Some notes and observations from the practice field as the Vols worked in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets on Wednesday. Only two periods of the practice were open to the media, but here are some notes from today:
There isn’t much to report from the offensive practice field today given the limitations put on the amount of practice we were able to view. The team spent the only two open periods working with their special teams units.
Special teams: The team did go through a couple full speed kickoff rep with the first team return unit going against the second team kick squad. The first rep drew an illegal block in the back on the return team and Butch Jones made sure to let them know about it as they walked back to redo the rep, calling the first team’s effort “unacceptable” and “lackluster.” The second return went much better than the first as Devrin Young was able to hit a crease and reach the 40-yard line or so before contact.
Notes: Evan Berry was not in a white (offensive) jersey today after working some with the offense yesterday at running back. The fact that Berry remained in the orange jersey should make it clear that his move to running back is still strictly in the experimental stages. Also, as Daniel mentioned yesterday, Von Pearson looks to be moving very well on the ankle that he injured against Arkansas State. I would still be surprised if they pushed him too hard this weekend given the opponent, but he should be full-go by the time the Vols travel to Oxford next week to face Ole Miss.
Injury notes: Freshmen Josh Malone and Jalen Hurd were again seen in green jerseys but didn’t appear to be limited during their time at practice. Also, Justin Worley has ditched the arm sleeve that he wore for most of last week on his injured elbow.
Injury update: Defensive linemen Owen Williams (thumb) and Joe Henderson were both held out. Cornerback Michael Williams continued to wear a green, non-contact jersey, though Butch Jones has regularly said he should be fine this weekend for UTC.
UTC Prep: The scout team continued to wear black jerseys as the Vols prepare for the Mocs. Two of the biggest threats UTC has are defensive linemen Davis Tull and Danny Ring. Sophomore Jaylen Miller is wearing a No. 90 this week for Tennessee in practice to simulate Tull and freshman Michael Sawyers is wearing No. 66 to simulate Ring.
Drills: The defensive line worked on its pass rushing moves and lateral quickness by running around weighted dummies and getting to the quarterback. The defensive backs worked on snagging tough, over-the-shoulder interceptions and balls thrown low to the ground as well.