Tag Archives: Tom Smith

Departure of 3 players slims Vols’ scholarship roster for new arrivals to come (with updated roster)

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The expected attrition on Tennessee’s roster is already under way.

Running back Tom Smith, defensive back Tino Thomas and receiver Paul Harris are moving on and have been given releases to transfer to other programs.

The only mild surprise among those three players is Harris, who arrived in January to lofty praise from coaches. But he struggled mightily in spring and never was able to turn a corner in the fall. With an influx of new receivers on the way, his best chance at playing time had already come and gone.

Thomas was a grayshirt who signed in 2011 but delayed his enrollment until 2012. He finally played a few games on special teams in 2013, but his contributions were limited beyond that.

Smith actually did quite well in garbage-time opportunities in spring and some early-season games. But his chances of ever having a meaningful role as a running back were slim. And unlike fellow reserve running back Alden Hill, Smith never caught on as a special-teamer.

There could be more departures to come, of course, but the Vols already have plenty of breathing room under the 85-man scholarship limit. By my unofficial count, the Vols have 55 players on scholarship, but that includes some former walk-ons who could be dropped back down to walk-on status.

Even beyond that, there are plenty of other candidates for attrition among scholarship players. But coaches won’t have to press that issue until the summer.

Tennessee football depth chart: A position-by-position glance at the Vols’ depth

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s new depth chart released on Monday didn’t reveal any major surprises, but it did show the Vols’ depth issues with more vivid clarity.

The receiver spot, for example, may lack SEC talent or experience. But it doesn’t lack in numbers. The defensive tackle position has SEC-level talent, but worrisome depth. The cornerback spot? Well, some fear it has all the above.

The chart above is my best interpretation of Tennessee’s complete depth chart, listing every player on the roster. (Some late-arriving walk-ons are not yet listed, as they have not been officially added to the roster. That could happen as soon as today).

A few things I found interesting…

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Tennessee football practice: Vols back on practice field, as Butch Jones preaches defense

Mark Elder, Woody Quinn

Tight ends coach Mark Elder talks to tight end Woody Quinn during practice at Haslam Field on Aug. 9, 2013, in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones challenged the defensive line on Friday after early-practice struggles during team work.

When the offense plowed into the end zone on a running play, Jones bellowed, “We can run all day! Soft!”

Later, he challenged nose tackle Daniel Hood to exhort his teammates and insisted the unit raise their fists after a third-down stop.

“We’re going to stop the run around here,” Jones said.

We’ll have some more later tonight and Saturday morning after post-practice interviews.

* We saw some punting on Friday. As expected, Michael Palardy worked with the ones, while Matt Darr worked with the second group. They called out the “get-off time” for each punt, which the Internet says should be about 2 to 2.1 seconds. I heard UT’s time range from 1.98 to 2.01 seconds. My sense is that Palardy is well ahead in this race.

* First-team quarterback Justin Worley had a scheduled non-throwing day, going through the motions but resting his arm. Redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman took reps with the first team, while freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson worked with second and third teams.

* Jacques Smith sported a hard-cast from hand to elbow, protecting his surgically repaired right thumb. The Vols’ senior defensive end still donned a jersey, working the sidelines as a cheerleader. Jones is expected to address the injury to Corey Vereen after practice today.

* Running back Tom Smith, linebacker Curt Maggitt, tight end Justin King and strong safety Byron Moore all wore green non-contact jerseys. Receiver Paul Harris and tight end Alex Ellis worked on the sidelines.

* Media heard a new addition to the motivational stylings of Butch Jones. Following 11-on-11 action, the UT coach uncorked this one: “Taking someone’s soul – that’s how you play football!”

* A few walk-on roster moves: Longtime walk-on fullback Austin Bolen of Farragut has moved on. New additions are quarterback Tyler Page and defensive back Tyler Coombes. Both were with the unit in the spring and had planned to join the team when rosters expand in two weeks. Instead, they’re here now.

Reporter Brendan F. Quinn contributed to this blog.

#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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Butch Jones challenges players on last Tennessee practice before spring break

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s sixth football practice — and the final one before a weeklong spring break — was just as physical as the last two.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones set the tone during the early stretching session, yelling into the mic, “The soft guys will get exposed!”

Jones was particularly active on the mic today, calling out and challenging players — sometimes playfully, sometimes not.

“We’re fighting for blades of grass today,” he said several times.

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