Some notes and observations from the open portion of practice on Haslam Field as the Vols continue preparation for Arkansas on Saturday.
Green team: Running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara were both in green, non-contact jerseys as the Vols went through drills on Tuesday. There’s no known injury concern with either, it’s probably more of a precautionary measure since those are two of the most valuable members of the offense and both have taken plenty of hits the past few weeks.
Cornerback Cam Sutton also worked in a non-contact jersey after missing the end of the game at Florida.
“Cam Sutton we anticipate him being ready to go,” Butch Jones said of Sutton’s injury status on Monday. “I think a lot people, it’s easy to guess and be right. I want to set the tone right now, he does not have a broken jaw – that is absolutely false.”
Wide receiver work: There are a lot of eyes on the wide receivers this week after the starting WRs recorded zero catches against Florida and the entire group recorded just two catches for seven yards against the Gators. It’s tough to make too many conclusions from watching them run routes on air, but it wasn’t a real crisp period of throwing and receiving that we saw on Tuesday, with several low-thrown balls and some drops from the receivers as well.
Josh Smith, Jauan Jennings, Marquez North, Johnathon Johnson (who Butch said didn’t play at Florida because he was only available in case of emergency with a hamstring injury), Cody Blanc, Preston Williams and Josh Malone were the scholarship receivers getting work on Tuesday. Only six receivers played at Florida – North (who left the game early and didn’t come back), Preston Williams, Jauan Jennings, Josh Malone, Von Pearson and Josh Smith, so the Vols, who like to play as many as eight or nine receivers, are looking for some more depth there.
Circle of Life: Just as he did following the Florida loss, Jones started practice with the Circle of Life Drill, setting the tone early with a physical drill that puts two players against each other and sees which one can drive the other out of the circle formed by teammates. It’s always hard to tell who wins because the teammates are circled up around each other, but these were some of the matchups we saw.
- Drew Richmond vs. Darrell Taylor (three times)
- Chance Hall vs. Jack Jones
- Darrell Miller vs. Preston Williams
- Darrell Taylor vs. Dontatvius Blair
- Gavin Bryant vs. Cortez McDowell
- Neiko Creamer vs. Austin Smith
• Running back/return man Ralph David Abernathy IV was back on the practice field
• Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike DeBord was working with the offensive line
• Butch Jones spent most of his time working closely with the receivers