Saturday Spring Practice Report

On Saturday the Vols got their first taste of action in full pads since walking off the Georgia Dome turf on New Year's Eve. By the intensity shown in the famous Tennessee Drill, you would have thought the bowl debacle was yesterday.

Coach Fulmer was once again happy with his team's efforts on the field. "I continue to appreciate the team's attitude, but we have a long way to go at a lot of positions," Fulmer said after practice. "We had good full-speed work today and we'll see where we can go from there with next week's practice."

All Tennessee upperclassmen were openly thrilled to get back on the field and do some hitting. It didn't take long for the whistle to blow and the Tennessee Drill to be lined up. Due to a high number of injuries to many top tier players, the drill was mostly highlighted by young guys on Saturday.

The big collision of the day was between Marvin Mitchell and Heath Benedict. The two went at each other about halfway through the drill. Mitchell whipped Benedict and then flipped Jabari Davis. At the very end, Benedict challenged Mitchell once more. This time around had a little different result. Heath stood Marvin up and shoved him out of the path of the runner.

Greg Jones got the best of most every person he went up against. Jones gave all of the offensive linemen a time. Rob Smith did knock Jones down once and proved to be the only o-lineman that did. Cody Douglas up Karlton Neal flat on his back early in the Tennessee drill. Cory Anderson, Omar Gaither and Justin Harrell all did really well.

Some other highlights from practice; O.J. Owens diving pick against C.J. Fayton, James Banks made two nice deep catches and Jake Finlayson continued to look like the best overall tight end on the roster.

Montrell Jones did a solid job catching the ball today. Montrell is showing a quickness to cut in the open field that he has improved tremendously since last season.

Steven Jones and Jon Poe had great first practices. Coach Steve Caldwell made it a point to go to Steven after practice and tell him how proud of him he was. Jones is currently listed as an offensive lineman. Poe had some nice hits in the Tennessee Drill and is working himself into the second rotation at linebacker.

There were 45-50 high school juniors in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Most all seemed to be wide-eyed about watching football in the prettiest setting in the country. Today might turn out to be a positive in the recruiting war.

The Vols will be off until Tuesday. They will be back at it in full pads for most of the final 11 practice sessions leading up to the Orange and White game.

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