KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Butch Jones turned his team loose for a five-play, goal-line scrimmage Friday afternoon, and the defense got the better of it.
Jones allowed the media to watch as junior Quinten Dormady and freshman Will McBride took turns behind center from the 3-yard line.
Jones said after practice that redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano was excused from practice because of a death in his family and was returning to Knoxville on Friday night.
The scrimmage started with Dormady firing a touchdown strike to sophomore receiver Brandon Johnson on a corner route. Johnson fought through tight coverage from defensive back Rashaan Gaulden.
Senior cornerback Justin Martin denied Johnson an opportunity to come back for the ball on the second play, as Dormady threw incomplete on the first of four straight wins for the defense.
Linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. brought the heat on the third play, forcing the quarterback to throw the ball away.
It was freshman safety Theo Jackson draped all over tight end Eli Wolf on the fourth play, stripping the ball from the redshirt sophomore and preventing McBride from recording the TD pass.
Jackson had the black stripe removed from his helmet after practice — a right of passage — as did freshman tight end LaTrell Bumphus.
The final play of the short goal-line scrimmage saw McBride roll right and have the ball stripped loose. Defensive lineman Alexis Johnson nearly came up with the interception.
Formations, injuries and personnel sets are not permitted to be written about, and no video or pictures were allowed.