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April 8, 2014

Quick HiTs: Vols hold maximizing Tuesday

It was a fundamental, technique, correction day for the Vols in what was called maximize Tuesday as they opened the final week of spring practice with the first of four workouts this week, which includes Saturday's Orange and White game.

For the receivers, it was a bounce back day after suffering a bout with the drops on Saturday. Head coach Butch Jones routinely challenged that group to not let the ball hit the ground. He also challenged their attention to detail in route running, noting that anyone can run a take off or a go pattern.

It was another day of special teams work with the Vols going through a live rep of kickoff return. Devrin Young handled that duty while walk-on Derrick Brodus handled the kicking. Brodus' first kick was a poor kick resulting in a do-over and the only time Jones tells his players to walk.

After the poor kick Jones quickly hit the microphone telling the coverage team to walk back for the re-kick and not to run noting that it's important they walk and not jog so that they can catch their breath and be at an optimum level for the re-kick.

In addition to the live kick, the team also worked individual special teams drills on blocking included in that drill work were almost all the newcomers like running back Jalen Hurd. Hurd by the way was not sporting the elbow brace on Tuesday.

Jones also put his team through a team 11-on-11 period which was clearly designed to stretch the defense and get them to swarm the ball and to get the next call as the offense tried to go really fast and most of the plays were sweeps or wide running plays. Marquez North, Josh Malone and Von Pearson all got opportunities with the jet sweeps with the first team. Jonathan Johnson had the most productive carry going about 15 yards on the second unit. Freshman Daniel Helm did have a nice 15-yard catch from quarterback Riley Ferguson over the middle taking a solid collision which prompted praise for Helm from the head coach. The two new tight ends continue to be very productive this spring.

On the offensive injury front, Jason Croom (shoulder) practiced but was in a green jersey. Offensive lineman Austin Sanders was back out on the practice field but in a green jersey as well. Sanders has been dealing with an upper extremity injury.

For the defensive front it was largely again about being explosive and getting off blocks. Memphis native Jason Carr continues to work as a defensive lineman even though Jones hinted last week that a position change to offense could be coming. At the linebacker spots, A.J. Johnson again set the tone running sideline to sideline in the 11-on-11 work and clearly the first defensive unit swarmed better to the ball than the second.

Also, freshman Jakob Johnson continues to work at defensive end. Johnson had a sack in Saturday's work from that position.

On the injury front defensively, Devaun Swafford and Max Arnold were both in green non-contact jersey's.

Tennessee's assistant coaches will meet the media for the final time this spring after Tuesday's practice. We will have full coverage from them tonight and tomorrow. The Vols will practice again on Thursday and Friday before Saturday's spring game which is expected to be a true game format in the first half and likely more of a situational setting with the 1's going against the 1's instead of the teams being split up and drafted.

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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