Tennessee Vols Spring Practice #5

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Fingers

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Running back Cam Seldon remained out Monday morning and will likely not scrimmage on Wednesday. Cooper Mays was back on the practice field in full pads this morning but should be extremely limited for the scrimmage.
As we knew coming into spring practice, wide receiver Bru McCoy, running back Peyton Lewis and linebacker Elijah Herring will not be going through contact this spring. Several others will be extremely limited the next few weeks as well and likely won’t see much contact either. This list includes wide receiver Nathan Leacock, offensive linemen Javontez Spraggins, Masai Reddick and Andrej Karic, linebacker Arion Carter and safety Christian Charles. Offensive tackle Brian Grant remains limited with a foot injury. As Volquest reported Thursday, freshman Kaleb Beasley will miss the rest of spring drills with a lower leg fracture.
Jalen Smith and Keenan Pili won a few reps while Khalifa Keith stood out on the other side.
Freshman Boo Carter continues to impress the first few days of spring. Not saying he’s going to be ready to roll and be a day one starter but his athleticism and football instincts are off the charts. He’s been getting work at both the STAR and safety spots, trying to become as versatile as possible. He is an athlete, after all.
The two tackles working with the first remain to be Lance Heard and John Campbell while the guards are Dayne Davis and Jackson Lampley. Cooper Mays, who was back and drilling today, was getting after the group to get going early on in practice.
It was an overall sloppy period for routes on air. They were working redzone passing from the 20-yard line going in. Freshmen Mike Matthews and Braylon Staley both had one drop while the media was present, and Jake Merklinger missed high on two throws. Still, all those guys followed with making a couple of plays – showing the ability to move on with the drill. Nico made a couple of nice throws during the period and Chris Brazzell made a nice catch in the back of the endzone while taking a hit from a GA holding a pad.
e.cain

There was a notable absence from practice on Monday: Running back Cameron Seldon. The sophomore is dealing with an injury, but we’re not yet fully clear on the details or the extent of it. It is notable that we did not see him working to the side with the other injured/limited players.
So for Monday at least the backfield was short on depth with just two scholarship players in Dylan Sampson and Khalifa Keith, though the Vols probably view DeSean Bishop as more than a walk-on. Freshman Peyton Lewis also isn’t practicing as he is coming off surgery to clean up an issue he came in with. So Keith and Bishop, also second-year players, could be getting a lot of work over the next couple of weeks as it would be wise for Tennessee to be careful with Sampson.
Keith was the standout among the running backs with a couple of good reps against Jeremiah Telander and Kalib Perry. The 6-foot-1, 233-pounder is Tennessee’s biggest running back and naturally he holds up well against hard-charging defenders. He did a good job moving his feet on a couple of reps to keep his man in front of him after the initial contact.
At tight end, Holden Staes followed an initial win against Telander with the sophomore linebacker getting the better of him. Telander might have had the best period among the linebackers as he also got the better of Bishop. Jalen Smith and Kalib Perry also had wins against tight end Miles Kitselman.
In the other group going in this period, freshman linebacker Edwin Spillman remains a bull in a china shop. He’s a physical player. Playing under control and perhaps with more of a plan will come over time.
Caught the last half of Tennessee’s goal-line routes-on-air work. Chas Nimrod, freshman Mike Matthews and transfer Chris Brazzell II all completed contested catches on slant routes over the middle with position coach Kelsey Pope beating them with a blocking pad at the point of the catch. Freshman Braylon Staley had a fastball go through his hands and had to do push-ups for it – the typical punishment for a drop.
Dont’e Thornton Jr. high-pointed the football and got his feet inbounds on a fade/corner route, and Kaleb Webb brought one down in the corner of the end zone after Nico Iamaleava threw just out of reach of tight end Ethan Davis on a flag route from the far hash.
p.brown

White was sharp, making a very impressive one-handed catch on a red zone fade. Iamaleava was relatively sharp though he did airmail one throw to Webb over the middle.
Gaston Moore was the second quarterback to go through drills, throwing to Chas Nimrod, Braylon Staley and Chris Brazzell II. Staley was impressive and a crisp route runner.
Freshman quarterback Jake Merklinger has moved up the order and is now throwing before both Navy Shuler and Ryan Damron. He passed to Mike Matthews, Dayton Sneed and Trey Weary. Matthews had one drop.
Tennessee’s defensive line continues to be the most impressive group on that side of the ball. The Vols returned a number of key pieces at that spot but the development of Daevin Hobbs is an encouraging sign as Tennessee looks to replace Tyler Baron. Stanford defensive tackle Jaxson Moi looks the part as well. He’s bigger than I expected after the Vols landed him out of the portal.
Keenan Pili continues to lead the way in reps for Tennessee’s inside linebacker group. The Vols have a lot of talent at linebacker but it’s all young talent. His ability to be a veteran leader in that room is invaluable.
There was plenty of technique work for Tennessee’s defensive backs. Early enrollee freshman Boo Carter continues to be a compelling piece at safety as he looks to make an impact in a thin room.
r.schumpert

Like last week, Carter went through some drills again with the LBs but is still in no pads.
Obviously Beasley is out for the remainder of spring
A couple of the O-line guys that are expected to start/play a lot like Spraggins and Karic were still off to the side but were moving around fine.
Nico connection with Squirrel White, Dont'e Thornton Jr. and Kaleb Webb looked good. He completed five of six passes to the three in routes on air. Air-mailed one in the back of the end zone to Webb before we went inside.
Squirrel made a nice one-handed grab in the back corner of the end zone on a throw from Nico.
Chris Brazzell II had a strong grab on a throw from Jake Merklinger. Held on after an assistant slapped his arms with the pads right after the catch.
Kennan Pili continues to be a strong presence anytime we watch LBs and looks completely healthy.
n.taylor
 
#3
#3
The dog likes the DL thusfar. Thinks they may be become the boogeymen of the SEC. The cracked crystal still hasn't commented as yet. So, I'm still hoping I get them together to make predictions for the fall.
 
#6
#6
Why is Nico in a knee brace? If it is precautionary, then all QB's should have one on. I just hope Nico is not already nicked up.
 
#8
#8
"Merklinger has moved up the order", backup or 3rd stringer this fall? Nice competition going on.
 
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#10
#10
Why is Nico in a knee brace? If it is precautionary, then all QB's should have one on. I just hope Nico is not already nicked up.
I think he's had that brace on in most previous videos but it's harder to see when he's in the black warm ups.

Why? I've no idea and it's either "off limits" for asking Heupel or the local press needs a curiosity reboot.
 
#11
#11
Spillman sounding like a James Banks 2.0 (on the field not off lol)

Lets hope he can cover a slant pass or TE on a crossing route lol...pretty sure Banks never did. Ever. Loved to watch him hit though because against the run, Banks was nasty and reminded me a little of the greatest ever...#27 Al Wilson. Banks hit those RBs hard enough to make them hesitant to run up the middle. Sounds like Spillman brings the pain too...hes a big kid. We need all the help we can get at LB. Pili will be gone after this season...
 
#15
#15
Lets hope he can cover a slant pass or TE on a crossing route lol...pretty sure Banks never did. Ever. Loved to watch him hit though because against the run, Banks was nasty and reminded me a little of the greatest ever...#27 Al Wilson. Banks hit those RBs hard enough to make them hesitant to run up the middle. Sounds like Spillman brings the pain too...hes a big kid. We need all the help we can get at LB. Pili will be gone after this season...
You're talking about Jeremy Banks?
 
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#22
#22
Freshman Boo Carter continues to impress the first few days of spring. Not saying he’s going to be ready to roll and be a day one starter but his athleticism and football instincts are off the charts. He’s been getting work at both the STAR and safety spots, trying to become as versatile as possible. He is an athlete, after all.
Excellent! It's a no-brainer at this point to put the best incoming all-purpose athlete in the secondary. This staff has already shown they can recruit and develop skill position players on offense.

I'm ready for the next legendary DB like Eric Berry to come through Rocky Top. If he can return kicks like Dale Carter, even better.

Is it me, or does the Kool-Aid taste really good this year?
 
#23
#23
Excellent! It's a no-brainer at this point to put the best incoming all-purpose athlete in the secondary. This staff has already shown they can recruit and develop skill position players on offense.

I'm ready for the next legendary DB like Eric Berry to come through Rocky Top. If he can return kicks like Dale Carter, even better.

Is it me, or does the Kool-Aid taste really good this year?
Most talented roster we have had in quite some time.

Boo can really help the defense with his speed.
Also his change of direction ability in the return game is a huge bonus.
 
#25
#25
I agree Nico is the most important QB we have. I also know wearing a knee brace slows you down due to not being able to move in a natural motion. I understand it can protect your knee, I just find it odd that in a no contact practice he would be wearing a brace unless he is injured somehow.
 
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