After yesterday’s media session after practice in which his team was accused of appearing sluggish, Butch Jones challenged his team to bring a little more energy to Haslam Field this afternoon.
Media members were only given three periods of practice to watch today and the team mostly focused on special teams, but here are some noteworthy items from the offensive side of the ball.
Starter at quarterback?: Butch Jones mentioned yesterday that they hoped to have Justin Worley at quarterback for this Saturday, but there was some buzz yesterday after practice that had some wondering if the senior quarterback would be healthy enough to play. Media members did not see Worley throw a pass yesterday or today, but he was seen taking snaps from Mack Crowder at the start of practice. This is important because if they did not think that Worley would be available to start/play this weekend, then they would have had the projected starter taking snaps with Crowder to prepare. This would seem to indicate that the staff feels Justin Worley is healthy enough to take the first snaps on Saturday night.
Offensive line preview: Left guard Marcus Jackson – who was injured during the second half of last week’s game against Ole Miss – returned to practice today after being absent during yesterday’s open portion. Jackson seemed to be moving fine and did not appear to have any significant braces or wraps on either of his legs.
While we didn’t get to see much from the offense today, we were able to get a look at what Tennessee’s possible starting offensive line against Alabama would look like. During a drill to start practice, Kyler Kerbyson at left tackle with Marcus Jackson lined up at left guard. Mack Crowder was at center, Jason Robertson was at right guard and Jacob Gilliam at right tackle. Obviously, this is far from a lock, but it would appear that this is the way Tennessee will go this weekend barring any unforeseen changes.
Injury notes: Right tackle Coleman Thomas was again absent from practice. At this point I think it would be a stretch to expect much out of the freshman this weekend. Tight end Alex Ellis was a limited participant in today’s practice and had one his ankles very heavily taped. Running back Marlin Lane, who has been nursing an ankle injury since the season began, was not seen on the practice field today during the open periods.