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Tennessee football practice observations & notes (Aug. 2)

Tennessee Volunteers football practice (Aug. 2, 2014)
Tennessee Volunteers football practice (Aug. 2, 2014)
Vince Ferrara - Knoxville

Practice 2 (August 2)
The offensive line looked similar to practice one in one drill. It was the same first team that finished-up spring practice.

Some of the University of Tennessee football freshmen
Vince Ferrara - Knoxville

LT-Jacob Gilliam
LG-Marcus Jackson
C-Mack Crowder
RG-Kyler Kerbyson
RT-Coleman Thomas

Punt Returners – Day 2 (in no particular order)
Cam Sutton
Jacob Carter
Alton Howard
Von Pearson
Vic Wharton
Evan Berry
Devrin Young
Josh Malone

After practice, Butch Jones singled out three players for their excellent performance so far: TE Ethan Wolf, WR Vic Wharton and WR Josh Smith. During questions, he also spoke glowingly of RB Jalen Hurd and WR Von Pearson.

The team will practice in “shells” on Sunday. Monday’s practice has been moved from a night practice to 4pm.

The quarterbacks were slightly more accurate than yesterday. Dobbs, again, had some overthrows. When he misses throws, it is usually high. That has to be corrected because in games, overthrows over-the-middle turn into interceptions. Butch Jones won’t stand for that.

Justin Worley is finally showing more commanding leadership skills. You could hear him from the sideline encouraging receivers. He also physically went to a number of teammates in-between drills to pat them on the shoulder pads and helmets. That’s a little more of what Butch Jones is looking for from his quarterback. I thought the starting job was Worley’s entering camp. I feel stronger about that after two practices. There is still a long way to go in fall practice, so we’ll see.

Butch Jones has a lot more players that look like SEC players in uniform. The difference in the size and athleticism of the younger players brought in by Butch Jones is clear and impressive. Some of them are raw though, so it will take some time for some of those guys to play like legit SEC players. Todd Kelly Jr., Cortez McDowell, the Berry Twins, Dillon Bates and Treyvon Paulk are just a few that have huge thighs for their size. The results of the weight program are evident in the players sooner than we’ve seen at UT in many years.

Butch Jones emphasized the importance of special teams to 5-star freshman RB Jalen Hurd. Hurd is in the mix at kickoff return right now.

Vols wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni quizzes the wide receivers before some drills start. He does that by making them yell out the answer to details they need to focus on in a particular drill. It takes an extra few seconds, but it looks like it gets those guys focused. I think the receivers have had a nice start to camp. Vic Wharton has caught my eye with his speed, burst and focus. Clearly, Butch Jones has noticed as well.

I really like what I continue to see from TE Ethan Wolf. He’s been working some with the first team at TE. I talked to Wolf after practice about the physicality, toughness and swagger he plays with. He played some defense in high school. He told me he loves to hit people, and maybe playing defense had something to do with that.

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