Vols Football: Scrimmage Notes


Butch Jones was impressed with the young Vols, but said their inexperience still shows. PHOTO: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The wind ripped and gusted through Neyland Stadium on Friday afternoon, but the blustery conditions didn’t seem to affect the team as the Vols went through their first scrimmage session of spring practices. The Vols went through some typical practice drills such as one-on-one sessions, but the majority of the practice was in scrimmage mode, and all four quarterbacks saw about an equal distribution of snaps. Here is what stood out on today’s practices:

  • Freshman running back Jalen Hurd was the talk of practice today. The physically daunting running back ripped off several big runs and showed good awareness and athleticism by not only juking out defenders, but also by running through tackles and fighting for extra yards. He had big gains and then punched in a couple scores at the goal line as well.
  • Riley Ferguson, Marquez North, Justin Worley, and Butch Jones himself all spoke praise for Hurd. North said Hurd was “dominate out there today” and showed he belongs. Coach Jones states Hurd “ran like we expected him to” and said he is “still getting back into playing shape,” stressing that the freshman should still be a senior in high school and hasn’t played football in about a year due to his injury.
  • Of the four QB’s, senior Justin Worley had the worst day. He started out well and led the 1st team on an 8 play touchdown drive, but it only went downhill for him after that. He took a couple sacks in later drives and was intercepted in the red zone on his last drive of practice.
  • Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson and redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman stood out in practice among the four QB’s, as both seemed a bit more in command than Dobbs and Worley. Ferguson completed the play of practice, tossing a dart to the corner of the endzone that Marquez North impressively brought down for a TD.
  • All the QB’s, with the exception of Worley, ripped off some impressive runs today. Peterman especially looked comfortable carrying the ball, but Ferguson rattled off a few runs that gained 1st downs as well.
  • None of the QB’s had accuracy issues, but a few balls from Ferguson and Worley were thrown low, and Ferguson and Peterman both had balls that were overthrown. Wide receiver depth might still be an issue, as Jason Croom and Jacob Carter both had big drops while they were wide open in the middle of the field.
  • After the practice, Butch Jones stated he was displeased with the defensive energy in the beginning of scrimmage, but he was happier with their approach as the practice went on. They forced several three-and-outs in the latter half of practice and made several big plays, such as the interception in the endzone against Worley.
  • Jones specifically pointed out sophomore Corey Vereen as being “very explosive” today, saying he saw an energy from him today he has not seen in spring thus far.
  • Curt Maggitt played with energy yet again today, getting a big hit on Worley as he sacked him later in the scrimmage.
  • The kicking game looked a little better today, but inconsistency still abounds with this unit. George Bullock nailed a 40 yard field goal early in practice, but a 39 yard one bounced off the left upright later. Matt Darr’s punts looked better today and had good hangtime and distance.