Practice Notes: Vols’ Fall Camp Day 6

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    Photo via Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    The Vols took to the practice field again on Thursday, and they were back outside after spending Wednesday’s practice indoors. The field was soggy after an afternoon rain, but Tennessee’s coaches weren’t letting the less-than-ideal conditions dampen the atmosphere. UT’s coaches were just as intense as ever, and they made sure their players were giving 100 percent.

    Here are our notes and observations from the Vols’ sixth day of fall camp.

    Have the Vols found a secret weapon in their tight end group? How is the defensive line adjusting to the 3-4 defense? Read that and more in our Premium Practice report on RTI Premium!
    • I want to start off by saying I think the Vols got a steal in Brian Niedermeyer as their tight ends coach. We have to wait and see if the results on the field reflect the effort I’ve seen him give in practice, but he’s been one of the most vocal and hands-on coaches on the field this fall. He coaches with intensity and makes sure his players are doing what they’re supposed to on every single rep. He pays attention to the details and doesn’t back down on his message.
    • Sticking with the tight end group, I think the Vols’ depth there is going to be a concern this season. I like what they have with Dominick Wood-Anderson and Eli Wolf, but I’m not sure about the rest of the unit. I think they have some good fullback/H-back options with Ja’Quain Blakely and Austin Pope, but as far as true tight ends go, the depth concerns me. That’s a position I expect UT’s coaches to hit hard in recruiting over the next few years.
    • The media wasn’t on the field as much today as they have been the first few practices, but what we got to see from the Vols’ wide receivers was a little better today than it was on Wednesday. Marquez Callaway had a drop, but he corrected that mistake on his next route. UT’s quarterbacks looked more consistent in what I got to see, and both Chryst and Guarantano made smooth throws on crossing routes. I’m still impressed by J.T. Shrout’s ability as a true freshman, but he’s still clearly the third option in the quarterback room. But he should see the field this year because of the new redshirt rule.
    • Tennessee’s whole coaching staff are sticklers for fundamentals and paying attention to the small details of the game, but that’s especially true for Tracy Rocker. That man loves to coach, and he makes sure UT’s defensive linemen are getting the most out of every rep they do. He put an emphasis on hand placement and leverage during the open portion today, and he was hammering home those fundamentals every step of the way.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.