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Practice Notes: Vols’ Fall Camp 8-21

Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

Tennessee took the practice field on Tuesday for yet another fall camp session. It was their first open portion of practice since Friday, but they scrimmaged on Saturday and practiced on Monday as well.

The Vols were back in full pads on Tuesday, and it was a windy and cloudy afternoon. But UT’s players were feeling it on Tuesday, and there was a spirit in the air that football is nearly here.

Here are our notes and observations from the Vols’ Tuesday fall camp session:

Who’s looking like the Vols’ “secret weapon” on offense? Who is making a push to start on the offensive line? That and more in our Premium Practice Report from today’s practice
  • Trey Smith was cleared for full contact today, and he wasted no time in showing off his physicality and getting back at it. He looked powerful and polished in several of the offensive line drills he ran through, and he drove one of Tennessee’s walk-ons to the ground in one drill. It’s safe to say that Smith hasn’t lost a step since he last went full contact, and he should be well on his way to starting every game for the Vols once again this season.
  • Chance Hall participated in full contact drills today, and that’s a good sign for the Vols’ talented offensive lineman. He wasn’t quite as impressive as Trey Smith, but that’s hard to do. He didn’t look rusty and appeared to drive out of his stance effectively. If he can remain healthy and avoid any setbacks, he’ll seriously challenge for a starting spot on the offensive line.
  • Jauan Jennings participated in just about every drill the wide receivers went through, and he didn’t appear to be gimpy or going less than 100% today.
  • The wide receivers overall had a pretty decent day, though there were still a few drops. Josh Palmer had a drop, and so did Maleik Gray. I remain impressed by the burst and quickness I see from Latrell Williams, and Tyler Byrd showed some good hands and awareness as he pulled in a pass on a slant route that was thrown slightly too high.
  • I remain optimistic about Tennessee’s tight end unit on the front end but still worry about the depth. I think they’re starting to develop some depth there, though. Brian Niedermeyer was working on the unit’s vision, fundamentals, and reading the quarterback and safeties correctly on passing plays today.
  • Ja’Quain Blakely’s hands are actually a bit better than I expected them to be. I still think he’ll function mostly as a fullback and lead blocker for UT’s running backs, but he can actually catch the ball and will be hard to bring down once he’s running.

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