It was shorts and shoulder pads for Team 118 during Tuesday’s afternoon practice as preparations for Kentucky continued on Haslam Field. The media were given three periods of practice to view this afternoon – mostly special teams – but here are some noteworthy items from the open portion of today’s practice:
During special teams work there were a few defensive backs who do not play on a special teams unit that got in some added work on the side. Butch Jones doesn’t allow any standing or walking on the practice field, so Justin Coleman, Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil worked on their press coverage releases and hand placement when matched up against receivers in a one-on-one setting. This was a low-key drill, done at half-speed, but goes to show that there really isn’t any down time for players during practice.
The defensive line did their usual list of drills that focused on exploding at the snap and fighting through hand blocks as Steve Stripling watched over them and offered advice at various times. Curt Maggitt was first in line for all of the drills and was heard encouraging his teammates throughout the session. True freshman defensive end Dewayne Hendrix was wearing a green jersey today after not wearing one last week. There was no word on what Hendrix’s injury was, but he didn’t appear to be wearing any braces or wraps on either of his arms or legs. Hendrix was one of the players that John Jancek singled out last week as a guy that the bye week would benefit as far as his development and playing time over the remainder of the season were concerned.
The linebackers worked solely on form tackling during the open part of practice, while the secondary players split reps working on various zone and man coverage concepts with Willie Martinez, John Jancek and various graduate assistants. The cornerbacks worked with Martinez on jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage in some man-to-man drills with the scout team, while the safeties worked on release angles to the sideline and play recognition in zone coverage drills with the GA’s.
Injury report: Butch Jones ruled Travarris Saulsberry out of this weekend’s game against Kentucky and the defensive tackle did not participate in today’s practice. As reported earlier, Dewayne Hendrix was in a green, non-contact jersey but did participate in all of the practice periods that we were able to see.