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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 and Neyland-Thompson Sports Center, 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.
Monday afternoon was no different as InsideTennessee ventured to another preseason camp workout to get as much information, photographs and video footage as possible.
Here's a look at what stuck out to us Monday afternoon:
Rainfall again hit Knoxville and the Tennessee campus but there was zero precipitation just prior to or during the Vols' first full squad practice of preseason summer camp.
From the defensive side…
Defensive tackle and Tennessee newcomer Daniel McCullers continues to look extremely raw. McCuller undoubtably has SEC size, but his motor is questionable at the moment and his technique still needs a lot of work. At 6-foot-6, 377 pounds he is a monster, but he won't be able to help the Vols early in the season without some major improvement.
Fellow junior college transfer Darrington Sentimore looks to be excelling during individual portions of practice. He shows good jump off the line and continues to earn praise from new defensive line coach John Palermo.
While redshirt senior linebacker Herman Lathers seems to be an overall team leader, fellow redshirt senior corner Prentiss Waggner seems to be another leader on defense. Waggner is constantly cutting up and having fun with old and young players alike while maintain intensity during drills. He seems to be back in his element at the corner spot as well.
Former four-star prospect and true freshman safety LaDarrell McNeil showed much of what followers saw in his high school film during the first combined practice — a big time hitter. McNeil did not shy away from contact and laid some good licks in the early session.
In hopes of making Wildcat signal-callers like Lane and King make quicker decisions when reading the ends, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney implored LaTroy Lewis to bring heat off the edge with the scout team.
Other scholarship players working with the scout team on defense were Daniel McCullers, Danny O'Brien, Tino Thomas, Naz Oliver, Kenneth Bynum, Omari Phillips, Allan Carson and Joseph Ayres.
From the offensive side…
In one of his Q&A sessions with InsideTennessee months ago, coach Derek Dooley pointed to a major portion of contributing players the last two years not having upperclassmen and all-conference types for them to learn under at practice, hitting the game field without knowing "what good looks like." With that in mind, there should be noticeable growth among the Class of 2012 signees before camp begins next year as the roster now has at least half a dozen Vols mentioned in the preseason as potential all-league guys. Three potential starters running through a drill and performing the proper way certainly makes things easier, which is partially one of the reasons why the first three newcomers' sessions looked so sloppy.
It may or may not be a permanent change but freshman Justin King was flipped to the offense, again working Wildcat quarterback and learning the tight end position with assistant coach Charlie Coiner's group.
Alex Bullard continues work toward being a full-utility back up offensive lineman, switching bookends and working as the No. 2 right tackle Monday.
All first-team and second-team units should be taken with a grain of salt as there is ample time for jobs to be won or lost. Having said that, Rajion Neal was the first running back out of the gate. Devrin Young and Marlin Lane followed with first-team reps. Tom Smith was the first runner out with the second unit, followed by Quenshaun Watson.
Quarterback Tyler Bray continues to advance from a leadership standpoint. The junior got on a freshman runner for not hustling through a drill.
Austin Bolen, a Farragut (Tenn.) High graduate, could figure into the mix at fullback should anything happen to Ben Bartholomew and the down-and-distance call for it. The junior weighs just 211 but has shown athletic ability early this August.
In one of running back coach Jay Graham's drill on ball security, freshman Alden Hill fumbled, which means the entire group is punished with calisthenics. Hill may not be fully recovered from having to sit out the spring due to mononucleosis.
Freshman do-it-all Alton "Pig" Howard continues to sport a boot on his left leg and crutches..
The second O-line was (l-r) Darin Gooch, Marcus Jackson, Mack Crowder, Kyler Kerbyson and Bullard.
Former Vol running back Gerald Riggs Jr. was on hand to watch.