The Vols were again forced to practice inside due to weather today as they put the final touches on their game plan for Ole Miss. It was mostly special teams work during the three periods we were able to see this afternoon, so not a ton to report from the offensive side of the ball, but here are some notes worth mentioning:
Butch Jones was clearly trying to keep his team focused today after a last-minute rain storm forced his team to move practice indoors. He was on the microphone early and often telling various players to focus and prepare for practice.
A move indoors means a much more cramped practice as far as space is concerned and various switches to the practice schedule, so communication becomes important as various position groups share space with each other. Jones always preaches the importance of his team reacting well to ‘sudden change’ and today’s sudden move to the indoor practice field certainly qualified.
During punt fielding drills, Josh Malone muffed a line drive from Matt Darr which drew some criticism from the head coach. “Come on Malone, come one Malone.” Jones said. “They got Laquon Treadwell. We got you!”
Jones is usually good for one of these each week – especially when the opposing team has a specific player that is playing very well – and this week it was Josh Malone’s turn to catch the brunt of Butch’s player-comparison-motivation tactic.
While the kickoff units went through a couple full-speed reps on the field the rest of the offense worked on the side on fundamental techniques. The quarterbacks took snaps under center with various offensive linemen, the receivers worked on hand placement to defeat press coverage and the running backs worked on pass protection with Robert Gillespie. Evan Berry worked with special teams (more on that in today’s defensive report) throughout our allotted time at practice today, so it isn’t known whether or not he spent any time working with the running backs this week after getting some time with that group heading into last week’s UTC game.
Injury update: Jalen Hurd, Josh Malone and Marquez North were all wearing green non-contact jerseys during practice today, but that seems like more of a precautionary measure at this point. I, personally, did not see Marlin Lane on the practice field today. It is entirely possible that I just missed him during our brief time at practice, but I wanted to make note of that.