The weather actually felt like spring on Tuesday as the Vols took the practice field for the 10th time under head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Tennessee was practicing for the first time after their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, and there were a few interesting tidbits to take away from Tuesday’s practice session.
Here’s everything we saw from the Vols during spring practice on Tuesday.
- There were several position changes to note today, but the big one was Tyler Byrd. Instead of working with Tennessee’s secondary, Byrd was back with the Vols’ receivers. It’s unclear at this time if that was just a move for today or a more permanent fixture, but Byrd was working with the receivers and running through drills with them on Tuesday.
- A couple other position changes included Alontae Taylor working in the secondary, Greg Emerson working on the offensive line, Princeton Fant from running back to linebacker, and LaTrell Bumphus from tight end to defensive line.
- Jeremy Pruitt has preached all spring about working on getting Tennessee’s defense to become a “striking defense.” And that mentality is starting to show with only a handful of practices left this spring. The Vols’ defensive linemen and linebackers especially have taken that mentality to heart and are looking very physical and tenacious this spring.
- Pruitt began today’s practice working with the Vols’ linebackers briefly before trotting back to his normal station with the secondary.
- Darrell Taylor looks like he’s finally ready to live up to the hype this season. We’ll see what the fall brings, but he looked great today in defensive drills and looks like he’ll fit in perfectly for this defense.
- Deandre Johnson seems to be transitioning to a more hybrid linebacker/defensive end role in this defense, and I think that makes sense. I always thought he was a little undersized to be a true defensive end, and I think playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense suits him much better. I think he has the speed and motor to rush the quarterback effectively, and I think this season and next season will be good for him.
- Nigel Warrior continues to impress me in the secondary. He flies around the field and plays like a man possessed. It wouldn’t surprise me if Warrior ends up being the best player on Tennessee’s defense this season.
- I’m interested to see where Marquill Osborne ends up this year in the secondary. He’s one of those tweener players who has the size to play at safety, but I don’t know if his ball skills are quite good enough. The Vols need him to step up at corner if that’s where he stays, though.