Tennessee hit the practice field on Thursday afternoon for what was its second-to-last open practice before it heads to Jacksonville following Christmas. As has been the case the entire week of bowl practice, fundamentals were the primary focus during the open portion.
Unlike the Vols’ previous practices, though, this one was focused a little less on themselves and more on Tennessee’s opponent in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl — the Indiana Hoosiers.
Though the scout team was dressed as Indiana players, the defense began yet another fundamental-centered practice focusing on creating turnovers — particularly stripping a ball-carrier and scooping the fumble. There were four stations, and each defensive position group went from one assistant coach to the next to focus on punching or stripping the football out before scooping it up.
The defense then went through their normal individual drills. Tracy Rocker’s defensive line hit the sleds, the outside linebackers went through pass-rushing drills, the inside linebackers worked on tackling, and the secondary went through coverage drills.
As for the offense, each unit went through its typical individual drills. The offensive line worked on four-man O-line drills before working on combo blocks. The first team offensive line from left to right consisted of Wanya Morris, Trey Smith, Jerome Carvin, K’Rojhn Calbert, and Darnell Wright. Jahmir Johnson also took some reps with the first team while Kingston Harris continues to work along the O-line at left guard.
Riley Locklear and Jackson Lampley were the other two O-linemen to take snaps at center behind Carvin. Brandon Kennedy worked inside with the strength and conditioning staff. As for the rest of the second team O-line, Chris Akporoghene worked at right guard and Ollie Lane worked at right tackle.
At quarterback, Brian Maurer appears to be the clear No. 2 quarterback as he takes all of the reps, while J.T. Shrout goes third. Before going through routes-versus-air with the wide receivers, the quarterbacks worked on jet-sweeps with the running backs.