The Vols prepare for Saturday’s scrimmage (photo by Evan Woodbery)
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There was plenty to like about the way Tennessee’s running game sliced through the defense, but there were enough turnovers to leave coach Butch Jones not entirely pleased the effort on either side of the ball.
The defense, Jones said, needs to develop a line-of-scrimmage mentality to compete in the SEC.
At one point, he shouted to the defense (and specifically the line), “What happens when Alabama comes in here and runs the ball?”
Coach Butch Jones (right) talks with offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian before practice earlier this month at Neyland Stadium (photo by Evan Woodbery)
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee returns to practice on Tuesday for its sixth official session of the spring season.
The Vols last practiced on March 14, a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium. Most players went home for the break, although some — including running back Marlin Lane — stayed in town to work out or rehab injuries.
Lane injured his hand and received treatment over the break. Coach Butch Jones is expected to provide an update on his status Tuesday afternoon, although his return this spring is questionable at best.
Jones and his staff also took a few days off during the break. Jones joined athletic director Dave Hart and UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek in Raleigh, N.C., to watch the men’s basketball team advance to the Sweet 16.
It’s safe to say that with both basketball teams embarking on a deep NCAA tournament run, this week’s football practices won’t be on center stage.
Check out our full coverage on GoVolsXtra this evening, including instant observations, post-interview updates, video and photos.
All assistants signed two-year deals upon being hired. The second year of the deals run from March 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015.
Most of the raise speculation has centered on linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen, the Rivals.com recruiter of the year who helped land several major prospects for the Vols.
But any significant raise to Thigpen might require raises for other coaches to avoid upsetting the hierarchy. After the coordinators, assistant head coach Steve Stripling is the highest paid assistant. Willie Martinez became the second-highest paid non-coordinator when he was given the title “assistant head coach for defense.”
As we said last month, salary adjustments are still possible — maybe even likely. But as of this week, they haven’t taken effect. But we’ll keep checking.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Tennessee football team is on spring break, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are in the NCAA tournament and I’m taking a few days off this week.
But the break is a good time to review the spring depth charts we unveiled a couple of weeks ago. The depth charts are still unofficial — and very speculative — but we have a lot more to go on than we did before spring began.
The scrimmage on Friday provided some useful guidance, although I tried not to overreact to individual performances — especially at volatile positions like quarterback.
You can see the full depth charts above. Listen below for my take on the Friday scrimmage.
Read on for a summary of some of the changes I made to the charts.
* Receivers are cross-training at several positions right now, and with only eight on scholarship, they all got significant looks in the scrimmage. The actual order is more difficult to decipher.
* At running back, I bumped Alden Hill and JustusPickett up a notch. Hill risks being a spring hero for the second year in a row, but perhaps he can translate that spring production into more fall playing time in 2014.
* It’s not clear how serious the injury to Jason Carr is, but his absence leaves the Vols with only four scholarship defensive tackles. (Is it too late to get Gregory Clark to change his mind?) Developing better depth at that position will be crucial this summer.
* Freshman walk-on Colton Jumper soared up the depth chart after he played quite a bit on the second-team defense. That could be due to injuries, message-sending or just the fact that Jumper has had a really good spring. Jalen Reeves-Maybin seems to have a good hold on the third linebacker spot, but he will face challenges from new arrivals this summer.
* The defensive backs depth chart has a little more clarity, as we got a good look at the first and second teams in nickel sets. Brian Randolph will reclaim one of those starting safety roles when he returns from injury.
Coach Butch Jones (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian before the scrimmage (photo by Evan Woodbery)
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones dismissed his players on Friday with instructions to visit with family and get some rest. But he also told them to be ready for football when they return.
The Vols are now in the midst of an 10-day break from practices, but the final practice on Friday was a fearsome one.
Subscribers can read all about on GoVolsXtra or today’s News Sentinel. I’ll update our depth charts with a few tidbits gleaned from the scrimmage later today.
For now, check out some brief pre-scrimmage highlights and some photos and .gifs after the jump.
Butch Jones wasn’t entirely pleased with Tuesday’s practice, the first in full pads. He said some of the newcomers weren’t prepared for the pace. He called out one player for putting his hands on his hips — a big no-no in Jones’ world.
Beyond that, what conclusions can we draw through three practices — 20 percent of the spring total? Not a whole lot. All four quarterbacks are getting reps, and we’ve heard good things about Riley Ferguson. I would still be surprised if there’s a firm decision by the end of spring.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs throws a pass to Justus Pickett (photos by Evan Woodbery)
Running backs break down the huddle during practice (photo by Evan Woodbery)
Depth at the running back spot seems at least serviceable behind Marlin Lane and Jalen Hurd. That’s a good thing because two more scholarship backs are arriving this summer.
Emmanuel Moseley (photos by Evan Woodbery)
In the secondary, coaches clearly like Emmanuel Moseley a lot and are grooming the freshman for a big role in 2014. He’s working as the “first team” cornerback now, with Justin Coleman working at nickel.