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April 12, 2014
O/W Observations: VQ breaks down day's stars
Tennessee wrapped up its 2014 spring camp, the Vols' second under coach Butch Jones, with Saturday's annual Orange & White Game before one of the larger crowds in recent history for a Tennessee spring game.
The scoring system was nearly as convoluted as the halftime seven-on-seven tournament featuring Vols from previous decades, but the game did showcase some key elements for the future.
VolQuest.com continues its content staple of Quick HiTs with this modified version from today's Orange & White Game featuring quick observations from the press box crew today:
JOHN'S TAKE: The wide receivers stole the day. Period. Tennessee's greater skill talent level was on display plenty of times throughout the afternoon, but no one shined more than rookie pass-catch Josh Malone. And it's testament to Malone's work ethic and competitive nature, as he rebounded from what was a disappointing Thursday practice. Von Pearson also showed just electric burst and a tenacity after the catch.
Defensively, I liked Jakob Johnson showed from a competitive standpoint. And I thought Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Owen Williams showed some tenacity. Corey Vereen didn't have the 'Wow!'-impact of a year ago in this game, but he looked more complete. Jordan Williams is positioning himself to really help this team, both on the field and as a leader.
ROB'S TAKE: Like many people walking out of Neyland Stadium on Saturday, I was really impressed with Josh Dobbs' day. No one was going to win or lose the QB job based on what happened today, but Dobbs made a strong statement, completing 6-of-9 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns while also scrambling for a 60-yard score. Something of a forgotten man in the QB race for much of the season, Dobbs served notice this afternoon that he's going to be a factor in the fall.
PAUL'S TAKE: The first thing that jumped out to me was the day Josh Dobbs had at quarterback. He threw several really nice balls and had probably the pass of the day to Josh Malone on a deep ball that went for 79 yards.
Dobbs had his best day that we've seen in scrimmage setting this spring and I really liked what he got done in the air and on the ground.
Secondly, Malone looks like he's going to be very good. He has good speed and really seems to track down the ball.
Finally, this team is going to need the newcomers this summer to be ready to play ASAP. While they were able to get some pressure on the quarterbacks, they didn't have playmakers and that's the biggest thing missing from this defense right now.
GRANT'S TAKE: Offensive Skill Players: The skill added over the winter - Josh Malone, Von Pearson, Jalen Hurd - stood out Saturday, gelling nicely with the returning offensive playmakers like Marquez North, Marlin Lane and Josh Dobbs. Malone and North had eight catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Hurd led the Vols rushing attack well into the second half and Pearson, even with limited stats compared to others, showed impressive burst and agility.