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Passing Game Shows Promise in Spring Game

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI
Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

Despite the very limited numbers at wide receiver for this year’s installment of the Orange & White Game, Tennessee’s passing game made some quality plays and looked improved overall in both the scrimmage and one-on-one drills.

Both Josh Dobbs and Quinten Dormady made some impressive throws throughout the scrimmage, and Dobbs especially looked improved in his touch passes.

And this despite a less than ideal start for Dobbs and the passing game.

On the first offensive drive of the game, Dobbs threw a pass to Jason Croom that hit him right in the chest. But Croom couldn’t come down with it, and instead it flew in the air and Todd Kelly Jr. picked it off.

But things trended upward from there.

Dobbs completed a pass to a wide open Ethan Wolf down the middle for the longest play of the spring game, totaling 57 yards on the gain. Dobbs also hit Preston Williams and Jeff George a couple times. Dobbs finished 5-of-9 for 116 yards and an interception.

Quinten Dormady wasn’t quiet either, as he had the only passing touchdown of the game, a five-yard pass to Jeff George. Dormady finished 10-of-15 for 95 yards and also showed off his wheels on a 17-yard scramble early in the game.

Speaking of Jeff George, he had himself quite a show.

George’s touchdown grab was a pretty jumpball snag over Darrell Miller. And in the one-on-one drills, George made a leaping grab over Marquill Osborne for the “score” in that drill. At roughly 6-foot-6, George has the height and athleticism to be a red zone target. And it looks like the Vols are trying to make him just that.

Preston Williams also had a few impressive grabs, most notable one near the sideline that he kept inbounds. George finished with four catches for 28 yards and a score while Williams totaled three catches for 77 yards.

But Butch Jones, in his typical fashion, preached caution towards the results of the Orange and White Game.

“I thought we threw the ball fairly well today,” Jones said. “We’ve had too many drops. I don’t look at completion percentage, that’s a lying stat. I don’t look at that, I look at pass efficiency – are we doing the right things, are the quarterbacks making good decisions with the football?

“I thought the quarterbacks were able to do that.”

All in all, the passing game finished with 216 yards on 16-of-26 passing with a touchdown and an interception. And considering George, Williams, and Cody Blanc were the only scholarship receivers to take part in the event, those numbers are fairly impressive regardless of Jones’s misgivings.

The Orange & White Game, as do all spring games, can be manipulated to highlight any aspect of a team to make it look better than it actually is. But even with that, Tennessee’s passing game showed plenty of promise on Saturday.

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