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August 8, 2014

Quick HiTs: Jones urges tempo, competition

On the eve of their first two-a-day practice, which includes Saturday night's closed scrimmage, Tennessee worked Friday afternoon on Haslam Field with Butch Jones barking almost non-stop and SEC Network crews filming camp for the second day in a row.

The Vols conducted a number of situational competitions as Jones urged tempo in all facets, with a heavy emphasis on offensive line and defensive line battles. Tied at four wins for each side of the ball, the offensive unit was declared a winner by Jones after getting a do-over following an offsides penalty whistled against Dimarya Mixon.

With senior quarterback Justin Worley exclusively at the helm in that setting, Tennessee got strong runs on separate plays from both Marlin Lane and Jalen Hurd. Curt Maggitt showed athleticism and awareness in securing edge containment on one rep, while Dillon Bates also read a play extremely well but stumbled slightly in getting denied the tackle. Still, the play showed more of Bates' impressive instincts and understanding of the game.

And, really, that continues to be the case with Todd Kelly Jr., who has looked fluid and also very football-savvy.

It was not a good day for freshman offensive lineman Ray Raulerson, who had a couple of bad snaps and also was defeated in some individual drills.

Jashon Robertson continued to impress on the offensive side of the ball, with the powerful freshman guard from Nashville advancing to the second level and blocking Bates during the OL/DL work.

Jones, stressing details, fundamentals and energy, also made the offense re-break the huddle at least once, maybe two different times. Don Mahoney also was animated over the offense's body language in the huddle.

A.J. Johnson watched the entire drill from behind the defense and barked instructions at his linebackers. Johnson even barked at the opposing running backs to stop running outside during an interior drill.

Marquez North had a light day as coaches kind of keep North on a "maintenance" plan, so to speak. North is so physical and practices such that coaches want to be precautionary with North's health. With extra reps to go around, Josh Smith continued to step up from a leadership standpoint and was helping guys like Von Pearson and others on some technique stuff. Smith continues to draw praise for his play and for his ongoing improvement at the position. So, too, does Johnathon Johnson also continued to garner praise for his consistent, workmanlike approach. In a crowded, deep and talented group, the oftentimes forgotten Johnson still is working toward carving a role on the offense.

In the 'Black Hole,' at least at various times, were Dylan Wiesman, Rashaan Gaulden and Michael Williams. Gaulden for the second day in a row continued to work with trainers in jogging drills as he looks to bounce back from an early sprain. Austin Sanders was in a green, non-contact jersey while Alton 'Pig' Howard shed his green jersey and returned full-go. Derrell Scott likewise was far more active today.

VolQuest.com has a photo gallery, video highlights and many other items, including Jones' reaction, as well as that of players, coming immediately after practice. We'll post updates to the General's Quarters, as well as our Twitter handles: @John_BriceVQ; @Brent_Hubbs; @VolQuest_Rob; @VolQuest_Paul; @GrantRamey; @AustinPriceless.


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