UT practice notes

Below are some highlights from Tuesday's Tennessee football practice at Haslam Field, the Vols' 13th workout of the spring:

The wide receivers repeatedly beat UT defensive backs in a one-on-one drill featuring a quick-hitch pass into the right flat. Based on that drill, the tackling skills of Tennessee's secondary need considerable improvement.

No. 2 quarterback B. J. Coleman showed off his arm strength, hitting Denarius Moore in perfect stride with a 50-yard strike after Moore got a step on redshirt freshman safety Prentiss Waggner in a 7-on-7 drill.

When a receiver fumbled after catching a pass 20 yards downfield, receivers coach Frank Wilson raced to the scene and jumped on top of the pile of bodies scrambling for the recovery. Secondary coach Willie Mack Garza responded by grabbing Wilson's ankles and playfully pulling him from the pile. The energy level of this coaching staff is remarkable.

Fullback-turned-tight end Ben Bartholomew caught a pass over the middle and juked Prentiss Waggner with a nifty move (especially for a 6-2 250-pounder) that left the safety grasping air.

No. 3 quarterback Nick Stephens hit Ahmad Paige on a perfectly thrown deep-out route for a gain of 20-plus yards.

When tailback Tauren Poole popped through the line in an 11-on-11 non-tackling drill, safety Eric Berry hooked Poole's left arm, then brought his right fist upward into the ball (resting in Poole's right arm) with such force that the resulting "thump" sounded like a football being punted. The aggressive attempt to strip the ball brought hoots from defenders watching from the sidelines but failed to dislodge the ball from Poole's possession.

Tennessee's No. 1 defensive line consisted of Chris Walker and Ben Martin at ends, Dan Williams and Montori Hughes at tackle. Senior tackle Wes Brown did not participate due to a sore knee. The No. 2 defensive front consisted of Gerald Williams and Steven Fowlkes at end, Victor Thomas and Chase Nelson at tackle.

Tennessee's No. 1 linebacker corps consisted of Rico McCoy, Nick Reveiz and LaMarcus Thompson. Herman Lathers, Chris Donald, Savion Frazier, Daryl Vereen and Josh Hawkins all got work with the No. 2s.

Tennessee's No. 1 secondary appeared to consist of Eric Berry and Dennis Rogan at safety, C. J. Fleming and Art Evans at cornerback. Stephaun Raines and Prentiss Waggner got both first- and second-team repetitions at safety. Anthony Anderson, Marsalous Johnson, Derrick Furlow and Rod Wilks worked with the No. 2 unit.

Nick Stephens fumbled a snap that middle linebacker Nick Reveiz scooped up and returned for a touchdown. Both Stephens and center Cody Sullins immediately were ordered to run a lap around the practice area as punishment.

Berry jumped an out route but dropped the throw by Stephens, even though it hit him in the hands. Berry immediately dropped onto the ground and did some self-imposed penalty push-ups.

Catching a quick slant pass, wide receiver Denarius Moore showed terrific acceleration in blowing past the second-team safeties on what would've been about a 70-yard touchdown play.

Mid-term freshman linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton made an athletic leaping deflection of a pass over the middle.

Nick Stephens was sacked by mercurial defensive end Chris Walker just about the time Stephens completed his three-step drop to pass. Walker's "speed off the edge" is most impressive.

Cornerback Art Evans blanketed wideout Ahmad Paige, then lunged to deflect a pass intended for Paige.

Wide receiver Todd Campbell got behind Anthony Anderson to reel in a 20-yard pass from B.J. Coleman, then raced another 20 yards before Anderson managed to wrestle him to the turf.

Nick Stephens fumbled another snap. His surgically repaired right wrist appears to be giving him some trouble.

No. 1 QB Jonathan Crompton hit Brandon Warren with a quick slant pass for a short touchdown against the No. 1 defense.

Tackle Victor Thomas sacked Crompton for a five-yard loss.

A jarring hit by Rogan broke up a potential touchdown pass intended for Austin Rogers.

Freshman defensive tackle Montori Hughes stopped senior tailback Montario Hardesty in a goal-line drill. Hardesty scored standing up on the very next play, however.

Rolling to his left in the goal-line drill, Stephens flipped a two-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Jones.

Defensive end Gerald Williams stopped freshman tailback Toney Williams for no gain in a continuation of the goal-line drill.

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