Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez addresses the team during the team's opening stretching session. PHOTO: Nathanael Rutherford

Notes from Vols' 3rd Practice

The Tennessee Vols took the field for the third consecutive day on Sunday, and Butch was not happy with how this one started.

The Vols came out in helmets and shoulder pads today, and once the team started stretching, things got dicey.

Butch made the team restart their stretches three times, and after the third time he told the player staff to go to “the pit,” a section of the practice field reserved for isolation. The player staff are the leaders of the team, and Jones was unsatisfied with how they were leading the practice.

The player staff was made up of Justin Worley, Joshua Dobbs, Nathan Peterman, A.J. Johnson, Curt Maggitt, Brian Randolph, Corey Vereen, Mack Crowder, Marquez North, Jordan Williams, Marcus Jackson, and Marlin Lane.

The rest of the team circled up into the “Circle of Life” drill where Jones would call out two players to take each other on one-on-one. The drill delayed practice from starting a good fifteen to twenty minutes. Afterwards, Jones addressed the team and voiced his disappointment with their intensity and how the team started the day.

Butch Jones and his assistants were all over players today if they slacked off for even a minute. Devaun Swafford, Jaylen Miller, Kendal Vickers, Justin King, and Von Pearson were just some of the players who were called out at some point during practice today.

Once again, there was a large focus on special teams, as Jones oversaw both punt and kickoff return drills. Players who saw time as punt returners were Von Pearson, Cam Sutton, Josh Malone, Jacob Carter, and Emmanuel Moseley.

Here are some quick notes from the third day of practice:

  • As of today, Josh Dobbs seems to be a little behind Justin Worley in terms of the QB competition. Dobbs overthrew several receivers during passing drills, and his timing was off on several other throws, causing the receiver to move to catch the ball.
  • Pig Howard is making strides even this early into practice, as he looked better running routes and brought in the play of the day when he snagged a one-handed catch during quarterback-receiver drills.
  • Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez wants freshman Todd Kelly Jr. to be more vocal when addressing his teammates on changing coverages and recognizing offensive sets.
  • JUCO transfer linebacker Chris Weatherd was exposed a little in pass coverage during the quarterback-receiver drills, but he showed good recovery speed when chasing down the tight ends.
  • Freshman tight end Ethan Wolf once again impressed, showing good vision and some shifty footwork to bring in a couple passes during passing drills.


The tight end position might be the most improved unit on the team this season. Freshmen Ethan Wolf and Daniel Helm have brought up the talent level of the tight ends significantly, and they are making a statement to be No. 1 and No. 2 on the depth chart.

There is still very little separation in the QB battle, but Worley does seem to have an upper hand because of his consistency and leadership. Worley is the most vocal quarterback on the practice field, and he is more consistent with his throws than either Josh Dobbs or Nathan Peterman.

The defensive line is progressing slowly but surely, and players such as Jordan Williams, Jakob Johnson, Curt Maggitt, Danny O’Brien, and Corey Vereen all look bigger and attacked well today.

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