Some notes and observations from the offensive side of the ball from the open portion of Tennessee’s practice on Tuesday afternoon at Haslam Field:
Depth chart: As Butch Jones said after the Oklahoma game, there was no change in the starting offensive line during individual drills with the lineup of (L to R) Kyler Kerbyson, Marcus Jackson, Mack Crowder, Jashon Robertson and Coleman Thomas staying in tact. Dontavius Blair was lined up as the backup right tackle with Brett Kendrick working as the second-team left tackle. The full second team line (from L to R) was Kendrick, Austin Sanders, Dylan Wiesman, Marques Pair and Blair.
Injury update (Walking boot U): There are plenty of injury updates on the offensive side of the ball. WR Von Pearson (ankle) made a quick appearance at practice and he was in a boot and on crutches and not able to put much weight on his ankle. The same is true for WR Josh Smith (ankle), who was injured at Oklahoma and was in a boot and on crutches as a spectator at practice. TEs Joe Stocstill and Daniel Helm briefly worked in “The Hole” for injured players before hobbling into the indoor facility. Both were also wearing walking boots.
A couple pieces of better injury news: RB Derrell Scott returned to practice and was going through individual drills with no noticeable difficulty. Jones said last week that he was on track to play at Georgia and we see no reason he can’t do that at this point. TE Ethan Wolf (knee) was back on the practice field with a brace on, but he was working on the first-team kickoff return unit – a good sign the Vols are expecting him to play in Athens next week.
Simulating the ‘Dawgs: Even though it’s a bye week, the Vols are already thinking about Georgia. The practice squad donned red practice jerseys and here are some of the players who are simulating Georgia’s important players on offense:
• RB Deanthonie Summerhill was wearing No. 3 to simulate Todd Gurley
• QB Mike Wegzyn was wearing No. 14 to simulate Hutson Mason
• RB Jayson Sparks was wearing No. 4 to simulate Keith Marshall
• RB Treyvon Paulk was wearing No. 27 to simulate Nick Chubb (who will be questionable against Tennessee after undergoing surgery on his thumb this week)
Kickoff return work: Devrin Young remained the first-team kickoff returner after a less-than-stellar game at Oklahoma on Saturday. Evan Berry remains the backup. It’s hard to get a great gauge for what Berry can do in that situation since they don’t run live coverage in the open portion of practice, but he seems to have some extra burst that Young just doesn’t have at this point. That could be an interesting battle going forward with perhaps others getting in the mix as well if Young doesn’t improve in game situations.
• AD Dave Hart watched practice from the top floor of the indoor facility
• With the shrinking depth at WR, coaches were really getting on Ryan Jenkins, who is one player who may have to step up and help. He ran a route incorrectly, got called back and then dropped the next one, much to the dismay of the offensive coaches
• Jenkins, Marquez North, Josh Malone, Johnathon Johnson, Vic Wharton, Pig Howard and Jason Croom are the seven scholarship receivers remaining who aren’t working with the scout team at this point
Be sure to check out our defensive notes and practice video.