Some notes and observations about the defensive side of the ball from the open period of Friday’s practice…
Depth chart notes: The first 11 has remained somewhat constant, though there have been some guys sliding in and out to get some looks.
DE: Curt Maggitt, Corey Vereen
DT: Jordan Williams, Danny O’Brien
LB: A.J. Johnson, Jalen Reeves-Maybin
S: Brian Randolph, Devaun Swafford
The coaches continue to hold A.J. Johnson out of some drills in an effort to preserve him and to give some others chances. Dillon Bates and Kenny Bynum have both benefitted from that, getting looks in various sets with the first team. Derek Barnett continues to get looks with the second team at defensive end.
Line vs. line drills: The offensive line got a chance to go live in a drill against the defensive front in what was a spirited drill with a lot of yelling and hard coaching going on. The two sides split the first eight reps 4-4, setting up a deciding play. The defense won that play, but defensive tackle Dimarya Mixon was called for offsides, much to the dismay of Butch Jones. They did the rep again and the offense won it, thus winning the whole drill.
Skeleton drill: The offense and defense went live in a passing drill where a pair of defenders teamed up covering a wide receiver or tight end.
Some notable reps from the defensive perspective:
– Devaun Swafford got beaten badly on a double move by Von Pearson
– Adrian Gamble got by LaDarrell McNeil and Colton Jumper for a long reception
– Malik Foreman was bested by Ryan Jenkins on an out and in pattern
– Cam Sutton had extremely tight coverage on a curl route intended for Jason Croom. Sutton got his hand around the massive target and caused the incompletion.
– D’Andre Payne, who’s had some tough reps from our perspective the last few days, had really good coverage on Pig Howard to force the QB to throw it at his feet
– Todd Kelly Jr. had a solid rep against Alex Ellis
– Justin Coleman had perhaps the best rep of the drill, running stride for stride with Vic Wharton on a deep pass and forcing an incompletion
Injury notes: Cornerback Rashaan Gaulden and defensive end Jaylen Miller both worked in “The Hole” for injured players. Cortez McDowell also wasn’t participating in the open portion.
• The Arizona Cardinals had a scout at practice
• Butch Jones poked at the Berry twins some more over the microphone for all of the surrounding area to hear. He told Elliott that he was going to remove the “B” from his last name and call him “Erry.” He relayed the same playful threat to Evan a little bit later. “Soft” was Jones’ favorite word of the day. He used it liberally over the microphone describing multiple players and units.
Editor’s note: Any depth chart notes should be considered unofficial and often change from practice to practice. Per UT policy, we do not report specifics on any formations or schemes.