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March 25, 2014

Quick HiTs: Jones urges urgency from Vols

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones met with his football team on Monday and the message was simple. Improve your effort and change the style of play. Jones delivered the message as the team reviewed the scrimmage the tape and did up-downs for loafs.

Tuesday as the Vols hit the indoor practice field for the first time in 10 days, Jones implored, loudly over the microphone, for players to improve their habits as the day was mostly about fundamentals.

On the injury front, running back Marlin Lane was back on the practice field. Lane missed the Wednesday workout and Friday scrimmage --- though Lane had dressed for the scrimmage --- before spring break due to a fracture in his hand. Lane wore a heavy wrap on his left hand in Tuesday's work. Walk-on offensive lineman John Simcox didn't practice as he was on crutches.

Defensively, Jason Carr remains very limited with a cast on his left wrist. Carr was injured in the Wednesday workout before the pre-spring break Friday scrimmage.

Tennessee has welcomed back Keith Pantling to the administrative staff. Pantling originally came with Jones to Tennessee to work in the recruiting office, but left to pursue other opportunities. He is back taking over the role held by Chris Spognardi, who was promoted to director of football operations when Brad Pendergrass resigned back in February. Another familiar face on the practice field Tuesday was former Vols assistant coach Steve Caldwell, now an assistant at Boise State. Caldwell was joined by his son, Lendl Caldwell.

On the field, Jones couldn't return to work without ushering his players back with their circle-of-life drill. Gerald Orta battled Alden Hill while LaTroy Lewis took on Austin Sanders. Rookie tight end Ethan Wolf battled fellow midtermer Neiko Creamer. Dylan Wiesman and Dimarya Mixon also did work in the circle, as did Marcus Jackson against Jordan Williams --- who was playfully told by Jones he was his "favorite player for the day." That battle lasted through two or three whistles.

Jakob Johnson took on Kenny Bynum, largely to a standstill though Johnson ultimately took Bynum to the ground. Woody Quinn apparently took on Derrick Brodus near the end of the Vols' circle work.

From there, it was heavy fundamentals. Some kickoff work, some extra points and some shooting the lanes in return work. Additionally, quarterbacks worked heavy fundamentals on swing passes to the tailbacks out of the backfield.

Defensively, line coach Steve Stripling went heavily into agilities and fundamentals.

In the secondary, Emmanuel Moseley continued to rep ahead of Malik Foreman at one cornerback opposite Cam Sutton, with Justin Coleman still at nickel.

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.


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