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August 16, 2013

Quick HiTs: Jones challenges special teams

Tennessee initiated the 15th day of its pre-season camp Friday on Haslam Field with a pair of early two-point conversion plays with the first- and second-team offenses opposing their counterparts.

On the opening conversion attempt, quarterback Justin Worley --- who continues to garner the majority of first-team snaps during open periods --- hit Brendan Downs as he dragged across the field from right to left.

Nathan Peterman opened with the second-team offense and threw an interception to Max Arnold, who broke brilliantly on the pass and stepped in front of Devrin Young before Young had the opportunity to turn around and find the football.

The Vols then worked extensively in special teams --- and quickly drew the ire of head coach Butch Jones when the punt unit badly malfunctioned. Jones jerked players off the field and also alternately used the terms "synchronized softness" and "Bad News Bears" to describe his squad's effectiveness.

In some one-on-one pass skeleton and team work, Worley opened up with a trio of targets to freshman wideout Marquez North. The former U.S. Army All-America selection snagged the first toss down the left sideline and also worked a curl and crossing route. An incompletion to Rajion Neal was more because of good coverage than poor offensive execution.

With Peterman at the helm, Jason Croom caught a pass but was forced to fumble by Christian Harris. Peterman hit Jacob Carter on a crossing and Riley Ferguson connected with Croom on a short crossing pattern, but Curt Maggitt brought down Croom despite a stiff-arm attempt.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin has worked his way into the second-team rotation at linebacker in the nickel defense. Tom Smith continues to work on some starting roles in special teams.

As Rob Lewis tweeted earlier today, Johnathon Johnson and Jaylen Miller are the latest newcomers to have the black stripes removed from their helmets.

In the 'black hole' for rehab today at various points were: Michael Williams, Paul Harris, Jacques Smith, Ryan Jenkins, Johnathon Johnson, Matt Giampapa and Michael Palardy all worked at times there. It appeared Giampapa and Palardy were sent to the hole after some special teams work was ineffective.

VolQuest.com will tweet and post notes immediately following today's post-practice comments --- and will do so each day of camp. Additionally, we will have videos, a photo gallery, notes and multiple stories throughout the evening and into Saturday morning before the Vols conduct their first two-a-day practices, including a night scrimmage. Staff twitter handles are: @VolQuest_Rivals, @VolQuest_Paul, @VolQuest_Rob, @AustinPriceless, @John_BriceVQ and special contributor @GrantRamey.

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