It was shorts and shoulder pads today for Tennessee today on Haslam Field as the coaches seem to doing what they can to help this team recover on a short week. Here are the noteworthy items from today’s practice:
The quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends began practice by getting some work in the red zone. Coaches Mike Bajakian and Zach Azzanni were coaching the units on various scenarios that occur in the red zone, most notably what to do if the quarterback is forced out of the pocket and begins to scramble to one side. This work actually featured far more teaching from Azzanni and Bajakian than it did actual reps by the players.
After their red zone work the quarterbacks and receivers worked on various coverage-based routes, including some deep throws. Tennessee missed on all of their downfield shots against Utah State, but looked much more in sync this afternoon, with quarterbacks routinely hitting receivers in stride and driving the ball down the field. Josh Smith drew a little heat from Butch Jones after not securing the ball on a deep throw as the coach was visibly upset with his sophomore’s ball security.
Josh Dobbs looked better today than he has in some time – albeit in the limited work we were able to see. Dobbs made four very nice throws that drew compliments from both Bajakian and Azzanni for ball placement and velocity. Bajakian also complimented Dobbs’ for using his eyes to manipulate the safety before locking in to his receiver and firing the pass. There were no defenders in the drill, but Dobbs was clearly working on some of the finer details of the position.
Injury notes: Jason Croom was in a green, no-contact jersey today but did participate in all of the work that we were able to see. Freshman running back Derrell Scott began practice in the hole but went inside shortly afterwards – we assume to receive treatment.
Jones active on the mic: With Tennessee on a short week, the Vols didn’t do too much hitting or live action during the open portion of practice, but that didn’t stop Butch Jones from actively “encouraging” his players to keep their mental and physical focus sharp. A few defensive guys he got on via the microphone:
• Todd Kelly Jr.: Jones told him that Utah State took his soul on Sunday
• Michael Williams: Jones reminded him that he’s not in track right now when coaching him on how to cover punts
• Gavin Bryant: Jones asked him if he gave his all on a punt coverage rep and quickly answered for him that he did not
• Devaun Swafford: Jones told him the weight room was calling for him
Injury update: DT Trevarris Saulsberry and CB Rashaan Gaulden didn’t participate.
P Matt Darr was back at practice after being a no-show at least during the open period of yesterday. He didn’t have any sort of noticeable brace or wrap on his ankle and didn’t show any noticeable ill effects. K Aaron Medley wasn’t at practice during the open period. Butch Jones hasn’t provided any update on his status. Walk-on Trevor Daniel was taking some of the second-team reps at punter and George Bullock would, in all likelihood, fill in for Medley if he can’t go.