The InsideTennessee.com staff of beat reporters hasn't missed a Tennessee
football practice since Josh Woodward took over as the magazine and website's publisher.
Stationed at various parts of Haslam Field, Neyland-Thompson Sports Center and Shields-Watkins Field, the crew is taking in the Volunteer workouts with a watchful eye to keep its site subscribers as educated on the Big Orange as possible.
Saturday morning was no different as InsideTennessee ventured to another spring practice to get as much information, photographs and video footage as possible.
Here's a look at what stuck out to us:
Mother Nature cooperated rather nicely for the first spring scrimmage of the Butch Jones era in Knoxville. With the exception of numerous wind gusts, the environment at Neyland Stadium was gorgeous.
As we noted in Gate 21, it was family day as parents and siblings of current Volunteers and coaches flooded into the stadium. After the practice, they all met up on the field and posed for pictures, including one group shot. Everyone then went to the NTSC and had lunch before departing.
A majority of the 2013 signing class was on hand, including A.J. Branisel, Joshua Dobbs, Malik Foreman, Ryan Jenkins, Brett Kendrick, Jaylen Miller, Marquez North, Austin Sanders, Josh Smith, Cameron Sutton and Dylan Wiesman.
Head coach Butch Jones barked instruction and words of encouragement from a hand-held microphone and his voice bellowed throughout Neyland.
Numerous former Vols came out once again, including Erik Ainge, Tyler Bray, Sterling Hinton, Justin Hunter, Malik Jackson, Herman Lathers, Xavier Mitchell, Will Overstreet, Nick Reveiz, Mychal Rivera and Dallas Thomas.
Donning yellow/non-participant jerseys were Curt Maggitt, Justin Meredith, Brian Randolph and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Lathers joined in for calisthenics for a spell and spit words of encouragement for Meredith.
From the offensive side…
Quarterback Justin Worley threw one touchdown to Alex Ellis in a goal-line situation. Slot receiver Devrin Young and tight end Brendan Downs also caught TD passes.
Worley missed Alton Howard wide open in the end zone on one occasion but the sophomore wideout caught a pass up the right sideline and made numerous defenders miss before being tackled just short of the end zone.
Nathan Peterman had a nice scramble 15-20 yards down the sideline.
The starting offense included Worley, Young, Jacob Carter, Jason Crom, Downs, Marlin Lane, Marques Pair, Alex Bullard, James Stone, Zach Fulton and Ja'Wuan James.
From the defensive side…
After a botched handoff between Peterman and a running back, cornerback Riyahd Jones swooped in, scooped up the football and raced to the end zone for a well-received defensive touchdown.
Linebacker Dontavis Sapp figures to be A.J. Johnson's back-up and the senior has added good weight in the offseason and is playing with confidence.
Defending seam routes continues to be an issue. Howard and Cody Blanc both scored the D on routes between the numbers.
Jones stopped practice and had a heated discussion with the defense about keeping opponents out of paydirt in red zone situations.
The starting defense included Johnson, Brent Brewer, Jacques Smith, Daniel McCullers, Daniel Hood, Marlon Walls, Justin Coleman, Daniel Gray, Jaron Toney, Byron Moore and LaDarrell McNeil.
Here are a trio of Vols and coach Jones speaking on camera at Neyland:
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