Tennessee’s football team took to the Haslam Practice Field Saturday afternoon for its spring scrimmage. The Vols didn’t hold a spring game this season due to Neyland Stadium renovations, but let the media watch an entire scrimmage in the back half of Tennessee’s spring practice.
A number of Vols did not participate in the scrimmage and quarterback Hendon Hooker saw limited reps. Still, there was plenty to see at the spring scrimmage.
Let’s start with a list of players that did not participate in Saturday’ scrimmage. All six players that have been out all spring did not participate as well defensive backs Doneiko Slaughter and Christian Charles, linebacker Juwan Mitchell, offensive linemen Dayne Davis and Cooper Mays, tight ends Princeton Fant, Julian Nixon and Miles Campbell, receivers Cedric Tillman and Chas Nimrod and running back Jabari Small.
I’ll start with the fact that these stats are extremely unofficial. There was no official stats from the game and these were kept by myself. Tennessee was on an eighty-yard field, we watched from field level in an end zone and there was no scoreboard telling yard lines or down-and-distance. Estimating how many yards plays went for — especially first down plays — was challenging.
With that, on to the stats.
Hendon Hooker — 8-of-8 for 52 yards and a touchdown
Joe Milton III — 4-of-8 for 162 yards and two touchdowns
Tayven Jackson — 11-of-13 for 84 yards
Gaston Moore — 3-of-4 for 22 yards and an interception
Navy Shuler – 0-for-3 and an interception.
Jaylen Wright — 11 carries for 51 yards and one fumble
Justin Williams-Thomas —11 carries for 43 yards
Len’Neth Whitehead — Five carries for 49 yards
Patrick Wilk — One carry for three yards
Jimmy Calloway — Three catches for 101 yards and a touchdown
Ramel Keyton — Two catches for 56 yards
Jalin Hyatt — Four catches for 18 yards
Jacob Warren — Two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown
Jimmy Holiday — One catch for six yards
Jack Jancek — One catch for 45 yards and a touchdown
Michael Bittner — Four catches for 27 yards
Grant Frerking — Two catches for 28 yards
Walker Merrill — Two catches for 15 yards
Jaylen Wright — One catch for -2 yards
Marquaris “Squirrel” White — Two catches for six yards
Charlie Browder — One catch for five yards
- Hendon Hooker eight-yard pass to Jacob Warren
- Joe Milton III 45-yard pass to Jack Jancek
- Joe Milton II 79-yard pass to Jimmy Calloway
- Omari Thomas returns Jaylen Wright’s fumble 25 yards for touchdown
- Will Brooks intercepts Navy Shuler and returns it 35 yards (play was blown dead but no one was between Brooks and end zone)
- Elijah Herring intercepts Gaston Moore and returns it 20 yards
Spring scrimmage depth chart
Tennessee moved guys around to different groups. For instance, Hooker played just two drives and both Milton and Jackson worked with the first team offense. This depth chart is from the first time each group took the field Saturday.
First Team Defense
Jaylen McCollough, Trevon Flowers, Desmond Williams, Tamarion McDonald, William Wright.
Jeremy Banks, Aaron Beasley.
Byron Young, Tyler Baron, Omari Thomas, Kurott Garland
First Team Offense
Jeremiah Crawford, Ollie Lane, Jerome Carvin, Javontez Spraggins, Darnell Wright
Ramel Keyton, Jalin Hyatt, Jimmy Holliday
Hendon Hooker, Jaylen Wright
Second Team Defense
Dominic Bailey, LaTrell Bumphus, Kurott Garland, Elijah Simmons
Jackson Hannah, Aaron Willis
Romello Edwards, Will Brooks, Cheyenne LaBruzza, (didn’t catch the last two defensive backs but I believe they were walk ons)
Second Team Offense
Gerald Mincey, James Robinson, Parker Ball, Jackson Lampley, RJ Perry
Jimmy Calloway, Jack Jancek, Walker Merrill
Joe Milton III, Len’Neth Whitehead
– Tennessee’s offense scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the afternoon, but the day belonged to the defense. In 20 drives, the Vols’ offense scored just three touchdowns, turned it over three times and went three-and-out nine times.
– Part of that success was as simple as who was played quarterback for Tennessee. Starter Hendon Hooker played just two possessions, back up Joe Milton III played five possessions, third string freshman Tayven Jackson played eight possessions, walk on Gaston Moore played three possessions and Navy Shuler played two possessions.
– Jimmy Calloway made the play of the day. The receiver caught a swing pass in his own end zone, broke a tackle to avoid a safety, got up field and eventually completed reversed his field going 79 yards for a touchdown. With Velus Jones Jr. going to the NFL, Calloway may be Tennessee’s best receiver with the ball in his hands.
– Tennessee’s offensive line had a rough day and the defense recorded a number of sacks and pressures. The Vols also had a plethora of poor snaps which isn’t a massive shock with starting center Cooper Mays not playing.
– With it being a poor day for Tennessee’s offensive line, it was a great day for the defensive line. Pass rushers Byron Young and Roman Harrison were frequent in the backfield and recorded sacks. However, it was freshman defensive lineman Tyre West that owned the day, recording five sacks from our count. His reps came mostly in the third team, but it was still a dominant performance.
– Defensive back Tamarion McDonald had a strong day while getting an abundance of reps in the injured back end of the defense.
– It was a workman like performance for Hendon Hooker who didn’t take many shots but was extremely efficient in his two drives.
– Tayven Jackson failed to get into a great rhythm, dealing with some poor snaps and pass protection break downs, but the freshman quarterback was accurate — especially in the underneath passing game.