Tennessee was back at Haslam Field Wednesday morning for its 14th practice of fall camp. The Vols were in shells, rocking just shoulder pads and helmets for the midweek practice.
The true “camp” part of Tennessee’s preseason practice is beginning to wind down as the Vols will soon begin game prep for Ball State.
Here’s our notes and observations from Tennessee’s 14th fall practice.
Hendon Hooker was as vocal during the beginning of practice breakdown as he’s been all of camp, bringing the energy to the morning practice.
The quarterbacks did traditional routes on air while then working on their throwing on the run drill. Four quarterbacks rolled left or right while finding a separate receiver or tight end down the field.
Tennessee wasn’t bad during the drill but could have been crisper in the most difficult passing with no defense drill. The drill did give us another sign that Bru McCoy is further up the depth chart than the routes on air order would indicate.
McCoy did the scramble drill with Cedric Tillman, Jalin Hyatt and Princeton Fant — Tennessee’s starting receivers and tight ends — and even hauled in a deep ball from Hooker.
The Southern Cal transfer is starting to really get in a groove during fall camp. The elephant in the room is his eligibility uncertainty. Tennessee is still awaiting word on whether McCoy will be eligible to play this fall.
Receiver Jimmy Calloway was not active in Wednesday’s practice, wearing no helmet or shoulder pads while on the practice field.
Lyn-J Dixon was on the practice field but essentially a non participant, wearing no helmet or shoulder pads. Running backs coach Jerry Mack said Dixon has a “tweaked” ankle on Tuesday and should be back on the practice field soon.
Tennessee’s running backs worked on short routes where they read the linebackers in a zone defense to find the soft spot in the zone and settle down. It was a solid session for Tennessee’s quarterbacks and running backs besides a lone Jaylen Wright drop.
Jabari Small led the way in the drill followed in order by Jaylen Wright, Dylan Sampson and Justin Williams-Thomas.
Javontez Spraggins was a bit late getting on the practice field during stretches but things were business as usual with the rest of the offensive line.
Glen Elarbee’s group split up from the left side to the right side to work on pass blocking assignments Tuesday morning. They did the same thing Wednesday with the emphasis on run blocking assignments instead.
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Let’s start with a defensive back group that is quite banged up right now. Cheyenne LaBruzza, Christian Harrison and DeShawn Rucker were all in red non contact jerseys going through practice while Wesley Walker was absent from the practice field for the second straight day.
The good news is I don’t think any of those guys outside of Walker are going to play a big role on this defense.
While Tennessee wasn’t in full pads Wednesday morning they still got some tackling drills in on the large “donut” pads.
Tennessee’s defensive backs practice block shedding and tackling on the donuts.
For as much pre-camp talk as there was about moving guys around in the secondary, Tennessee has done very little of it throughout fall camp. That versatility may show up more in the season once serious injuries happen, but for now there’s been little movement.
Christian Charles, Kamal Hadden and Brandon Turnage are poised to stick at corner with Turnage potentially helping out at STAR. Charles looks smooth on the practice field and like one of the highest ceiling guys in the defensive back room.
Tomarrion McDonald and Wesley Walker appear set at nickel though McDonald continues to do drill work at safety.
Andre Turrentine continues to rep with safeties during practice though like Turnage, he could also play at STAR.
The linebackers also worked on donut tackling drills as Solon Page III and Jackson Hannah remained in red non contact jerseys on Wednesday. Page has been limited for going on a week now while Hannah is in his second day in the no contact jersey.
We’re continuing to buy the Juwan Mitchell hype as the former Texas transfer has been consistent on the practice field during fall camp and has avoided setbacks.
It was business as usual for Tennessee’s defensive linemen on Wednesday going through their normal drill work. That group remains as healthy as can be 15 days ahead of kick off.
The Indianapolis Colts, San Fransisco 49ers, Washington Commanders and New York Giants had scouts at Wednesday’s practice.