Some notes and observations from the open portion of practice on Thursday.
Defensive drills: The focus on the defensive side of the ball on the practice field was creating turnovers. There were drills where the players were working on scooping up loose balls and other where players would deflect the ball up in the air and teammates would work on catching the batted balls, which were coming at them at crazy angles.
Scout team players: With the Vols shifting into more game prep mode, the black scout team jerseys are out to start preparing for Bowling Green. The media has been banned from reporting which players are working on the scout team, so we won’t be able to keep up with that for you this year.
QBs/WRs/RBs: It was a mixed bag for Von Pearson on Thursday, who appeared to make one of his best catches of camp, but also had one drop that forced him to re-do a rep. All-in-all, it’s been a really good camp for him, especially considering the extended amount of time that he missed over the summer during his indefinite suspension. Conditioning hasn’t been much of a factor that I’ve seen, and he didn’t seem to lose a lot of his knowledge of the offense over the offseason. Joshua Dobbs and Quinten Dormady had good days throwing the ball as Tennessee worked on some red-zone type throws and some other various routes.
The running backs worked on running through “the gauntlet” and various blocking drills.
Kelly No. 3?: There have been a lot of questions about who will be the number three running back behind Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. This isn’t an observation based on seeing him in any personnel group or anything like that, but based on what I’ve seen in some individual drills, I think the three-star freshman running back has a good chance to be the third option. I like his size/athleticism combination, and while Ralph David Abernathy IV and Joseph Young have done some good things, I think I’d pencil Kelly in at No. 3 right now.
Injury update from Butch Jones: G Jashon Robertson, RB Jalen Hurd, RB John Kelly, OL Brett Kendrick, OL Jack Jones and LB Dillon Bates all returned to practice, according to Butch Jones after practice. Jones also confirmed that offensive lineman Austin Sanders will miss the rest of the season.