Practice Report: 9-8-15

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    LaDarrell McNeil-1-2

    Slingin’ It: Quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Quinten Dormady both looked extremely accurate in the limited time media was permitted to see practice. Granted, they were only throwing at the nets, they still threw very well hitting their targets consistently.

    McNeil Sighting: Senior safety LaDarrell McNeil was seen at practice today in a green, non-contact jersey. It has been reported that McNeil’s initial diagnosis of potentially missing the entire season could be a little more optimistic than originally expected. After the practice Defensive Coordinator John Jancek said “It was really good having LaDarrell back out there. He’s certainly a guy who knows our defense and we miss that back there. There’s no replacement for experience and LaDarrell has a lot of experience.”

    Jancek also noted that McNeil’s official injury status would be addressed by Coach Jones on Wednesday.

    Coach Martinez Back: After serving a one-game suspension for committing a secondary recruiting violation, defensive back coach Willie Martinez was seen back at practice Tuesday. Martinez allegedly made impermissible contact with a prospect during a visit to his high school in 2014. After missing the Bowling Green game, Martinez is expected to return for this week’s home opener against Oklahoma. The Vols gave up over 400 yards through the air to Bowling Green, so the return of Martinez will help the secondary improve against the high-powered offense of the Sooners on Saturday, the Vols hope.

    Martinez coached DBs at Oklahoma himself from 2010-12.

    Return Game: The Vols had one of their best punt/kick return games in recent years on Saturday against Bowling Green. The majority of Tennessee’s drives started with great field position thanks to Cam Sutton and Evan Berry (and their blockers). In the limited time practice was available to the media, Cam Sutton was seen fielding punts against the scout team and appeared to look just as smooth as he did Saturday.

    Maggitt Ready for Oklahoma: In what seemed like a stare-down contest between the media and senior linebacker/defensive lineman Curt Maggitt, it was evident that the Oklahoma game couldn’t come soon enough for Tennessee’s defense. There have been several comments made by Oklahoma players and coaches being less than intimidated by coming to Neyland Stadium. When Maggitt was asked if the comments gave him a chip on his shoulder he smiled and simply said, “Yeah.”

    Safe to say Maggitt and the Vols will be ready when the Sooners come to town Saturday.