Tennessee hit the practice field in the rain for practice No. 1 of the spring on Tuesday afternoon.
All eyes were on the quarterback position with the Vols returning four quarterbacks from last season and two early enrollees entering the fold. Jarrett Guarantano was at the front of the line, leading the group through drills focused on hand-offs and footwork with the running backs.
During routes on air, JT Shrout, Brian Maurer, Kasim Hill, Harrison Bailey, and Jimmy Holiday followed in that order. Bailey was in a No. 15 jersey while Holiday was wearing the No. 10. Hill switched jersey numbers from No. 20 to No. 11 and was noticeably down in weight.
The media saw the quarterbacks throw slants and skinny posts to the receivers. Maurer had trouble with a couple of snaps in the rain and also left a couple of passes high. Guarantano and Shrout were the sharpest of the group. Bailey and Holiday looked like freshman quarterbacks going through their very first practice in the sense that their throws were accurate, but they were moving at a slower pace.
Each running back was accounted for. Eric Gray led the way with Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan following suit.
Up front along the offensive line, Cade Mays was in the middle of things with a brand new white No. 68 jersey. The big uglies up front worked on zone blocks in tandem after the tackles and guards worked separately. Jahmir Johnson and Cade Mays worked at left tackle, while Trey Smith and Kingston Harris worked at left guard. Riley Locklear and Chris Akporoghene worked at right guard, while K’Rojhn Calbert and Darnell Wright worked at right tackle.
Freshman early enrollee Cooper Mays did not practice. Sixth-year senior Brandon Kennedy started in the weight room before joining the unit later on.
At wide receiver, Josh Palmer was limited. Brandon Johnson was at the front of the line while Tee Martin was throwing them the football. USC grad transfer Velus Jones, Ramel Keyton, and Deangelo Gibbs followed Johnson. Cedric Tillman was limited.
Jordan Allen was the big position change of the day. The former junior college product who signed with the Vols as an edge rusher was working at tight end in a No. 86 jersey. Austin Pope and Princeton Fant were the first through drills with new position coach Joe Osovet.
On the defensive side of the football, three notable names were in attendance. Darel Middleton was practicing despite a recent arrest, and Baylen Buchanan appeared to be a full participant after dealing with a neck/spine injury all of last season. Emmit Gooden was also dressed out and going through drills with new defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh.
Brumbaugh led his new group through sled drills before breaking up into three mini-groups and leading them through pass-rushing drills. He was very particular about the fundamentals of the position. Elijah Simmons, Aubrey Solomon, and Kurott Garland worked as nose tackles.
There were only six scholarship guys at inside linebacker. Henry To’o To’o led the way for Brian Niedermeyer’s new group. Solon Page III and Aaron Beasley followed To’o To’o before two walk-ons went. JJ Peterson went last. Former Vol linebacker and current off-field analyst Kevin Simon assisted Niedermeyer.
At outside linebacker, Shelton Felton worked his group through pass-rushing drills. John Mincey and LaTrell Bumphus worked with the group.
It was hard to see much of the secondary. The most notable sight was Baylen Buchanan. After redshirting last season due to a spinal injury, Buchanan was going through drills.
Practice No. 2 for the Vols will be on Thursday afternoon.