Some notes and observations from the offensive side of the ball as the Vols held bowl practice No. 5 on early Tuesday afternoon:
Quinten Dormady in attendance: Quarterback signee Quinten Dormady was on the practice field as an observer on Monday afternoon, but wasn’t in pads. He appeared to be taking mental reps and getting a feel for how practice is run. Dormady is listed as an enrolled student in UT’s online database. It’s unclear at this point if he’ll be able to dress out and get any practice reps in during these bowl practices.
Injury/absence notes: Every remaining scholarship running back on the roster – Jalen Hurd, Devrin Young and Marlin Lane – all continue to practice in non-contact jerseys. There’s a good chance that it will remain that way all the way up to the Iowa game with all three of them dealing with some kind of recent injury and the overall lack of depth at that spot. Receiver Jason Croom and running back Justus Pickett weren’t present during the open portion of practice (Zach Azzanni confirmed after practice that Croom is out for the bowl game with a patella injury). Receiver Johnathon Johnson still has a cast on his hand/wrist area, but he is going through drills and able to make catches. It’s become pretty routine to report now, but it’s amazing watching Jacob Gilliam continue to work despite the ACL damage. He’s now at a point where he’s wearing no additional brace other than the standard ones that most of the offensive linemen wear everyday.
Wide receiver notes: What was an incredibly deep unit at the beginning of the year looks thinner and thinner. There were only seven guys in white jerseys, meaning they weren’t working primarily on the scout team – Josh Malone, Von Pearson, Pig Howard, Vic Wharton, Jacob Carter, Ryan Jenkins and Johnathon Johnson.
Precision in route running was the emphasis during the drills open to the media. Josh Malone appears to have a good day, as well as Von Pearson and Jacob Carter, both of whom are showing some leadership to this relatively young and banged up unit. Carter, who is as sure-handed as anybody on the team, very well could get some reps at WR in his final college football game with some of the depth concerns at this spot. The receivers went through a jump-ball drill as well where they’d have to jump up between three people who would hit them with a blocking pad in the stomach area as they tried to make the catch.
• At least in the drills we observed in the open period, Evan Berry was not working with the running backs as was over the weekend. His future position home is definitely a work in progress still and expect there to be some moving back and forth before his final home is determined.
• Joshua Dobbs had an up-and-down day throwing on a chilly afternoon. He was throwing with a glove on his non-throwing hand and appeared to take a little while to get loose and warmed up. We’ll see if cold weather will even be a factor in Jacksonville on Jan. 2.