KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mike DeBord is the first to admit he has lots of talented players at his disposal in the Tennessee offense, and from the sounds of his press briefing Friday, a couple more will be added to the mix.
“I think the guy who has stepped up is John Kelly,” DeBord said, taking the conversation in the direction of the sophomore from Oak Park, Mich., when asked about stars Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara “He’s a guy that really has improved his game and we really feel good about him right now, and we needed that.”
DeBord, who’s entering his second season as UT’s offensive coordinator, seems fine with Hurd and Kamara.
Incoming freshman Tyler Byrd is another player who has turned heads in camp, running the fastest speed on the team as timed by the Vols’ “catapult” metrics, and winning a spot in the rotation in the slot.
“I don’t think there are any weaknesses there, he’s just continuing to learn the offense,” DeBord said. “Tyler is smart, and he has great athletic ability and great skills. He just continues to get better every practice.
“We’re happy with where he’s at.”
Larry Scott — UT special teams coach and Former Miami (Fla.) — recruited Byrd out of Naples.
“You watched Tyler over the years, he was always a jack of all trades,” said Scott, who has Byrd working as a return man on special teams units. “He was really good at whatever position he played.
“He’s one of those guys you put in the category of being just a football player.”
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee athletics for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s SEC Country and lives in Knoxville.