Notes: Vol camp hits Day 5

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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.

Tuesday 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 Tuesday afternoon:

  • Clouds were sparse as it was easily the hottest afternoon of the Vols' preseason summer camp thus far at Haslam Field on Tuesday.
  • From the offensive side…

  • In competition for kickoff return are Eric Gordon, Rajion Neal, Cordarrelle Patterson, Quenshaun Watson and Devrin Young. From his first session with newcomers on Haslam Field out early fielding kicks, Patterson has looked extremely fluid, catching the football moving forward instead of having to drop step after cradling in the rock. Tuesday, Patterson had his back to the ball when launched, then turned to find it in flight before getting under each attempt.
  • Junior and preseason first-team All-SEC wide receiver Da' Rick Rogers absent from today's workout at Haslam Field. This could get interesting as the main reason the Tennessee offense looked to be so explosive this season was because of the trio of wide receivers that Justin Hunter and newcomer Cordarrelle Patterson created. If Rogers is not a part of that trio at quarterback Tyler Bray's disposal there will be a considerably heavier lean on Patterson with Zach Rogers as your No. 3 option at this moment. However, look for true freshman Drae Bowles to factor in down the road as he seems to be excelling early in camp.
  • UPDATE: Per Dooley, both Da'Rick Rogers and Eric Gordon had summer class, which is why they were absent Tuesday afternoon. They are two of several trying to finish strong academically before the fall semester gets underway.

  • Several position changes have occurred thus far in camp including Justin King to tight end and Vincent Dallas to defensive back. One more switch was made Tuesday as walk-on defensive lineman Joseph Ayres made the move to tight end. It will be interesting to see if he can factor in on the offensive side of the ball given the lack of depth following the departure of Cameron Clear this summer, most notably in short-yardage situations.
  • Patterson was the No. 2 wide receiver Tuesday, but there still seems to be some chemistry building that needs to go on between him and Bray. The duo failed to hook up on several quick slant routes during the early periods of practice.
  • Freshman wide receiver Jason Croom gained compliments from wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Darin Hinshaw following several route drills where Croom showed great get-off at the line of scrimmage both with speed and technique with Hinshaw in his face at the line of scrimmage. Croom stands out physically as well measuring in a
  • Coach Derek Dooley took extra time out to work with the tight ends group today. Justin King definitely has athleticism to compete at his new position having been a high school quarterback, but it is evident the tight end position is still quite foreign to him in day two as he struggled a bit with blocking technique during the early periods.
  • Tight end Mychal River tweaked his knee during Monday's practice and did not practice on Tuesday. Dooley called the injury a slight sprain and deemed it as "not serious." Rivera is expected to be back within a week.
  • Freshman running back Davante Bourque was limited in Tuesday practice following a neck injury Monday. Dooley didn't call it a stinger, but he will miss a limited amount of time to recover.
  • From the defensive side…

  • A slight change in the defensive front working with the first unit as nose guard Greg Clark and defensive end Steven Fowlkes were replaced by Maurice Couch and Darrington Sentimore, respectively. Sentimore, who owns a BCS National Championship ring from his time at Alabama, is playing quicker with a better grasp of what Sal Sunseri and John Palermo want in the trenches.
  • Another university employee helping defensive players progress is former Alabama defensive lineman Nick Gentry. Sentimore noted how helpful Gentry's been thus far this summer.
  • Palermo continues to sound frustrated with the pace of nose guard Daniel McCullers. It may be time to accept that the young man simply moves quickly as the quick twitch of 6-foot-6, 377 isn't going to be anywhere near that of a simple 300-pounder.
  • Details. Details. Details. The defensive assistants continue to stress the finer points of all the fundamentals, forcing each respective side of the ball and unit to redo any and all drills that are not done properly and with tremendous hustle. Cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley was as vocal as he's been while media has been allowed to view practice, preaching to his DBs to come out of their breaks harder, most especially freshman Deion Bonner.
  • Freshman linebacker Kenneth Bynum was on crutches after practice. He will have an MRI done on Wednesday.
  • Watch as Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley addresses the media following Tuesday's practice at Haslam Field:


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