KNOXVILLE — Coach Butch Jones opened Tennessee’s second practice with a spontaneous call for one-on-one matchups between receivers and cornerbacks.
The receivers went 3-0 against the DBs in the Red Zone drill:
• Brandon Johnson beat fellow freshman Baylen Buchanan.
• Freshman Tyler Byrd beat junior D.J. Henderson.
• Junior college transfer Jeff George beat freshman Marquill Osborne.
That’s where much of the early practice good news ended for the Vols pass game. There were several drops and off-the-mark passes littering the remainder of the first five period drills the media was allowed to watch.
Quarterbacks Josh Dobbs and Jarrett Guarantano both overshot receivers when there were no defensive backs in coverage. The arm strength was there, the accuracy was not.
As much as anything, Jones’ drill served its purpose of getting practice off to a quick start and reminding players they could be called on to perform in front of the team at any time.
• Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and defensive lineman Austin Smith remained in green, no-contact jerseys. Both appeared to be moving at full speed in drill work.
• Receiver Jauan Jennings continues to sport a green jersey, also, and does not appear to be up to speed quite yet.
• Defensive lineman Shy Tuttle, who practiced on a limited basis on Monday in a green jersey, was not seen on the field through the first five periods.
What we know
• LaTroy Lewis and Danny O’Brien were working with Tuesday’s first-team on the defensive line, joining Derek Barnett and Kendal Vickers in the first four of drill work. Lewis and O’Brien have made an early impression as two of the more improved players entering fall drills.
• Evan Berry and Alvin Kamara are obvious front men on the kick return, but freshman Tyler Byrd also was getting some work catching kicks.
• The battle for the second cornerback and nickel positions continued. Justin Martin continues to be pushed by Emmanuel Mosely and Malik Foreman faces a challenge from Marquill Osborne.
Quote of the day
“Every ball should be caught.” — Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee for SEC Country and lives in Knoxville.