Vols Football: Notes from Saturday’s Practice and Scrimmage


Offensive lineman Dontavius Blair, quarterback Joshua Dobbs, running back Jalen Hurd, and others stretch before practice for the Vols on Saturday. PHOTO: Nathanael Rutherford

The Vols were in Neyland Stadium once again on Saturday, and you could not have asked for a better day for some spring football practice.

The Vols started with their usual individual and unit drills to begin practice, then the last three periods were all scrimmage and situational work. Running back Alvin Kamara was back with the team, but he didn’t participate in any of the scrimmage work.

Wide receiver Pig Howard was seen in a green non-contact jersey today as well, joining running back Jalen Hurd and wide receiver Marquez North as Vols wearing the green jerseys.

Here are some notes from today’s practice and scrimmage:

  • Cam Sutton still looks to be the punt returner heading into the 2015 season, and he did nothing to lose his job today. Sutton ripped off a 40-plus yard return on a punt before scrimmage started that saw him weave past a few defenders and scamper down the sideline.
  • The 1st and 2nd team offenses and defenses haven’t changed much in the last week, but Malik Foreman saw a lot of time at the corner spot opposite Cam Sutton, and Rashaan Gaulden saw time at the nickel cornerback spot. Dontavius Blair is still with the 2nd team offensive line, but he didn’t look bad today.
  • The scrimmages saw the Vols work through several different situations in order to test their mettle. The first portion saw the Vols offense backed up at their own goal line and had to advance it as far as they could. Next came a standard overtime possession at the 25-yard line, then situational overtime drills where the defense was up 3, 6, and 8 points.
  • On one possession, the Vols offense technically scored 3 touchdowns on one drive, but the first 2 were called back because Jalen Hurd and Josh Dobbs were “touched down” before they crossed the goal line. But walk-on running back Jayson Sparks finished off the drive with an actual touchdown.


While the offense has been the focus of the first two-plus weeks of spring, the defense came to play today. The offense never looked fully comfortable during scrimmages today, and the defense had several big stops, including a safety and a ball that was almost intercepted by Todd Kelly Jr. that ended a drive. The defense was aided by several drops on the day, however, as the receivers had a lot of trouble hauling in passes on multiple occasions.

Sophomore kicker Aaron Medley was put in pressure situations during the scrimmage, and for the most part he delivered. He nailed a 46-yard field goal (which would’ve tied his career-high in an actual game) in one of the overtime sessions, missed a 34-yarder that would’ve “won the game,” but came back to hit another 34-yard one on the next possession.

Evan Berry continues to impress this spring. The sophomore didn’t make an interception in the open portion of today’s practice, but he did have some huge hits on receivers. One hit popped the pads so loudly that everyone on the offensive sideline reacted when it happened. Evan Berry can do a little bit of everything for the Vols, so it will be interesting to see where he lines up if he cracks the two-deep depth chart in the fall.

The offensive line had their moments today, but overall they were less impressive in today’s practice and scrimmage. The line was called for a couple of holding penalties during the scrimmage, and they allowed a safety at the goal line. The running game had a few good plays, but overall there wasn’t a great deal of push for the Vols running attack.