The Vols had their very first fall practice tonight, August 1st. The players came out without pads, ran some light drills, and started to get back into the swing of things. It was the first time since the spring for returning players to take the field, and it was the first time ever taking the field as Vols for some incoming freshmen.
Here’s what we saw from the first day of fall practice for the 2014 season, specifically with the running backs and punt returners:
- A large amount of players were put back to field punts. Returning players such as Alton “Pig” Howard, Cam Sutton,Devrin Young, and Marlin Lane were sent to return punts, along with newcomers Von Pearson, Josh Malone, and Vic Wharton III.
- Freshman Jalen Hurd was an early enrollee and was able to practice with the team in the spring, but fellow freshmen running backs Treyvon Paulk and Derrell Scott saw their first action on the practice field with the Vols tonight.
- Hurd still looms over every other running back on Tennessee’s roster, and he looks even more impressive after adding on a few pounds since the spring. Hurd is up to 227 lbs now, looking more like a big receiver than a running back.
- Senior Marlin Lane has stepped up as a leader for the young stable of running backs. During the individual running back drills, Lane acted like another coach, yelling instructions to the younger backs and coaching them along with their technique.
- The younger running backs (Hurd excluded) looked raw, which was expected for their first time on the practice field. Their techniques were a little sloppy and they didn’t possess the power Lane and Hurd showed.
- From the reps given during the practice session, Lane and Hurd are the leaders at running back and will likely remain so unless Devrin Young or one of the freshmen has a superb fall.