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March 14, 2014
Quick HiTs: Hurd breaks out in 1st scrimmage, more news
Working inside a windy Neyland Stadium Friday afternoon, Tennessee conducted a full-squad scrimmage confronting a variety of situations in the Vols' fifth session of spring camp.
Suffice to say, Tennessee showed flashes on both sides of the ball but also showed the Vols' coaches just how far the team must progress across the final 10 spring practices once they return from spring break on March 25.
Operating the first-team offense, Justin Worley led an opening-possession touchdown drive when he converted on third-and-goal from the 11, scrambling to his right and perfectly placing a toss across a defender into the arms of Daniel Helm.
But Worley later in the scrimmage had what head coach Butch Jones termed a "catastrophic" play when Worley was pressed and floated an interception to LaDarrell McNeil into the middle of the end zone.
Jalen Hurd, getting considerable work with Marlin Lane dressed but not participating after breaking a bone in his left hand, probably shined the most. On multiple instances, Hurd severely shook Vol defenders and also added a long, 24-yard run late in situational work.
Additionally, Hurd plowed in for a couple of touchdowns but also was intensely instructed by Robert Gillespie, Vols running back coach, for not cutting more directly upfield on a couple of open runs.
The Vols opened on offense with Von Pearson, Josh Malone and Marquez North at the wideout spots; Alex Ellis was first tight end but didn't play extensively. Alden Hill was the first running back with Lane injured, but Justus Pickett also got some work at tailback Johnathon Johnson got slot receiver work, but Josh Smith showed up with some big plays and eventually scored on a wide receiver screen. Jason Croom, who had a couple of drops, had a crucial block on Smith's TD.
The Vols were a mixed bad on special teams, with punter Matt Darr booming some punts but hovering around the 2.0-second get-off time when Jones urges for just less than that time at 1.96.
Defensively, after some struggles, the Vols' stop-unit got progressively better. It forced back-to-back three-and-outs late-scrimmage in some ones-versus-ones scenarios. Additionally, Corey Vereen really got untracked against Dontavius Blair as the scrimmage progressed. Vereen had two sacks within just a few snaps of one another and also scored on a Joshua Dobbs fumble.
Kenny Bynum, who got extensive work with senior middle linebacker A.J. Johnson largely held out per coaches' choice, made a variety of nice plays.
Full scrimmage coverage all evening on VolQuest.com.
VolQuest.com will provide daily Quick HiTs from each of the Vols' spring practices. Additionally, we'll have in-depth videos, stories and analysis as well as updates on the message board and via staff twitter handles, which are as follows: @Brent_Hubbs; @VolQuest_Paul; @John_BriceVQ; @GrantRamey; VolQuest_Rob; and @VolQuest_Rivals.