Tennessee Vols Coach Butch Jones seemed a little more happy with his teams progress in a scrimmage under the lights at Neyland Stadium. In watching his interview after the scrimmage at UTSports.com he seemed generally pleased. It was a “guarded” pleased, but any kind of pleased is good for Vol fans.
The Vols offense ran 90 plays in the first “test” of the Fall practice sessions. Make no mistake in that this was a test. Think of it as a summer session in College where everything is taught quicker because of the lack of time. You cram a lot of information in quickly, and then you are tested on that material to see if you are retaining that knowledge. That is what this scrimmage was for the Football team.
According to UTsports.com the Vols practiced with the coaches off of the field. The young team had to think on their own, and simply play football. Coaches will evaluate the tape on the scrimmage to see who has learned the Tennessee schemes and who is playing well within the system.
I do not think there were many highlight plays on the evening, but is sounds as if the offense was very consistent in moving the ball. On the other hand, the fact that the defense made the offense work for every yard is encouraging. On one possession, the ball was placed on the Tennessee one yard line. The situation was to see how the offense would react coming out of its own end zone.
The Vols marched 97 yards in 13 plays with quarterback Nathan Peterman under center, but a undisclosed back fumbled the ball in the end zone on play 14. The drive was great, but the Vols need to finish that drive in order to win. On the other side, the fact that the defense played hard and did not concede a touchdown is what the defensive coaches are looking for.
It sounds as if all three quarterbacks had good nights, and that snaps were divided pretty equally. Jones actually singled out Peterman and Worley with good performances. Pig Howard had another good night. He is just a playmaker. I keep wanting to hear the names of Malone, Pearson, and North being called out for their plays, but it seems to be Howard as well as Josh Smith that keep making plays that are talked about openly.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brentwood Academy Freshman Derek Barnett continues to grow up and make plays at big times in practice, and he did again during the scrimmage. He may get a starting role as Defensive Tackle in this defensive line. Regardless, he will play a lot as they rotate to keep an inexperienced and not so deep group as fresh as possible.
Another surprise that we keep hearing about is the young Freshman corner Emmanuel Moseley. Moseley was a slightly built three star db out of North Carolina when he signed. He has bulked up (a little anyway) and is causing havoc in the passing game. Worley commented that Moseley was playing extremely physical in press coverage and that he was extremely hard to throw against at this point.
This is an interesting surprise, and one that is needed desperately to provide depth. I am not hearing Cam Sutton’s name much at all. I think Cam was one of the most consistent players on the defensive side of the ball opposite Justin Coleman at Corner. It may be that they know what Cam brings, and sometimes consistency becomes a given with some players.
All in all Jones was complimentary of the effort from his team. He preaches effort at every turn for these kids. Whether it is in the classroom, or coming out on the field to practice, max effort is to be given. He knows this team will have no margin for error in any game this year. Tennessee will have to play with maximum effort each down of the season, and keep mistakes few in order to win at all.