Vol Quarterbacks and Receivers Shining

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    Jennings-1

    The Vols are five practices deep into fall camp, but not enough is being said about the improvement of the Tennessee quarterbacks and receivers since this point last season. Tennessee’s passing game struggled mightily last August, even when defenders were on a separate field. It wasn’t uncommon during the early practices of camp last August to see 40 to 50 “balls on the ground” during routes vs. air. That was the norm.

    It’s not anymore.

    Vol fans have Joshua Dobbs, Quinten Dormady, Sheriron Jones and Zac Jancek – the four quarterbacks who throw in practice – and a seemingly resurgent (and increasingly healthy) Vol receiving corps to thank for the transformation of the passing game.

    Don’t take my word for it, let’s look at the tape.

    Saturday’s practice saw a couple of off target throws and this is one of them – but it was still close enough for a completion. This miss would have been on the ground at this time last year.

    Newcomer Vol quarterback Sheriron Jones was supposed to put the ball on the ear hole of Howard’s helmet, but he led Howard a bit too much. Howard still makes a nice play to haul in the reception. He led the Vols in receptions or receiving yards the last two seasons and has been excellent so far during fall camp. Expect another big year from him.

    Sheriron Jones has typically been accurate and when he misses, his misses are close enough for receivers to make a play. He also throws an exceedingly tight spiral. He’s third on the depth chart right now, and justifiably so – Dobbs and Dormady have been better. But he’s arguably throwing the ball better than any Vol quarterback during last year’s camp.

    Headed into his first year as the sure starter for the Vols, Joshua Dobbs is throwing the ball more accurately, with more velocity and with a tighter spiral, than ever.

    With just a flick of the wrist, Dobbs pushes this ball to the sideline and Josh Malone – who looks ready to play a larger role this season – catches it with his hands and turns upfield. This may seem simple, but this throw and this catch didn’t happen with regularity last season.

    Here’s another on target throw from Dobbs, this time to Jennings.

    Jennings has handled the transition from quarterback to receiver as well as anyone could have imagined. He’s still working on the minutia of the position and has drops from time to time, but he has plus hands and athleticism and is catching on quickly.

    No. 2 quarterback Quinten Dormady has done nothing to lose his hold on that spot and has shown the kind of accuracy we grew to expect during spring ball. Though he’s out of the frame here, he effectively pushes the ball down the field to North while on the run. Speaking of North, he’s finally a full go and looks a step quicker than last season.

    Vol newcomer Vincent Perry has demonstrated soft hands at times during camp. He appears to have a bright future at the slot position.

    Even more encouraging news is that Josh Smith is healthy and has added bulk to his frame. A full season from him would be a massive boost to the playmaking ability of this receiving corps.

    Of course, you’ve probably seen this catch by Von Pearson in just his second rep of fall camp.

    But you may not have seen his first rep, which also illustrates the kind of hands which resulted in him having one of the lowest drop rates in the SEC last season.

    It’s certainly still early, but things are looking up for the Vol passing game. And that’s bad news for the rest of the SEC.

    Catch up on full highlight videos from fall camp right here. Practice one. Practice two. Practice three. Practice four. Practice five.