To say that the media’s access to Monday night’s practice on Haslam Field was limited would be an understatement. We were given approximately 10-15 minutes of allotted time to view practice and six to seven of those minutes were as the players stretched and warmed up. Methinks that last week’s questionable reports on various injuries – after Butch Jones explicitly spoke about that very topic mere days beforehand – may have forced the staff to put the clamps down on the media for the time being. So, prepare yourselves for less news, coverage and video than normal this week.
That said, there are still a few notes that are worthy of mentioning…unfortunately, however, most of them concern players who were absent or limited during practice.
Running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara were both in street clothes at tonight’s session, which, if you’ve been keeping an eye on the SEC lately, should be seen as a good thing. It appears that this staff knows what they are going to get out of both Hurd and Kamara (who were each in extremely high spirits as they encouraged their teammates from the sidelines), and appear comfortable in limiting their reps until the season starts. This also bodes well for running back depth, as Ralph David Abernathy IV, Joe Young and John Kelly will all see additional reps and instruction between now and the start of the season.
Offensive lineman Jashon Robertson was again absent from practice, as were newcomer defensive backs Justin Martin and Stephen Griffin. Robertson and Griffin are each dealing with ankle injuries, while Martin remains sidelined due to a minor knee “tweak” suffered last week. Cam Sutton was absent from the field on Monday, as well. We will try to dig around on Sutton to see why he was out. Defensive back Evan Berry and linebacker Dillon Bates each participated in tonight’s practice, but were in the green, non-contact jerseys as they return from some “bumps and bruises.”
Freshman offensive lineman Jack Jones appeared to be back to 100% today after being held out of Saturday’s open practice with an ankle injury, and freshman defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie – who appeared to suffer a minor injury during the open practice – was not seen on Haslam Field during the open portions (10-15 minutes) of tonight’s practice.
As far as the actual on-field practice, they team did five minutes of special teams work, punting, fielding, field goals…etc. and another five minutes of cut-block work on both sides of the ball before the media’s time was up.