By Vince Ferrara
Here are some of my observations and notes from the second University of Tennessee spring football practice.
*We were able to view stretching and the first three periods of practice #2 on Thursday.
*We saw some players that were ruled out of spring ball do a few things. Several were in jerseys and stretched with the team. WR Brandon Johnson even caught some stationary passes. All of those players, and others that are limited were with their position groups.
*The players getting reps in catching punts were: WR Marquez Callaway, WR Tyler Byrd, WR Latrell Williams, DB Emmanuel Moseley, DB Justin Martin and DB DJ Henderson. Callaway, Byrd and Williams should be the top candidates. Ball security will ultimately decide who wins this gig. Injured players Micah Abernathy and Josh Smith were hanging out with this group, so expect them to be in the mix this fall. Marquez Callaway told me that Jauan Jennings will be competing for punt returns as well, even though he wasn’t out there today. Check out that interview HERE.
*Sophomore RB Carlin Fils-aime was first in the organizational line of running backs just before junior John Kelly. Fils-aime looks like he’s benefitting from the weight room work. As loose as he was, he clearly feels good.
*Most of the passing game we were able to see was the quarterbacks throwing to a deep middle route to everybody, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. TE Jakob Johnson had the one clear drop I saw. Generally, the throws were good and the catches were clean. No wow factor, but solid. Watch some footage of the passing game HERE.
*It’s interesting to see Walt Wells as the lone voice with the offensive linemen. He takes charge, but it’s very different from the loud voices and yelling (at times) of Don Mahoney, Mike DeBord and even another GA.
*Brady Hoke may be the defensive line coach, but we saw him working with select defenders from all three levels of the defense. He was leading a turnover drill where players stripped, scooped and scored. He may in-fact have a larger role on the defense. Watch that turnover drill HERE.
*It’s hard to really evaluate positions overall because so many positions have more players that will either join the team or return from injury than are practicing with the team now. RB, WR, DE and DT are the tops in that category. Some drills have more walk-ons than scholarship players. RB and WR are that way for sure. What you try to do is study players individually instead, so you can still get something out of practice, which I do. If we saw more, we could learn more, but it is what it is.
Spend some time on our website where we’ll have blogs from Jimmy Hyams, practice reports from Josh Ward, interviews with players and coaches, videos of practice footage. Scroll through our big stories on the main page or click on the Vols tab under “All WNML stories” archived to find all of our posts saved there.