Category Archives: Practice Reports

Tennessee football practice report: Phillip Fulmer visits with Butch Jones (with practice video and photos)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was a guest at Tuesday’s practice at the Anderson Training Center.

Fulmer, who was on crutches, spoke with Jones before the start of the workout.

The Vols moved indoors because of heavy rain (and expected snow later tonight).

Tennessee (4-7, 1-6 SEC) plays Kentucky (2-9, 1-6) on Saturday (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.)

Check out some photos (above) and videos (below) from Tuesday’s session.

Tennessee football practice report: Butch Jones invites coaches to join in competition (photos)

Butch Jones directs Daniel Hood (97) to place a ladder near the end zone for a practice drill. Jones had several players race each other at the Nov. 20, 2013, practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones added a new twist to the ladder runs that are a staple of his practices on Wednesday evening.

He called for competitions between prominent players and even got coaches into the act. Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen raced quality control assistant Terry Fair (and lost). Special teams coordinator Mark Elder started stretching out of concern that he might be next. With one coach already on the shelf due to injury, you can’t be too careful.

More practice photos are below. Watch in your highest HD setting for best results.

Tennessee football continues special teams focus in preparation for Vandy (with practice video, photos)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After spending the bye week indoors, Tennessee moved back outside on Tuesday afternoon.

The temperature plummeted when the sun went down, but that didn’t stop offensive line coach Don Mahoney and tight ends coach Mark Elder from donning shorts. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie was on crutches and was sometimes driven around the field on a motorized cart. Gillespie was injured in the first half of the Auburn game while celebrating a touchdown.

The media viewing period contained more special teams coverage work. Michael Palardy boomed some incredible punts in the early period.

Watch the video montage in the highest possible setting for best results. We’ll have less mournful video later this evening.

Mark Elder: ‘Lost leverage’ led to special teams woes (video)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee special teams coordinator Mark Elder said Saturday’s loss to Auburn was “not a good day” for his unit, which allowed two touchdowns on long returns.

Elder said small mistakes can quickly balloon into big ones on special teams.

“When you have a missed tackle, it’s critical, because it’s a lane of about five yards,” Elder said. “If you miss a tackle in that lane, shoot, there’s not someone for another handful of yards. Special teams really emphasizes if you have a mistake, it gets blown up even bigger because you’re in big space like that.”

Check out post-practice video below for some clips of the brief media viewing session on Wednesday afternoon.

GVX Reporter’s notebook: Vols practice ‘in the fast lane’ Wednesday night (with video and photos)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee added the Eagles to its practice playlist on Wednesday night.

The Eagles are performing Thompson Boling Arena, so “Life in the Fast Lane” was blaring during the pre-practice period. Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez seemed to enjoy it, although most of the players were probably oblivious.

Fortunately, we quickly returned to A$AP Ferg before too long.

Trivia question of the day, shared by Butch Jones on the mic: “Who has more sacks: A.J. Johnson or Cam Sutton?”

(Answer: Sutton).

We saw more of the same special teams drills that we did on Tuesday, with an emphasis on tackling and wrapping up returners.

The Vols also unveiled black jerseys for the scout team, which will be playing Vanderbilt.

We talk to assistant coaches Wednesday night. No Butch Jones, and he also gets a break from Vol Calls because of the off-week.

Some scenes from a receivers’ drill.

GVX Reporter’s Notebook: Vols’ emphasis on tackling, special teams on Tuesday (with video)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee allowed two touchdowns returns on special teams in a loss to Auburn on Saturday, so it wasn’t surprising that special teams was a heavy emphasis during the media practice viewing period on Tuesday.

Of course, special teams is always heavily emphasized during practice, which is one of the many reasons Saturday’s special teams disaster was so surprising.

Butch Jones emphasized violent thuds and wrapping up returners during one drill on Tuesday.

There were no obvious new injuries aside from the usual group that is playing through lingering injuries.

We’ll have more later tonight after interviews with Jones and players.

Tennessee quarterbacks warm up before practice on Nov. 12, 2013. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

GVX Reporter’s Notebook: Butch Jones continues quest to root out ‘softness’ (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones suggested a “fan poll” on Wednesday for the athletic department’s official website: “Who is softer? Player A or Player B?”

(He actually named his culprits, but we’ll leave that part out).

The only meaningful tidbit from our brief viewing period was seeing receiver Alton “Pig” Howard in a green, non-contact jersey. Howard appeared to be going through practice normally, so the jersey was probably just precautionary. Freshman tight end A.J. Branisel and safety Brian Randolph also wore green on Wednesday.

Branisel and Johnathon Johnson caught passes in the team period we saw.

Assistant coaches talk to reporters after practice today. Jones will be on Vol Calls tonight.

Here’s the video from Tuesday’s practice session:

After 1st start, Joshua Dobbs makes media debut (with video)

Joshua Dobbs

Josh Dobbs meets with reporters on Tuesday night (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — True freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs made his first appearance in front of reporters after Tuesday night’s practice.

The brief, unannounced visit with media produced nothing earth-shattering, but offered at least a brief glimpse of the 18-year-old who rapidly became one of the most prominent players on the team.

He was, of course, asked about his aerospace engineering major.

Here’s more video from Dobbs’ interview.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones typically doesn’t allow freshmen to talk to reporters. But he said he thought Dobbs was ready.

While you’re here, check out today’s practice report and our weekly GVX Spotlight.


GVX Reporter’s Notebook: Vols physical in Tuesday practice (with video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones delivered on his promise of a physical practice on Tuesday — at least in the brief viewing period open to the media.

The Vols (4-5, 1-4 SEC) play No. 7 Auburn (8-1, 4-1) on Saturday at Neyland Stadium (TV: ESPN, noon).

Tennessee lost to Missouri 31-3 last week and Jones said the Vols were dominated on both lines of scrimmage.

Jones referred to the offensive line as “Club 90” on Tuesday for the number of rushing yards Tennessee managed at Mizzou.

He interrupted the pre-practice stretch — “Listen, we don’t need no elaborate stretch!” — for his Circle of Life drills, which are essentially one-on-one blocking competitions in front of the entire team.

“Everybody wants in (to the Circle) until you’re hit in the mouth,” Jones said.

We’d need another two or three entries for all the players who got called out as soft today. But his banter with running back Marlin Lane was most humorous.

After criticizing his weight room efforts, Jones asked running backs coach Robert Gillespie, “Robert, why do you have bigger traps (trapezoid muscles) than your running backs?”

Another line to Lane, a Daytona Beach, Fla., native: “We’re working on a trade to Bethune-Cookman.”

How much actual hitting took place after we left is unclear, but give Jones credit for advancing the storyline effectively while we were there.

* The only players in green non-contact jerseys Tuesday were true freshman tight end A.J. Branisel and safety Brian Randolph. Both players have been wearing green for weeks and still playing in games. Safeties Byron Moore and LaDarrell McNeil and cornerback Justin Coleman were all in orange.

* Lot of good music today, including B.o.B., 2Chainz and apparently unedited Young Jeezy. Song of the day, however, was “Tha Block is Hot” (feat. Juvenile and B.G.), which was on Lil’ Wayne’s debut album in 1999.

Tennessee football practice report (video)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Check out the video above for a brief look at our brief viewing period on Wednesday.

Quarterback Justin Worley was at practice, sporting a cast on his hand and a sling on his arm.

Butch Jones offered a curious comment on the mic, telling players to turn on the TV tonight at 8 p.m. for “inspiration.”

Was he referring to the World Series?

WWE Main Event?

An all-new episode of Survivor?

UPDATE: We’ve found a possible answer. Cincinnati plays Memphis tonight. I’m still going to watch the World Series.

We’ll talk to assistants after practice this evening. Check here and my Twitter for any updates.

And don’t make fun of the video too much. It’s a work in progress.