Tennessee football practice quick hits: Shells on and intensity heats up

Alex Ellis, Tennessee

Tennessee tight end Alex Ellis looks in a pass from the JUGS gun during a practice drill on Aug. 4, 2013 at Haslam Field in Knoxville. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee players wore shells (shoulder pads and helmets) for their third practice on Sunday, so while full-pad hitting is still a couple of days away, there was room for a little more contact.

We’ll talk to players and coach Butch Jones when practice ends this evening. For now, here are some quick observations from the media viewing period.

* The first of several one-on-one competitions at midfield featured running back Alden Hill against linebacker Kenny Bynum. Because these scrums are surrounded by a wall of players, we didn’t see who won.

* The coaches get revved up for these mano y mano drills too. We saw defensive backs coach Willie Martinez jump on somebody’s back to get a better view.

* Martinez praised junior cornerback Justin Coleman during drills, singling him out to younger players as an example of how to do things. At one point, he said Coleman didn’t need to do a certain drill again because he’d done it perfectly both times.

* Martinez got one freshman for lagging toward the back of the line: “You’re always last! Why is that?”

* More freshman-related banter. Jones (sans mic) to one freshman receiver: “We can’t babysit you all the time!”

* Jones’ hoarse voice, by the way, was not much better. It may have been worse. We’ll see how he handles the post-practice press conference.

* Safety Byron Moore joined linebackers Justin King and Christian Harris in the injured area on Sunday.

* As was the case in a spring, a ton of players were getting work on the return team, including receivers Alton “Pig” Howard, Vincent Dallas, Josh Smith, Devrin Young, MarQuez North, Johnathon Johnson and Jacob Carter and running back Marlin Lane.