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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. — 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.
Following the Volunteers over to Carter County, the IT crew is taking in the workouts with a watchful eye to keep its site subscribers as educated on the Big Orange as possible.
Wednesday 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 Wednesday:
Another beautiful day here in Elizabethton on the campus of Milligan College. Rain in the early morning hours left the fields with a heavy layer of dew for the Vols first of two practices and will give the team a chance to get some wet ball work in during the morning session.
Once again, National Football League scouts made their way to Tennessee's training camp including representatives from the Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets.
The Vols showed the media their first special teams walk through with a session of kickoff returns. Back deep were several Vols including Cordarrelle Patterson, Rajion Neal, Devrin Young, Eric Gordon, Marlin Lane and Quenshaun Watson.
Tennessee will finish up their trip in the 423 Wednesday evening with their second practice of the day at 7:30 p.m. and will return to Knoxville Thursday morning before practicing at 6:30 p.m. at Haslam Field.
From the offensive side…
Patterson (shoulder) and tight end Mychal Rivera (knee) continue to be in red non-contact jerseys, but both are participating in all of the early periods. In addition to his participation, Patterson looks to have gained some range of motion in his sprained shoulder, which he had been favoring for much of camp since the injury.
From the defensive side…
Middle linebacker Herman Lathers didn't participate during team run after taking part in individual drills. The senior broke the team down following stretching and then retreated to the sidelines for a circuit workout with Alton "Pig Howard (foot), Justin Meredith (hamstring) and Tom Smith (foot). Lathers is likely just getting a day of rest per Derek Dooley's comments early in camp.
The benefitiary of Lathers' absence came in the form of former fullback turned middle linebacker Channing Fugate who ran with the first team defense and looks to be the surefire No. 2 middle linebacker. Aside from the addition of Fugate the one defense remained the same.
The second team defense consisted of Daniel Hood, Trent Taylor, Marlon Walls, Willie Bohannon, John Propst, Dontavis Sapp, LaTroy Lewis, Byron Moore, Rod Wilks, Deion Bonner and Prentiss Waggner.
|Freshman defensive end Omari Phillips takes a break during Tennessee training camp.|
While the first-team defense worked against the scout offense, the offensive line drilled against younger defensive linemen such as Allan Carson, Danny O'Brien, Omari Phillips and Trevarris Saulsberry. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman complimented the play of O'Brien as the freshman did a solid job standing up double teams and once split a pair of blockers. Phillips struggled, getting pancaked twice.
Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri continues to strive for perfection in terms of fundamentals and hustle. A pair of D-linemen had to return to midfield and run back to join their group after lollygagging. Sunseri absolutely does not hold back and his attention to detail is going to make for better Volunteers sooner rather than later. Although we haven't seen him organize, implement and coach a game plan to help Tennessee pull off an epic upset, his hiring appears to be one of the better decisions coach Derek Dooley has made since head man tied himself an orange-clad Windsor knot Jan. 15, 2010.
Graduate assistants and interns working under Sunseri haven't been safe from scoldings. Just as the Vols are being asked to practice at a championship level, so are the gentlemen striving to make it into the business of coaching college football.
In spite of his four-star status and a lack of proven playmakers on the defensive front, Phillips could use a redshirt year to shed baby fat and increase his strength levels.
It appears as though sitting out 2011 and the move to the 3-4 did Saulsberry some good. While he isn't presently in the two-deep, the Gainesville, Fla., native was a formidable foe at end for Antonio Richardson and Alan Posey.
Have a listen to what Sunseri said Tuesday afternoon about the progress his defense is making, including his thoughts on Darrington Sentimore and Corey Miller, in the video below: