Notes: Vols’ Spring Practice Session 4-2-19

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    Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    Tennessee took the practice field once again on Tuesday as they enter their second-to-last week of spring practices this year. I stayed on the offensive side of the ball for today’s practice, so that will be what all my notes are on for today.

    Here are my observations from the Vols’ Tuesday practice session.

    Which two younger players made an impression on offense today, and what did Trey Smith do at practice? We look at that and more in our Premium Practice Report over on RTI Premium
    • There weren’t nearly as many balls on the turf today during passing drills as there have been recently. There were still a few more than the coaches would like, but overall I thought the quarterbacks and receivers did a better job today. I was particularly encouraged by how Jauan Jennings looked today, and Jordan Murphy looked solid in his route running. Tyler Byrd even had a few really good reps today. I’ll be interested to see if he can find a bigger role in the offense this year.
    • Jarrett Guarantano continues to be the most consistent of the quarterbacks, but I thought JT Shrout made a couple really good throws today. He also had a bad incompletion that was more on him than the receiver. I like the upside that Brian Maurer brings, but right now he definitely looks like he needs a redshirt year.
    • Tennessee’s depth behind Dominick Wood-Anderson at tight end will be interesting to gauge this year. There’s not much experience at all behind him, and it looks like two younger players could be in line for bigger roles than anticipated. Both Jacob Warren and Jackson Lowe are getting a lot of attention from tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer, and I personally think both will see time this year. This is still just early April, so a number of things could change, but they’re at least taking coaching well right now.
    • At this point, I’d be pretty surprised if Wanya Morris doesn’t start as a true freshman this fall. He’s been looking good in his reps, and he moves well. You can tell he’s still working on his conditioning some, but overall I’ve liked the early returns on him.
    • One thing I wanted to note with the offensive line is that I heard some more peer leadership today. Will Friend was very vocal as always, but there was a player that pointed out a teammate got off on the wrong foot in a drill before Friend even made that point. That group is learning and trying to help each other, which is very important.
    • Chris Akporoghene is taking to teaching well, but he’s further behind than I thought he might be at this point. That’s not to say he’s a disappointment or has looked bad; it’s simply a reflection of him still being pretty raw. Keep in mind, this should be his senior year of high school, and this is only like the fourth full year he’s even played football period. When you consider all that, he’s actually looked pretty good.



    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.