Some notes and observations from the open portions of practice on the offense as Tennessee practiced in the Neyland-Thompson Indoor Facility on Tuesday afternoon…
Injury update: Running back Jalen Hurd and receiver Josh Malone were both in green, non-contact jerseys. Running back Marlin Lane was not in pads and did not participate in any part of the open portion.
Receiver Josh Smith wasn’t in attendance. Receiver Von Pearson looked good – moving around well and making one very acrobatic catch after he tipped it to himself several times. Pearson did practice with a brace on his left ankle.
Circle of Life: Butch Jones started practice with the “Circle of Life” drill, where the team circles up and two players are called out to block each other one-on-one and try to knock the other one out of the circle.
It’s difficult to see everything that’s going on inside the circle from the outside, though Devaun Swafford appeared to have one really strong rep against D’Andre Payne – easily driving him out of the circle and getting swarmed by his teammates for congratulations after the play. Also of note was that offensive tackle Jacob Gilliam got a full-contact rep in the drill. He appeared to hold his own in there, another good sign that he could potentially be available very soon in some capacity for the Vols – potentially as early as this weekend.
Position change: Former defensive back Evan Berry was working with the running backs during individual drills. Berry was a versatile player in high school who was often used as a running quarterback at Creekside High School, so this isn’t completely foreign to him. It’s unclear at this point if it’s an experiment or somewhere he’ll stick long-term. He was still wearing an orange (defensive) uniform.
Simulating UTC: The scout team wore black uniforms to simulate the Mocs. Quarterback Mike Wegzyn worked as UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman.
Quarterback work: Justin Worley threw without the orange sleeve on after playing with that against the Gators on Saturday. He had a relatively good day throwing the ball and there some nice catches from Von Pearson, Marquez North and Johnathon Johnson. Nathan Peterman was still the second QB up in the drills. As has been the case for the past few weeks, Joshua Dobbs had another good practice and seemed to have a lot of energy.
Feisty Butch: Not surprisingly, Jones was fired up on the mic – going after everybody from players to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. He got upset at his coordinator for having the quarterbacks too close to a punt
Here’s the link to today’s Defensive Notes and Observations.