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UT Practice Notes and Observations: 8-15-16

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Some notes and observations from practice as the Vols took the field Monday evening in Neyland Stadium.

It’s not that easy being green: Not much has changed on the green jersey front. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Jauan Jennings, and Austin Smith were all in green, non-contact jerseys for Monday’s practice.

Goal line work: The quarterbacks worked with receivers, running backs, and tight ends on goal-line routes. For the most part everything looked crisp with very few balls being dropped or thrown off-target. Both Josh Smith and Preston Williams continue to stand out as reliable pass catchers, although it’s probably worth nothing that the drill was done without any defenders.

Return game: Punt and kick return drills are often one of the first drills performed in the open portion of practice. That means the media gets to see it before we are kindly given the boot. But for what it’s worth, Alvin Kamara and Cam Sutton make fielding punts look good. Obviously Sutton is a threat as the nation’s 2015 leader in punt return yards. But Kamara is fully capable of getting the job done as well. He and Sutton both continued to show incredibly smooth punt-fielding transition skills and should be a weapon again this season.

Goin’ streaking!: Along with running goal line drills, the Vols worked on streak routes with the receivers, tight ends, and running backs. Coach Jones has said the Vols need to make more big splash plays, and practicing “Go” routes is definitely one way to improve on that. For what it’s worth, I only saw one pass that wasn’t caught. But again, this drill was performed without defenders.

The search continues: Butch Jones and his staff are still looking for “the best five” linemen, which has been the case in Butch’s previous years at Tennessee. The difference this year is the amount of talent Tennessee has to work with, and the quicker development of each player due to elite schemes and packages thrown their way from defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. That being said, the entire offensive line unit really impressed during some two-on-one drills today in practice. Chance Hall and Brett Kendrick both continue to shine and are definitely making strong cases for one of those starting tackle spots.

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