KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee officially ended training camp Tuesday, completing its final summer practice before school starts Wednesday.
Butch Jones gave a number of veterans the afternoon session off, as a blistering sun cooked the Haslam Practice Field.
The media is not allowed to report who wasn’t at practice Tuesday, but star cornerback Cam Sutton, recently named to the CBS Sports All-American team, tailback Alvin Kamara and safety Todd Kelly Jr. were among those present.
The team worked out in shells, while 7 or 8 players trained in the “The Pit” with strength and conditioning coach Mike Szerzen.
Tennessee’s injury report didn’t change from Monday, as freshmen wideouts Brandon Johnson and Latrell Williams still were absent.
Evan Berry was M.I.A., too, but all three players are expected to return to action by the end of the week, per Jones.
Senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin remained in a green, non-contact jersey, as did lineman Austin Smith. Senior lineman Cory Vereen watched practice from the sidelines without shoulder pads or a helmet.
Once again, defensive tackle Shy Tuttle practiced in a normal orange jersey.
What we know
* As coordinator Larry Scott attested early this preseason, Tennessee doesn’t pay “lip service” to special teams. The first two periods Tuesday focused all on “the third” facet, with players initially catching wet balls Scott drenched with a squirt gun.
Afterward, Tennessee held two live kickoff return drills. Defensive backs Justin Martin, Rashaan Gaulden and Maleik Foreman were among the impressive gunners.
* As Jones noted Monday, the Vols did not force a turnover in Saturday’s scrimmage, so the defense spent several individual periods focusing on stripping and recovering the football. Safeties and corners worked with defensive coordinator Bob Shoop punching the football, while the defensive line did a drill stripping the quarterback from the blindside. Shoop was complimentary of the efforts by freshman safety Nigel Warrior, who continues to impress, and Micah Abernathy.
* A number of position battles remain ongoing, as Chance Hall and Brett Kendrick continue to rotate at right tackle. Drew Richmond, a former 5-star recruit, is Tennessee’s starting left tackle now — just without the official confirmation by the coaches. Meanwhile, Abernathy, Warrior and Gaulden are battling for the starting safety spot, with Abernathy and Gaulden also are taking reps at nickel.
— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) August 16, 2016
* Wideout Josh Malone is nicknamed “Franchise” by a couple of Tennessee coaches. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior has been Tennessee’s most consistent receiver in camp after recording 31 catches for 405 yards and two scores last season. Malone doesn’t have the elite athleticism of Preston Williams or the explosiveness of freshman Tyler Byrd, but he runs great routes and is a leader in the receiver room.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com