After a day off on Monday, the Vols were back out on the practice field on Tuesday afternoon for their fourth day of fall camp. The open portion of practice was free of rain, but it started to sprinkle as the media was ushered out. But the portion we got to see was free of inclement weather, and there was plenty to observe.
Here are our notes and observations from the Vols’ fourth day of fall camp in the Jeremy Pruitt era.
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- After some early camp struggles, it looks like Keller Chryst has settled in a little bit at quarterback. He wasn’t lighting it up during the open portion of today’s practice, but he’s looked more consistent the last couple practices after a somewhat rough start to camp. He and Guarantano are more even now than when they started, at least from what we’ve gotten to see.
- I had some reservations after the first couple days about how much I thought Jonathan Kongbo was going to contribute this season, but he’s consistently looked better each practice. I think he’s sneaking his way into a starting role as one of the Vols’ two outside linebackers. A guy to keep an eye on will be Jordan Allen. I didn’t think he had as great of a day today as he has the first three days, but I still like what I’ve seen from him.
- Tracy Rocker really gets after it when coaching the defensive linemen. So does Brian Niedermeyer when coaching tight ends, and all of you know how intense Will Friend is known for being. My point is this: This coaching staff is a very passionate bunch, and I can tell that they’re very driven to get the very best out of their units. There isn’t any down time when we’re out there watching players go through drills. Every player is going through a rep or paying attention while others are so they’re learning how to better themselves.
- Those of you who attended the open practice on Sunday saw how versatile Tennessee’s offensive linemen are becoming. That theme was seen again in practice today. Multiple linemen have been getting reps at different positions, and the coaches are trying to figure out which players are their best five linemen to start. They want the five best linemen on the field, and they want to play the sixth and seventh best guys at that unit in the rotation. As Pruitt said on Sunday, if the second-best left tackle is only their 10th-best offensive lineman overall, then they’ll find someone who is a better lineman to fill in at a tackle rather than just putting a guy in because he fits a certain position “better.”
- Alexis Johnson is going to play a lot on the defensive line, someway somehow. I don’t know how many positions he can end up playing this year or if they’ll go with more 4-3 schemes in order to get him on the field, but I like what I’ve seen from him so far. Tuttle, Phillips, and Johnson are the Vols’ three best defensive linemen right now. And it’s no coincidence those three are the Vols’ three senior linemen either.