Some notes and observations from the offensive side of the ball at the open portion of Saturday morning’s practice:
The Vols were in pads for the first time on Saturday morning at practice No. 3. It was a significantly colder morning Saturday with some breeze, making kicking and passing a bit more challenging.
Quarterback thoughts: As usual, I spent a majority of the time watching the quarterbacks, trying to get a better feel for how those guys are throwing, and to see if the pads and the elements changed any initial opinions I formed from the opening practice.
In short, not much changed. When Joshua Dobbs and Quinten Dormady step up to take throws (and they’re generally the first two to do so in a drill), they just have the look of a No. 1 and No. 2 quarterback. Dormady is confident in his steps, release and overall motion, and he gets the ball out quickly and generally accurately. That’s not to say there aren’t freshman mistakes. At least once on Saturday he missed a receiver badly – possibly because of throwing to the wrong spot or perhaps bad accuracy – but the coaches made him do it again, and he fired it in there the second time.
I like Jennings a lot too. He’s just not quite the consistent passer that Dormady is to this point. He throws some very accurate passes, but throws a few that just make you scratch your head as well. He certainly has the frame, the athleticism and a lot of the raw talent a QB needs, but as we’ve said, he simply has further to go at this point.
Injury absence/update: Offensive lineman Coleman Thomas remains absent from practice after being arrested and indefinitely suspended earlier this week.
Receiver Marquez North and running back Jalen Hurd remain in green, non-contact jerseys. I spoke to Zach Azzanni about North’s health on Thursday and he said he’s unsure if he’ll get back to contact work this spring. He said he’d like to get full clearance for him, but not at the expense of risking his availability for the fall.
• It was a much more festive afternoon on the practice field with Junior Day going on. The team had DJ Sterl the Pearl on the field and a lot of activity on the sideline.
• The Vols were repping Mack Crowder, Dylan Wiesman, Jashon Robertson and Ray Raulerson at center during quarterback/center exchange drills.
• Patrick Ashford, Jauan Jennings, Quinten Dormady, Josh Smith and Johnathon Johnson were all working with special teams coordinator Mark Elder as potential holders for PAT/FG attempts.