KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee did some team work in the early session of Monday afternoon’s practice. The brief window offered few concrete details, but did reinforce how difficult it is for freshmen quarterbacks to win a starting job in August.
We’ll have more after we talk to coach Butch Jones and players later this evening.
* Among the notable plays from our view of the team work was a bad snap by third-string center Dylan Wiesman, a freshman, that sent quarterback Riley Ferguson scrambling after the ball.
Ferguson later threw an interception right in the numbers of safety Tino Thomas.
Co-third-team quarterback Josh Dobbs didn’t fare better, as he dropped a snap that hit off his hands in the last play we saw of the team drills before we had to leave for the evening.
* As for the depth chart, quarterback Justin Worley, freshmen receiver Marquez North, running backs Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane and tight end Brendan Downs worked with the first team.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman led the second team, while freshmen Ferguson and Dobbs split time with the third team.
* Some members of the third-team defensive line were late coming on the field, prompting line coach Steve Stripling to throw his hat down.
* New receiver Johnathon Johnson fumbled (possibly out-of-bounds, it was hard to see) after catching a pass, earning the ire of both his position coach and Butch Jones. The receivers in general seemed to have a rough day, as we saw drops in drills by Paul Harris, Josh Smith and Ryan Jenkins. However, freshman Marquez North and sophomore Jason Croom continue to look very smooth.
* Butch was extremely hard on new tight ends Quinn and A.J. Branisel, calling on them to be tougher and more “violent.”
* The injury list is a little longer today, as safety LaDarrell McNeil joined fellow safety Byron Moore and linebackers Christian Harris and Justin King in “the Hole,” the fenced area for rehabbing players.
* UT running backs coach Robert Gillespie was displeased with Rajion Neal’s execution of a drill during period five of practice.
Neal was still running laps when practice was closed to the media after period seven.
* There was a new banner hanging from one of the camera towers at Haslam Field on Monday. See the photo below.
KNS sports reporter Brendan Quinn contributed to this blog.