KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Two days before the Orange & White game, Tennessee went through every possible in-game scenario at Neyland Stadium on Thursday.
Even the basics — like pre-game warmups and post-game procedures — were outlined by the staff.
Both coordinators said to expect a fairly vanilla look. With a first-year coaching staff, the Vols have no desire to give away secrets to opponents.
“We don’t want to show them every wrinkle,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian.
More notes from Thursday….
* Offensive lineman Zach Fulton joined “The Hole” — Tennessee’s injured player list. Antonio “Tiny” Richardson greeted Fulton with, “Look, we’ve got a new member.”
Fulton is likely to play on Saturday, according to coaches. The others — including receivers Jacob Carter, Jason Croom and Paul Harris — won’t be active for the game.
* The drone was back, and getting some incredible airtime. I made a Vine of it here.
* The Vols’ pre-game procedure includes a huge circle and a lot of hand-slapping. You’ll see it on Saturday. The post-game look appears to include a visit to the band for some singing.
* Receivers coach Zach Azzanni continued his role as among the most brutally honest of Tennessee’s assistants.
Of course, Azzanni is working with a group that lacked experience and has thinned out even more this spring.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “More than I thought we would (at this point).”
* Azzanni said he continues to be disappointed in the lack of leadership, although part of that is a product of lack of experience.
“These guys have no idea how to work and no idea how to win,” he said.
* Asked which walk-ons had taken advantage of the spree of injuries this spring, Azzanni didn’t hesitate, naming Nashville’s Sam Cranford.
“He’s been one of our most consistent receivers,” Azzanni said. “He’s dropped some passes, but he’s been thrown into the fire. He’ll be a solid contributor. We want him to stick around.”
* As far as that last sentence goes, Azzanni also made clear that not all of the current walk-ons will make the team in the fall.
“They’re not all going to be back,” he said.
* Bajakian said he would be focusing on “effort and tempo” on Saturday, as the schemes probably won’t be as complex as they might be in a real game.
“It’s not as much an issue of depth as the spring game being on TV,” he said.
* Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez said freshman Jalen Reeves-Maybin won’t be moving to another position — at least not without a fight.
“He’s a safety. We recruited him as a safety,” Martinez said.
As far as the dire depth situation at running back (this year) and linebacker (next year), Martinez said his group isn’t immune from those worries.
“We need depth at safety, too.”