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September 18, 2013

Quick HiTs: Vols' lineup shuffling?

Again with Florida's fight song blaring and 'Gators' logos on several helmets, Tennessee returned to Haslam Field Wednesday to continue its preparations for Saturday's showdown at Florida.

And the Vols are still shuffling pieces and seeking answers on both sides of the ball. Who cracked the starting lineup --- at least early on during practice?

It wasn't on the offensive side of the ball that Tennessee had an early newcomer starting; freshman walk-on Devaun Swafford took the field first in the Vols' nickel package on defense. Virtually every other defensive starter remained status quo, with Jacques Smith again out there at end following his return from pre-season surgery on his hand.

Offensively, while both Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman did some early work throwing with the first- and second-team wideouts, it was Worley who headed to the field first against the Vols' first-team defense as the open portion of practice came to a close.

That came after first-year head coach Butch Jones vocally challenged all of his players, particularly his seniors, and worked up-close on special teams for punt return and punt coverage.

Alton 'Pig' Howard continued to do light work in his bid to return from a hamstring injury that denied Howard playing last week at Oregon. Johnathon Johnson did some light work but mostly conditioning. Curt Maggitt remained in full-go, orange uniform but has again gotten only limited reps.

Brian Randolph and Dontavis Sapp still donned green jerseys, but both players are expected to start Saturday in The Swamp.

The Vols also looked at a number of different offensive line combinations and continued to work Jacob Carter, Marlin Lane and Paul Harris among a number of other players at punt returner. Harris has stepped up and emerged in recent weeks and could become a bigger factor, particularly on offensive in certain situational settings.

VolQuest.com will tweet and post notes immediately following today's post-practice comments --- and will do so each day of practice. Additionally we will have a variety of content items this evening from assistant coaches' comments and have podcast and predictions on Friday. Staff twitter handles are: @VolQuest_Rivals, @VolQuest_Paul, @VolQuest_Rob, @AustinPriceless, @John_BriceVQ and special contributor @GrantRamey.

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