"Probably the most improved from spring is Chris Scott," Lane Kiffin said following Tuesday's three-hour practice at the Neyland-Thompson indoor practice facility. "We're very excited about what he's doing and the way he's playing."
Scott, a 6-5, 346-pound senior from Riverdale, Ga., has started 26 consecutive games. The last 18 starts have come at left tackle, where he is entrusted with the vital role of protecting the quarterback's blind side.
Whereas Scott is a proven commodity at left tackle, junior Jarrod Shaw (6-4, 308) and redshirt freshman Aaron Douglas (6-6, 282) continue their battle for the first-team job at right tackle. Shaw has dropped 24 pounds since last season, while Douglas has gained 20 since arriving on campus last fall as a tight end prospect.
"Shaw and Douglas are in a battle there, and (William) Brimfield has gotten some reps, as well," Kiffin said. "It's good to see Aaron Douglas really improve, especially in the run game. He has a lot of work to do in the pass game. Shaw has lost a bunch of weight and has made himself a potential starter."
The head coach is very high on freshman JerQuari Schofield but says the raw rookie isn't ready to line up in a college game just yet.
"Schofield's got a ton potential," Kiffin said. "You look at those long arms and (the fact) he's 6-foot-6. He's got a chance to be really special someday but it's so different trying to come in and play as a freshman."
PROMOTION FOR WILLIAMS
After two trials at linebacker, Gerald Williams is finally getting settled in at defensive end. The 6-4, 250-pounder moved past fellow junior Ben Martin and worked as the No. 1 left end on Tuesday.
"He's played extremely well and continues to make plays," Kiffin said. "He was our starting left end today in practice and he responded ... had a great day. We finally had to crack (crack-block) him over there because we couldn't block him."
VOLS GO INDOORS
Tennessee worked at Neyland-Thompson Tuesday rather than rain-soaked Haslam Field. Afternoon rains had ceased by the time the 3 o'clock practice was to begin but Kiffin opted to go inside.
"We came inside, not because we didn't want to practice in the rain, but because our field is so valuable," the coach said. "We practice on it so much. Having two fields, we didn't want to go out and tear it up."
Kiffin said the players responded "pretty well" to the indoor workout and showed "good energy."