Quick HiTs: Jones puts Vols in the circle
Working through its final few practices, Tennessee drilled inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center Tuesday in what are the final few days of Team 117's season.
Though Marquez North did not practice, the freshman wide receiver did interact with the team and did some exercises on the side as he attempts to return from an high-ankle sprain suffered early in the Vols' 14-10 loss last Saturday to Vanderbilt. Tennessee is seeking to avoid its first-ever eight-loss season Saturday night at Kentucky ( 7 p.m., ESPNU).
Also present at practice was freshman tight end A.J. Branisel following his surgery to repair a torn ACL. Malik Brown also was present after an injury weeks ago required surgery and cemented a redshirt season. Dylan Weisman was present but not participating.
Brent Brewer, Drae Bowles, Rajion Neal, Justus Pickett, Jacob Carter and Cody Blanc, who did not dress against Vanderbilt, all were in green jerseys.
Coach Butch Jones then launched the Vols into their most extensive "circle of life" drill of the entire season, with no less than 15 matchups. Once again, Dan McCullers absolutely annihilated Alex Bullard in a showcase battle while backup punters Matt Darr and Trevor Daniel going one-on-one. LaTroy Lewis easily bettered Woody Quinn in another of the many matchups.
The Vols then quickly shifted out of the circle and into intense, full-speed kickoff work with contact in their full-pad uniforms.
Tennessee worked a number of defensive looks and worked against various Wildcat sets that Kentucky could attempt to utilize. The Vols also had Riyahd Jones again working in the nickel position.
VolQuest.com will have full post-practice coverage Tuesday night, including stories on the seniors attempting to leave one final positive impact, Joshua Dobbs trying to keep progressing, Rajion Neal closing in on 1,000 yards and more. Staff twitter handles are: @VolQuest_Staff, @VolQuest_Paul, @VolQuest_Rob, @John_BriceVQ and @GrantRamey. We'll continue Thanksgiving week coverage Wednesday with assistant coaches and more. Brent Hubbs also is crafting a thought-provoking column for Thanksgiving Day.