KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After a day off Thursday, Tennessee was back in action Friday, once again practicing indoors to avoid the frigid temperatures in town.
I don’t think that will be an option in Nashville on Dec. 30, but I’d bet the Vols move outside sometime in the near future.
While in full-pads, Tennessee again worked on lots of fundamental and individual drills in the final open practice the media will see until the Music City Bowl workouts after Christmas.
Tennessee will have closed practices Saturday and Sunday. After some early workouts next week, the team will be released to head home for several days before returning right before Christmas. The Vols depart for Nashville on Dec. 26.
There was no “Circle of Life” drill Friday, but Tennessee went right into 1-on-1 pass rushing drills after stretch.
Notable matchups included …
* Coleman Thomas completely standing up mammoth defensive tackle Charles Mosley, evoking a holler and hug from offensive coordinator Mike DeBord. Mosley fared better in several other reps, though.
* All-American end Derek Barnett straight whipped Drew Richmond and Marcus Tatum with a pair of quick dip moves, but the undersized freshman did perform admirably against senior end Cory Vereen later in the drill.
* Senior center Dylan Wiesman got the best of tackle Kendal Vickers on one rep.
* Darrell Taylor got stoned on one rep.
* Quay Picu bested a couple freshman and walk-ons.
Later during media viewing, the defensive linemen worked on a similar drill against dummies under the watchful eye of position coach Steve Stripling.
Other practice observations …
* Green, non-contact jerseys stayed the same: tailback Alvin Kamara, linebacker Darrin Kirkland and nickel back Rashaan Gaulden.
* While watching running back drills, freshman tailback Carlin fils-Aime looks like he’s added some real muscle late this season.
* The quarterbacks — Josh Dobbs, Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady — all threw the ball quite well Friday. Interestingly, the media wasn’t allowed to record the pass-skeleton drill Friday — perhaps due to a new set of combo-routes on the tree? Or maybe because the receivers had the dropsies on Tuesday? Either way, the entire group had a much better day. Will note: freshman LaTrell Williams did appear to tweak his hamstring on one corner route.
* During the 1-on-1 drills early, the rest of the team worked a lot on special teams — punt and kickoff return.
* Willie Martinez had the defensive backs running a drill focused on getting your head turned around to locate the football in the air … that certainly was an issue for the Vols secondary throughout the season.