Tag Archives: Coleman Thomas

Updating the (very) early Vols’ depth chart after a weekend of practices

Marquez North faced reporters for the first time on Saturday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee won’t even put pads on for the first time until Tuesday, so our early spring depth chart is premature at best.

The depth chart is best viewed as a constantly evolving document rather than a permanent fixture. It’s certainly not the “official” depth chart — to the extent that such a thing even exists right now. But it does reflect our best guess based on watching a limited portion of practice and talking to players and coaches.

This depth chart also includes updated numbers and weights from the newly refreshed official roster.

The full numerical roster is on the main tab. Click each tab to the left to see the projected depth chart at each position.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdEtjYXRMZk1vT1A0TGZWNDlTdWtwY0E&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”600″]

A few notes on some of the changes:

* I moved Von Pearson up the ladder after he appeared in the “first unit” during drills and had a very solid few days of drills.

With only eight healthy scholarship receivers, all eight would likely play in a hypothetical game if the season started today. The actual depth chart will become more clear as UT decides how it’s going to handle the slot receiver position in the absence of Alton “Pig” Howard. Pearson is getting a look at the spot, but Johnathon Johnson is also likely to play a lot there.

* We now have at least a framework for the offensive line. Dylan Wiesman could still push Kyler Kerbyson for a guard spot, or push Coleman Thomas for a starting job, which would slide Kerbyson to tackle. But because of his versatility, Wiesman would be a good “sixth man.”

* I think we’ll see plenty of cross-training in the secondary this spring, which will make it difficult to sort out where all the pieces will fit until August. I get the sense that coaches really like Emmanuel Moseley, but he will have to gain some pounds this summer.

I did this pre-spring rundown (linked below) with Vince Ferrara a few days ago, but most of it has held up pretty well since the start of spring.

In new roster release, Vols added 284 pounds: See the gainers and losers

Jordan Williams is up to 272 pounds in the latest roster release (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee unveiled an updated roster over the weekend, which means we can now see “officially” what players have been saying informally for months.

The team, collectively, is considerably bigger than it was this time last year.

Individually As a whole, the Vols gained 419 pounds and lost 135 since the last roster update to net a 284-pound gain. (Although UT may have edited some players, I don’t believe the roster has gone through wholesale weight updates since August of 2013).

What stood out?

* Most of the defensive ends are bigger, including young players like Kendal Vickers and Jaylen Miller who you would expect to put on pounds.

* Coleman Thomas, a freshman who is working at first-team tackle, is up to 311 pounds. If he’s not SEC-ready, it won’t be a size issue.

* Brendan Downs is down 20 pounds to 228. Initially, I thought that might be a typo, but fellow tight end A.J. Branisel also dropped 11 pounds to 224. A strategy to make the tight ends more nimble? A coincidence? A typo? I’ll try to find out. (Update: I’m told the lower weights are, in fact, accurate as listed.)

* Receiver Von Pearson dropped four pounds but gained two inches. So there’s that. I doubt he went on a growth spurt at age 23, so we’ll try to get clarification on that too. (Update: I’m told 6-foot-3 is the official height.)

Other roster notes…

* There are a handful of new numbers. Most notably, freshman cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is now No. 12.

* Two walk-ons — linebacker Taylor Spivey and offensive lineman Jay Heins — are no longer on the roster.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGNNZFRyeWNST3BaMGtvQk9NU3Nwd2c&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”600″]

Tennessee spring football 2014: The offensive line

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=1&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”540″]

With spring practice starting this week, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: the offensive line. 

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014 than the offensive line.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=2&range=a1%3Al7&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”330″]

Continue reading

Tennessee football position preview: Offensive line starting anew, but Marcus Jackson could help ease transition

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=1&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”540″]

The first in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in three months.

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — It’s appropriate to begin our series of offseason previews with the offensive line. Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=2&range=a1%3Al7&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”330″]

Continue reading

Tennessee’s 2014 class gets 3 commitments in 3 days, including 4-star Todd Kelly


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s 2014 recruiting class grew over the weekend, adding commitments from offensive lineman Coleman Thomas, defensive back Todd Kelly Jr. and receiver Neiko Creamer.

Kelly and Creamer are both Tennessee legacies, sons of defensive end Todd Kelly and cornerback Andre Creamer, respectively.

In that sense, Tennessee was expected to get both players. But to get them this early, and in doing so generate positive momentum for Butch Jones’ first full recruiting class, was especially important.

Continue reading