Tennessee Football Notes And Observations: Practice 15

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    Tennessee returned to Haslam Field Friday morning for its 15th fall practice— the final practice that is open to the media during fall camp.

    While it’s the final practice open to the media in August, we did get to watch some more receivers/tight ends versus defensive backs one-on-ones in the red zone.

    We’ll share the results of all 22 reps here in a bit, but first some additional notes on Tennessee’s 15th fall practice.

    Offense

    After an off day Thursday, most of Tennessee’s banged up players remained limited or non participants during the open portion of Friday’s practice.

    Lyn-J Dixon and Jacob Warren were not amongst their teammates while Jimmy Calloway remained in shorts, his practice jersey and no helmet. He went through stretches with his teammates before doing work on the side the rest of the open portion of practice.

    Tennessee practiced in shells Friday — ditching the padded pants while keeping the shoulder pads and helmet on.

    That made it hard to tell how active Jaylen Wright would be as the sophomore running back has been in shells all fall camp. During the open portion, Wright’s participation was the same as it’s been for most of camp with him being in-and-out of certain drills.

    With Len’Neeth Whitehead out, Jaylen Wright hampered and Lyn-J Dixon arriving late and now sidelined with an ankle injury, Tennessee freshmen Dylan Sampson and Justin Williams-Thomas have gotten an abundance of reps all fall camp.

    It will be interesting to see how much playing time those two get when Tennessee kicks off the season against Ball State in 13 days.

    Before pairing up against the defensive backs, Tennessee’s receivers and quarterbacks worked on red zone route trees. It wasn’t a bad session, but the group definitely wasn’t their crispest. That carried over to the one-on-one period.

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    Defense

    The defensive back room remains hampered with Cheyenne LaBruzza, Dee Williams and Christian Harrison all in red non contact jerseys while Wesley Walker was absent for the third straight practice.

    Safeties worked on high pointing deep passes on Friday morning. While I doubt either plays much on defense this season, freshmen Christian Harrison and Jourdan Thomas are good looking players. I imagine both will have a major role on special teams.

    Linebackers Solon Page III and Jackson Hannah were both in red non contact jerseys as well.

    Aaron Beasley, Juwan Mitchell and Jeremy Banks haven’t been limited at all this camp. It will be interesting to see how much that benefits the Vols once the season begins. Obviously linebacker in a thin position group for Tennessee but its top three linebackers being healthy and full go at the start of the season is a big plus.

    The defensive line remains as healthy as Tennessee could ask for 15 practices in. That group did its normal drill work with extra emphasis on tucking the ball during their strip sack and return drill.

    Receivers /Tight ends vs. Defensive Backs in 1-on-1

    We were able to watch 22 reps of one-on-ones between the defensive backs and receivers or tight ends Friday morning. It was definitely the defense’s day as the majority of reps ended with the ball on the ground and even one interception.

    My offensive MVP for the drill is Cedric Tillman while my defensive MVP is Kamal Hadden.

    Here are the results of every rep.

    Bru McCoy couldn’t haul in a Hendon Hooker fade as Kamal Hadden provided tight coverage.

    Jalin Hyatt beat Trevon Flowers but dropped a well thrown Hendon Hooker pass.

    Hooker couldn’t find Squirell White in the corner of the end zone.

    Cedric Tillman hauled in a Hooker pass, mossing Warren Burrell on a fade route.

    The referee ruled that Walker Merrill didn’t get a foot down while hauling in a Joe Milton pass but it looked to us like a poor call. Dee Williams was in coverage.

    Central Florida tight end transfer Charlie Browder couldn’t haul in a Milton pass over the middle.

    Tamarion McDonald made a great play to break up a Milton slant to Princeton Fant.

    Hadden intercepted an under thrown Milton fade to Miles Campbell.

    Kaleb Webb couldn’t haul in a Tayven Jackson pass on a fade route.

    Princeton Fant dropped a Jackson pass on a slant route. Jourdan Thomas had tight coverage on the play.

    Jackson pass over the middle to Michael Bittner was incomplete though Cheyenne LaBruzza clearly held on the play.

    Jack Jancek beat Lucien Brunetti on a slant and hauled in a Gaston Moore pass.

    Moore’s pass to Grant Frerking on a fade was uncatchable.

    Browder dropped a pass from Moore over the middle with Cameron Miller in coverage.

    Hooker’s second run at the drill was much more fruitful for the offense.

    Hyatt burnt Doneiko Slaughter on a fade route before hauling in a Hooker pass.

    Tillman mossed Burrell on a fade route for the second time in the drill.

    McCoy beat Trel Riley on a slant before hauling in Hooker’s pass.

    Fant beat Romello Edwards on a fade before hauling in a Milton pass.

    Hadden blanketed Ramel Keyton who couldn’t catch a Milton pass.

    Williams covered Merrill as Milton’s pass sailed over both of their heads.

    Nigel Lanier caught a Jackson pass well short of the goal line on a slant route.

    White made maybe the catch of the period, hauling in a Jackson pass on a fade route.

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.