This Saturday’s Vols football scrimmage offered plenty for media and students alike to see, as students were permitted to attend the last scrimmage before the Orange and White game next Saturday, April 12th. There was a heavy emphasis on the run game, and we may finally be seeing some separation in the QB competition. Here is what stood out in Saturday’s scrimmage and drills:
- The 4-man QB race may finally be narrowed down to just two, as senior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson received the majority of the 1st team reps in drills and in the scrimmage. Dobbs and Peterman were primarily with the 2nd team offense, and neither of them really saw time during the scrimmage or situational drills.
- Of the two QB’s who got the most playing time, Worley looked the most consistent, but Ferguson showed the most potential for big plays once again. Worley was impressive at times, tossing a dart to the corner of the endzone on one drive and throwing another TD to Von Pearson in another. He did, however, hold on to the ball too long and take a costly sack, and a couple of his passes fell short once again.
- Riley Ferguson started out slow, throwing an interception to Jalen Reeves-Maybin in the endzone. He recovered from his bad start and tossed a couple TD’s in the scrimmage parts of practice. He ended poorly, however, taking a sack in a situational drill near the end of practice where coach Butch Jones had the team line up in a “final 3 seconds of the game” situation, causing Jones to yank him and put in Peterman. He also threw an interception earlier in the situational, but it was called back due to pass interference on the defense.
- The redzone defense was stout multiple times during the practice, and a “bend but don’t break” mentality for the defense might be developing as a result. Team speed looked a little better, but players like Devrin Young were still able to reach the edge before the defense got to them most of the time.
- Von Pearson made several big plays, but his biggest wouldn’t have even counted had it come in a real game. He took the hand-off an a reverse and ran in a 30 yard TD, but tight end Alex Ellis was called for holding on the play, which negated the big score.
- Devrin Young saw most of the punt and kick return duties, but Cam Sutton turned heads during one of his returns. Sutton took a deep punt all the way back for a TD, and this could possibly turn into a position battle worth watching in the fall.
- Corey Vereen and LaTroy Lewis were some of the more impressive players on defense during the scrimmage and situational drills, as both had a sack and tackles for loss, and both showed great burst and quickness off the line consistently.
- Jalen Hurd had some good moments and showed some good toughness, but he made a crucial mistake that drew the ire of Butch Jones late in practice. In a goal-line situational, Hurd fumbled the ball and the defense recovered. Butch preached the importance of holding onto the ball in the redzone, yelling “Turnovers in the redzone take points off the board.”
- The kicking game was once again inconsistent, but there was slightly more good than bad from both Bullock and Brodus. The competition for the starting kicker will only heat up in the fall when Aaron Medley joins the team, and the added competition is well needed.
The Vols will have 2 more practices this upcoming week, and next Saturday marks the annual Orange and White game, which will be open to the entire public, and admission is free. Butch Jones is encouraging an even larger fan turnout than the 61,000 that showed up for last fall’s intrasquad game.