Notes: Vols’ Spring Practice 3-11-19

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    Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    Tennessee was back out on the practice field on Monday afternoon, and for the first time this spring, the players were wearing some pads.

    The Vols had their third spring practice session of 2019 on Monday, and the media got to view three open periods of practice. Here’s everything I saw and observed from Tennessee’s spring practice session today.

    Which backup QB stood out the most today, and which one had a bad afternoon? What’s the latest on Trey Smith’s practice habits? We look at that and more in our Premium Practice Report over on RTI Premium!
    • Both Quavaris Crouch and Daniel Bituli started practice working with the inside linebackers like usual, but after a couple periods they ended up moving over to the outside linebacker group. Jeremy Pruitt has mentioned before that he likes to have “four-for-four” linebackers, meaning he likes to have LBs who can play all four positions on the field in his base 3-4 scheme. It’s likely those two were receiving some cross-training to get more experience or to help out with numbers at that unit.
    • Speaking of Crouch, he continues to get coached up by UT’s linebacker coaches. You can tell that he’s not as polished at LB as he probably is at running back since he didn’t play as much linebacker in high school, but he’s coachable and is taking to the instruction well so far.
    • JJ Peterson, meanwhile, stayed with the inside linebackers and looked good today. I like his footwork, and I think he’s coming along well.
    • Kingston Harris got more run along the defensive line today than he did last week. I’ll be interested to watch and see if he can land a role on the defensive line this season.
    • Josh Palmer made an impressive one-handed grab during routes vs. air today. He continues to grow and take positive steps in his development as the potential No. 3 receiver in UT’s offense this upcoming season.
    • Deangelo Gibbs looks like a natural at wide receiver, which really makes me wonder why Georgia stuck him back at defensive back. I understand they had a bigger need for him at that position, but he just seems like a gifted receiver to me. He certainly still has some things to learn to fine-tune his habits and overall play, but I really like his upside there.
    • Jarrett Guarantano is the clear front-runner at the quarterback position right now. Both JT Shrout and Brian Maurer show flashes at times, particularly Maurer when he has to move around and throw, but Guarantano is clearly the most consistent of the QBs right now and has a better grasp of his mechanics and the offense.
    • Jeremy Pruitt stayed exclusively with the defensive backs during the open portion of practice today. Jim Chaney stuck around the quarterbacks and wide receivers for the most part from what I saw.

    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.