Tennessee hit the practice field for practice No. 5 of spring practice on Friday morning. The Vols were in full pads for the third time this spring and it was the third time media members were able to view practice in over a year. Here’s a couple of observations from what the media was able to see during the open portion:
- After spending the first two practices of this week paying attention to the offense, I spent the first open portion of Friday’s practice watching the defense. Vols defensive line coach Rodney Garner got after his group all morning long as they worked on forcing fumbles before working on staying low with good, active feet with the bags and under the schute. They worked on hand placement before finishing with sled drills.
- Mike Ekeler worked alongside Rodney Garner as Tennessee looks to develop a pass rush. Bryson Eason and Tyler Baron continue to stand out in terms of size. Junior college signee Byron Young is pretty slim.
- At linebacker, the group worked on turnover drills with the bags before working working on their fist step, as well as taking on a block, shedding it and getting their eyes on the tailback. Jeremy Banks and Roman Harrison were at practice, but were not in pads. They worked inside in the indoor facility as they nurse injuries. Kwauze Garland and Aaron Beasley were leading the group.
- Tim Banks worked with the safeties on tackling and downhill tackling, while the corners worked on getting off blocks and backpedaling. The first unit appeared to be Alontae Taylor and Kenneth George Jr. at corner, Theo Jackson at nickel, and Jaylen McCollough and Trevon Flowers at safety.
- Of what I did see on offense, the first set of lineman through drills from left to right were Dayne Davis, Jerome Carvin, Cooper Mays, Javontez Spraggins, and Cade Mays. Behind them were K’Rojhn Calbert, Kingston Harris, Parker Ball, Jackson Lampley and Darnell Wright.
- The quarterback and receivers worked on endzone throws. Harrison Bailey looked the best he had all week while Hendon Hooker and Brian Maurer looked like they have in the previous practices we’ve been able to see.
- Jimmy Holiday, Christian Charles, LaTrell Bumphus, Riley Locklear and Len’Neth Whitehead were all in black non-contact jerseys.
- Jeremy Banks, Roman Harrison, Doneiko Slaughter, Tiyon Evans and Jalin Hyatt were not in full pads and either worked inside or off to the side. Malachi Wideman and Cheyenne Labruzza were dressed, but limited.
The Vols held practice early on Friday morning in order to give the players an extended Easter weekend. They’ll return to practice on Tuesday. Head coach Josh Heupel is scheduled to speak with the media around lunch on Friday following practice.