by the coach as to why the call to restart was given.
After the fourth restart, Butch Jones called for his Player Staff to leave the stretch and run across Haslam Field with strength and conditioning coach Dave Lawson for punishment workouts in ‘The Hole.’ This was the first chance anyone has had to see exactly which players were on the Player Staff, and they were as follows:
The thirteen members were allowed to rejoin the team once stretching concluded and many of them were visibly upset at themselves and their teammates for the lack of discipline to start practice.
First Team Offense: When the offense took the field for their walk through at the beginning of practice, these were the players who came out to take the first reps with the offense:
QB: Justin Worley
RB: Marlin Lane
TE: Daniel Helm/Ethan Wolf (Both split reps with the 1st team)
WR: Von Pearson, Josh Malone, Marquez North
OL: Jacob Gilliam, Marcus Jackson, Mack Crowder, Kyler Kerbyson, Coleman Thomas
This is obviously a fluid group that will certainly change throughout the summer, but I did think it was worth noting that Ethan Wolf and Daniel Helm split the reps. It looks like those two are set to have important roles for this team.
Back to Reality for Pearson: After being praised by his head and his first ever meeting with the media following Saturday’s practice, Von Pearson didn’t seem to have the same energy level on the practice field on Sunday and his head coach let him know about it.
“I don’t feel you today, Von. You had fifteen articles written about you yesterday and you come out today and take the day off,” Jones said. “Von Pearson takes the day off!”
Pearson was a little more talkative and energetic following the exchange.
Also, a quick aside on the receivers: North, Malone and Pearson already look like they may be among the more talented trios of wideouts in Tennessee history. They are all big, fast, strong and possess the ability to make that ‘wow’ play at any given time. It will be really exciting to watch these guys mature over the season, especially knowing that all three will likely be here for the 2015 season.
Quarterbacks Have Rough Day: It was not a great day for the quarterbacks during the open portion of practice. Each of them had some moments, but for the most part it was a lackluster day throwing the football. I will note that the wind was blowing fairly hard across the field, but the quarterbacks did not have good command of the football today. The receivers were clearly frustrated at the lack of catchable balls in drills but were able to work on catches with a high degree of difficulty thanks to the inaccurate throws…if you are looking for a positive spin.
Here’s the link to the Defensive Notes and Observations.