Courtesy / UT Athletics


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football went under the lights of Neyland Stadium for its second spring scrimmage as the Volunteers worked all three phases in a two-hour workout Thursday night.

Unseasonably cool conditions, simulated crowd noise and the bright lights of Neyland at night greeted the team, which was a first for many of the new faces who joined the roster in January.

“Atypical spring night for here in Knoxville, but it’s an opportunity to get out and play in an environment that at some point next year we’re going to be in,” head coach Josh Heupel said. “The guys had a lot of energy tonight. They enjoyed being under the lights in a different type of day for a scrimmage. For us, it’s an opportunity that will parlay itself into a football game that we’re going to play next fall.”

The scrimmage saw the defense set the tone early with both first-team units going against each other followed by the second-team units squaring off.

“Defensively, I thought they started extremely fast and violent and destructive, got off the field on third downs and did a great job offensively and settled in on the second half of the scrimmage,” Heupel added.

Heupel was pleased with the Vols’ new-look, athletic secondary, which has made plays all spring led by safeties Andre TurrentineJourdan Thomas and Will Brooks and cornerbacks Jermod McCoyRickey Gibson III and Jalen McMurray.

Will Brooks had a really good night tonight,” Heupel said. “(Andre Turrentine) has been really consistent throughout the course of spring ball. Jermod McCoy continues to play at a really high level. Those are a few of the guys that have been consistent, but also showed up tonight for us.”

On the ground, Knoxville native DeSean BishopKhalifa Keith and Hunter Barnes received a bulk of the carries with starter Dylan Sampson poised for a strong fall season.

“The running backs tonight, I thought DeSean Bishop ran extremely well tonight,” Heupel said. “Without watching the film, I’d say probably his best football that he’s played this spring. He’s a guy coming back off of an injury that is getting more comfortable as he’s gone through this spring.

Tennessee returns to the practice field Saturday to close out its third week of spring ball.

The Orange & White Game is set for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff in a limited capacity Neyland Stadium on April 13. Pregame and postgame festivities outside the stadium, highlighted by the Vol Village Music Festival and a watch party in Lot 9 are scheduled.

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