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Tennessee football practice observations & notes (Aug. 3)

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Practice 3 (August 3)

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This was “Send A Message Sunday” from Butch Jones. That’s not his phrase, that’s Vince’s. Jones made the team re-do stretches because guys weren’t clapping when they were supposed to, and weren’t correct on a variety of other details.

Because of that, Butch Jones sent “The Players Staff” to “The Pit” as a form of punishment for not holding their peers accountable. No one wants to be in “The Pit.” It is a spot in the corner where injured players do conditioning or strength work. Players did many, many crunches, sit-ups, etc. While “The Players Staff” was grueling through that, the rest of the team did “The Circle of Life”. The “individuals” in the players staff were not happy with their teammates while running back to rejoin the team.

This was a clear way for Butch Jones to (as he says often) get this to be a player coached team, not a coach coached team. He wants the players to have ownership in the team, and hold each other accountable.

Butch Jones called-out more guys on the microphone today during our viewing periods than we’ve heard from him the first two days combined. He definitely wants more from some players. He was sending very direct messages and motivating hard most of the time we were there.

The Players Staff (in no particular order)
Curt Maggitt
A.J. Johnson
Jordan Williams
Corey Vereen
Josh Smith
Mack Crowder
Marcus Jackson
Justin Worley
Joshua Dobbs
Nathan Peterman
Marlin Lane
Marquez North
Brian Randolph

Monday’s practice is at 4pm.

The punt returners were the same as we’ve seen the first two days, with the addition of CB Emmanuel Moseley. Moseley dropped one punt that I saw.

I talked to Mike Bajakian after practice about all the balls on the ground that Butch Jones has alluded to, and we’ve all seen during our media period. He said that yesterday the total for balls on the ground was in the high-40s, and today it was in the mid-40s. Those numbers are down from the 62 in practice number one. Bajakian emphasized those improved numbers are nowhere near where it needs to be. Joshua Dobbs continues to be erratic to me. He sailed some passes again today well over the head of intended receivers. He overthrew Josh Malone twice today on separate routes. Malone is a huge target with a nice catch radius. That shows how far-off those passes were. Dobbs also dropped a snap on one drill, which threw off the entire play. I’m surprised, frankly, that Dobbs hasn’t been better. I think he has talent. For whatever reason, it appears he’s not off to a very good start in camp.

The offensive line was the same with the starting five today. Dylan Weisman is nicked-up. He has been off to the side during some of practice. Don Mahoney told me he’s working at back-up center and guard.

We had a chance to see our first competition drill during our viewing period today. The tight ends ran pass routes against linebackers with the quarterbacks trying to complete the pass. Ethan Wolf put a sick move on walk-on linebacker Colton Jumper to get wide open in the middle and catch a pass. I think he’s already UT’s best tight end. I know he’ll make freshman mistakes, but he has all-SEC skills and make-up. I love that guy.

I think the running backs, overall, have had a good camp so far. With the shoulder pads on today, we had a chance to see them deliver blows running with the football. Jalen Hurd is going to break a ton of tackles this year. When he delivers the blow to a coach with pads acting as a defender, it is impressive. Devrin Young has come a long way with his physicality during his time at UT. He now runs like he embraces the contact, and thus bounces off tacklers. Young's first few years he just ran away from contact on offense and in the return game.

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