Some notes and observations from the open periods of practice on Thursday:
Rain sets in: The open portion of practice was cut short as rain set in on Haslam Field Thursday afternoon, but we caught a few notes from the stretching time and one period of practice…
Injury/absence update: Wide receiver Marquez North and running back Jalen Hurd remains in green, non-contact jerseys. Lineman Coleman Thomas (indefinite suspension) and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (mononucleosis) remain absent from practice.
Hoke back in attendance: Former Michigan, San Diego State and Ball State head coach Brady Hoke was in attendance for the second straight practice after attending on Tuesday as well. Hoke has several connections to Tennessee’s current staff and administration, including working on the same staff with Mike DeBord at Michigan in the late 1990s.
Mosley/Tuttle get extra work: Two of Tennessee’s biggest defensive linemen got some extra work during the special teams period of practice that was open to the media. Shy Tuttle and Charles Mosley – all 700ish pounds of them – worked with Steve Stripling for an extra period since neither of them were on an assigned special team unit.
DeBord thoughts: We’ve had people ask what Mike DeBord’s style as a coach on the field is. It’s a fair question, and we’ve seen a couple sides of him. He doesn’t come across as a really fiery guy at first glance, but we did see him rip into the centers and quarterbacks pretty good during a snapping drill at one point on Thursday. Fair to say that he’s hands on and passionate, but not over-the-top Sal Sunseri style or anything along those lines.
Gaulden standing out: Both defensive coordinator John Jancek and defensive backs coach Willie Martinez both had positive things to say about Rashaan Gaulden, who seems to be emerging as the leader in the nickel spot. Martinez said Gaulden roomed with Justin Coleman last year to study the position.
DeBord talks quarterbacks:
On Dormady: “He’s got a really strong arm. And he’s doing a good job with his feet right now, getting in position to make all the different types of throws. They’re throwing a lot of coverages at him and a lot of times in college you maybe only see two coverages, but they’re playing a lot of coverages. So that’s where he’s learning about every play against all coverages all the time. He’s done a good job on that.
on Jennings: “Very athletic, which everybody knew. I really like, right now, his mentality. We’re really letting (GA) Nick Sheridan take him and start from Ground Zero and really build his knowledge and his mechanics and all that. Jauan just continues to get better as he goes through his practice.”
Standing out to Jancek: Jancek was asked which players on the defensive side are standing out, and these were the names he produced:
Chris Weatherd (working at DE)