Tag Archives: Jason Croom

Tennessee spring practice 2014: The receivers

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With spring practice less than a week away, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: the receivers. 

Receivers coach Zach Azzanni (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian during practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There have a few changes which could alter the spring depth chart. First, here’s what I wrote a few months ago.

Marquez North emerged as a big-play threat in his freshman season with the Vols.

In an offense that struggled to throw downfield, he was sometimes the only big-play threat.

The good news is that North was still raw for much of his debut season and he should improve after a year of coaching.

Alton “Pig” Howard should hold down the slot position if he stays focused on off-the-field responsibilities. Coaches thought he turned a corner in maturity in the 2013 season, but they still have some lingering concerns about his ability to lead by example.

Jason Croom and Josh Smith shared the third receiver spot, although Croom began to pull away as the season progressed. I’m told there are no plans to move Croom to tight end, where he had worked some earlier in his career.

Only two players are leaving (see below). Vincent Dallas departed mid-season, while Josh Harris was the most surprisingly of the three players who were given their release earlier this month.

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Dallas had bounced between receiver and defensive back during his career. Harris was only a freshman, but his best chance to make an impact may have already come and gone during 2013.

There are reinforcements coming.

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Tennessee football position preview: Vols will have more options at tight end in 2014

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

Tight end Brendan Downs (KNS photo by Adam Brimer)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — By the end of the season, Tennessee’s second-string tight end was a recently converted quarterback.

That former quarterback, walk-on Joe Stocstill, was one of the pleasant surprises of 2013. Even so, coaches have no desire to repeat the scenario in 2014.

Two highly regarded freshman tight ends will enroll next week, which should give offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian some more flexibility this spring.

Everyone on the current roster except for Joseph Ayres will be back in 2014. Ayres suffered a career-ending ACL injury early in the year. He could have been a valuable reserve if he had stayed healthy.

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Tennessee football position preview: Receivers will face competition from new faces

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The third 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.

Receivers coach Zach Azzanni (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian during practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMarquez North emerged as a big-play threat in his freshman season with the Vols.

In an offense that struggled to throw downfield, he was sometimes the only big-play threat.

The good news is that North was still raw for much of his debut season and he should improve after a year of coaching.

Alton “Pig” Howard should hold down the slot position if he stays focused on off-the-field responsibilities. Coaches thought he turned a corner in maturity in the 2013 season, but they still have some lingering concerns about his ability to lead by example.

Jason Croom and Josh Smith shared the third receiver spot, although Croom began to pull away as the season progressed. I’m told there are no plans to move Croom to tight end, where he had worked some earlier in his career.

Only two players are leaving (see below). Vincent Dallas departed mid-season, while Josh Harris was the most surprisingly of the three players who were given their release earlier this month.

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Dallas had bounced between receiver and defensive back during his career. Harris was only a freshman, but his best chance to make an impact may have already come and gone during 2013.

There are reinforcements coming.

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Vols wrap up Wednesday practice in chilly weather (photo gallery)

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie talks to running back Deanthonie Summerhill on Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

 

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee practiced for a couple of hours late Wednesday afternoon in Knoxville.

There’s a freeze warning tonight, and it’s already starting to get chilly.

No word on if that’s why a portion of practice was indoors, but as a native Michigander, Butch Jones seems unlikely to worry about a mild chill.

We didn’t get to see much today, but here’s a photo gallery. More notes and quotes coming after we talk to assistant coaches this evening.

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie looks on as running back Marlin Lane (15) goes through drills.

Defensive backs Willie Martinez coaches during a drill on Wednesday (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

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Vols WR Josh Smith is out for South Carolina


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Freshman receiver Josh Smith will miss Saturday’s game against South Carolina with an undisclosed injury.

Smith was held out of practice late this week. In the pregame, he watched from the sidelines in warmups and did not dress out.

Smith’s absence likely means more snaps for redshirt freshman Jason Croom, who has shared co-starter duties with Smith this year.

Tennessee practice highlights from Tuesday (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — This is a bye week, not an off-week, Tennessee coach Butch Jones reminded players (and media) on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s practice video includes plenty of receiver action, some offensive line blocks, some quarterbacks, some Young Jeezy and more.

Watch the video above in your highest available HD settings for best quality.

Tennessee football practice: Curt Maggitt back in orange at Tuesday’s practice (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — By now you’ve read that Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt has returned to the practice fields and could play in Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky.

But do you have visual proof?

Now you do.

Check out the video above. That’s Maggitt, No. 56, wearing orange and enjoying the hip-hop of B.o.B. and T.I. (As always, watch the video in your highest available HD setting for best results).

The practice video was cut short by Butch Jones on Tuesday, who wants to keep some stuff under wraps for this weekend after not showing much in the opener.

The Vols practice on Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. We’ll have more news and notes after practice is over.

Tennessee football practice: Vols return after a 2-day break

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

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:

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#PracticeGram: Scenes from Tennessee football this week

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeButch Jones says there are no off-days in August, which unfortunately proved true for me on Thursday.

But while the Vols had meetings and weight-lifting, they didn’t practice on Thursday.

Tennessee practices on Friday afternoon at Haslam Field. On Saturday, the Vols will have a morning session at Haslam before moving over to Neyland Stadium for a closed scrimmage in the evening.

We’ll have plenty of coverage to come down. In the meantime, here are some images from the last two practices.

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Tennessee football practice: As dusk falls, Vols go one-on-one

Tennessee receivers

Vols receivers work on their hands during a JUGS gun drill in practice on Tuesday. (Photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols went through “Tennessee tough” drills this evening, which are usually some sort of one-on-one blocking or tackling drills.

In most cases, there’s a well-defined winner and loser. (Alas, most of the drills were obscured by players and not in an ideal video-shooting area.).

My favorite part came when walk-on defensive lineman Charles Folger was matched with freshman Brett Kendrick for a one-on-one drill. I’m not sure if he was being serious or sarcastic, but Folger called for Antonio “Tiny” Richardson to go against him. Tiny’s response: “You ain’t ready for me. Take the freshman, boy.”

The horn sounded just before Folger and Kendrick were to go against each other, much to the disappointment of Folger. 

We’ll have more notes and quotes from coaches, plus more photos and videos, late tonight and Wednesday morning.

* The camp gods giveth and taketh away. On Monday, freshman receiver Josh Smith was working with the first team. A day later, he was the lone player in the “Hole,” the fenced area for rehabbing injured players.

* In receiver drills, we saw a couple of really nice catches by Jason Croom and a good one by Devrin Young. Rough day for Paul Harris.

We’ll get some perspective from receivers coach Zach Azzanni after practice.