Tennessee took the practice field for the first time as part of game week in 2019 on Monday. The Vols are getting ready to kick off the 2019 season, and we were there to observe Monday’s practice session.
Here’s everything RTI staff writer Ben McKee saw from the Vols on Monday.
Mother Nature isn’t a fan of game week finally arriving, apparently. With the Vols set to kick off the 2019 campaign against Georgia State on Saturday, Tennessee hit the practice field with rain pouring down Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Jeremy Pruitt announced during his Monday press conference that Daniel Bituli was a game-time decision with a sore knee and that he would be pushing it to be available against the Panthers. At practice, junior Will Ignont and freshman Henry To’oto’o were the first team inside linebackers in Bituli’s absence. Sophomore Jeremy Banks and junior Shannon Reid were second.
The group worked on assignments when a tight end was in motion while also shedding blocks to get to the ball carrier.
Along the defensive line, Aubrey Solomon and Greg Emerson worked with the first team, while Darel Middleton, John Mincey, and LaTrell Bumphus continued to work on pass-rush drills with the outside linebackers.
In the secondary, the group was without suspended sophomore cornerback Bryce Thompson as expected. There are more number changes, however, with special team units now installed. I was told by Tennessee’s sports information department that Thompson would now be wearing No. 20 should he return to the team, and Trevon Flowers is going back to the No. 25.
The secondary was extremely vocal on Monday afternoon, emphasizing the importance of communicating.
Along the offensive line, the group continued to split up. Jim Chaney would work with the tackles, while Will Friend worked with the guards, then the groups would switch.
There continues to be quite a bit of movement along the O-line. Multiple players are practicing multiple positions as the coaching staff attempts to find the best combination. Ryan Johnson received work at both guard spots and right tackle on Monday.
Wanya Morris worked at left tackle and left guard. Marcus Tatum continues to work at right tackle and guard. Brandon Kennedy continues to work solely at center while Riley Locklear works at both guard spots. Trey Smith was not very active during the open portion today. Darnell Wright worked at tackle and guard.
Tennessee will hit the practice field again tomorrow.