For the first time since classes started, the Tennessee Volunteers football team stepped onto the practice field on Thursday in what was one of the last practices of fall camp before the official beginning of preseason practices and game week prep. Rain clouds loomed overhead as the team took the field, but no rain ever fell and practice went on like normal.
There was a lot of wide receiver/quarterback work done during today's practice, as all three scholarship quarterbacks took turns pinpointing passes to receivers in routes versus air. Josh Smith and Von Pearson made several nice grabs during the first drill when receivers were fading to the sideline. Vincent Perry also showed good burst after the catch, and Jauan Jennings is looking more and more like a natural receiver with each passing practice. There is still some technical aspects he needs to develop, but Jennings has the physicality and athleticism to play even as a freshmen.
In the second drill between receivers and quarterbacks, the receivers lined up at about the five yard line and attempted to catch jump balls in the corner of the end zone. A member of the staff played defensive back and had a pad wrapped around their arm to use to make contact with the receivers. Josh Malone lined up and received plenty of physicality from the staff member, but he was able to turn around and make a solid touchdown grab with both hands grasping the ball. Pig Howard was able to tap in one foot as he made a touchdown catch, and Von Pearson made a diving catch as he fell out of the end zone, but he dragged in a toe before falling out.
Punting may not be as big of an issue as originally thought for this team, as both Tommy Townsend and Trevor Daniel have both continued to boom punts and are churning out more consistent kicks with every practice. Offensive line is continuing to work on getting a good push, but more progress needs to be seen there still.
The Vols will take the practice field on both Friday and Saturday to finish out fall camp. Next week will be the official start of preseason practices before the first game against Bowling Green on September 5th.