Pig Howard on the reaction around campus to his fumble: “All positive. Not one person came and said anything negative about it.” Howard said he even had a nice talk with AD Dave Hart.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — One day after Butch Jones reopened the race for Tennessee’s starting quarterback job, he also decided to keep any secrets from leaking out about who the choice might be.
For the first time in recent memory, media were not allowed to video or photograph Tennessee’s practice on Tuesday. Jones allowed reporters to watch a small window of practice, but it offered no clue about the Vols’ quarterback race.
Unlike last week, when freshman Josh Dobbs worked with the scout team, all four quarterbacks were working out with the main unit.
Dobbs and fellow true freshman Riley Ferguson are pushing for playing time against starter Justin Worley and redshirt freshman backup Nathan Peterman.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The pre-practice stretch period is a time when Butch Jones usually imparts serious messages. So there was a look of mild concern among players when he announced, “I want you to know, I cut somebody today.”
He was met by silence.
“Do you know who I cut?”
“Look around and see who’s missing.”
Finally, players caught on. No. 98 Daniel McCullers was gone.
In his place, was No. 63.
“I want everyone to welcome No. 63, Dan McCullers to the team,” Jones said.
Everyone started clapping. The media put down their rosters and stopped hunting for a missing player.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After 48 hours away from the practice fields, players returned on Thursday to higher expectations from coach Butch Jones.
“Nice and fresh!” he yelled. “You oughtta be nice and fresh.”
We’ll find out later if Jones noticed any rejuvenation. For now, here are some post-practice notes:
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — One day after an open session at Neyland Stadium, the Vols were back on the normal practice fields.
A heavy morning rain gave way to some sunshine, so Tennessee stayed outdoors for the workout.
The Vols will have one more practice on Monday before taking off Tuesday and Wednesday to get players ready for the start of school. (Although as Butch Jones would point out, there are no true off-days. They just won’t practice).
Here’s what we learned from Sunday’s session:
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There’s a nice symmetry to August. A bad performance by a unit one day is usually followed by a bounce-back performance the next afternoon.
Sometimes the coaches orchestrate the ups and downs. But on Saturday morning, the defense’s dominance appeared genuine.
In a wide-ranging, hour-long situational and special teams scrimmage at Haslam Field, the Vols defense clearly won the day.
Or at least the morning. There will be another scrimmage this evening at Neyland Stadium. Don’t be surprised if the offense looks better.
Plenty of meaty observations today…
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Tennessee football team will have its first two-a-day session on Saturday, later than most of its SEC peers.
The academic calendar at UT pushes the summer session well into camp, which makes two-a-days almost impossible until classes and exams wrap up.
Butch Jones and the Vols will make the most of their opportunities on Saturday, going with a special teams scrimmage in the morning session and a situational scrimmage at Neyland Stadium in the evening. Read all about it here. We’ll have full coverage on the blog and GoVolsXtra.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Thursday morning’s practice started with excitement.
“This one is for soft-batch cookies!” Tennessee coach Butch Jones shouted into the microphone during one of the pre-practice player battles that occurs when players gather in a circle at midfield.
Our ears perked up! Cookies? Alas, it was a metaphor, and there were no actual cookies.