Some notes and observations from a a brief open portion of practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Butch Jones opened Team 120’s practice by blasting “Sweet Home Alabama” over the PA system, obviously heading into their biggest test of the year against Nick Saban’s top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Back to the Backfield
The big questions going into Week 7 of the Vols’ season surround their injuries. Tuesday’s practice saw Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara wearing green, non-contact jerseys. Hurd seemed to be moving fluidly with little to no limitation. It will be interesting to see how the offense handles its rotation after Kamara’s monster performance in College Station and the emergence of John Kelly.
Next Man Up
Linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., who has been out since the Virginia Tech gaem, also seemed to be moving around practice a little bit, and he still looks to be day-to-day as Butch Jones as labeled him for the past couple weeks. With Colton Jumper proving to be a staple for the linebacker corps, and Cortez McDowell going out with an injury in the A&M, it will be interesting to see how that rotation is handled as well.
Venzell Boulware is a name you’ll need to know on the offensive line as the season progresses. After redshirting last season, Boulware stepped in for an injured Jashon Robertson. Boulware held his own in the game Saturday, and seemed to carry that momentum into practice as well. Drew Richmond, still trying to work his way back into the starting rotation, also seemed to have a good day.
With Danny O’Brien’s dismissal from the team, coach Steve Stripling is looking for the next man up on the defensive line. That rotation will likely see more of Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle, each having an excellent game against Texas A&M this past week. Alexis Johnson also looks to throw his name in the ring as well.