As the indoor facility was getting prepared and television crews setting up for Pro Day, the Vols still hit the practice field on Thursday afternoon.
The schedule was a little different today as the media got to see periods 4-6, which included a wider variety of quarterback and receiver routes, running back drills, and a critical Butch Jones. After spending a majority of time with the offensive line and specialists on Tuesday, I decided to go back to the skill positions, where Butch was coaching.
One of the things I quickly noticed was the energy level from all the coaches. In most of the open sessions of practice so far, Butch has been fairly quiet compared to previous practices. However, he was highly vocal today. He was mainly working with receivers on their routes but was also hands on and harping some criticism if a player wasn’t being aggressive for a jump ball in the corner or going to the ball on a slant. Jauan Jennings and Latrell Williams looked the most consistent from what I saw.
In terms of the quarterbacks, Quinten Dormady looked the most consistent in all open periods. He was receiving all the first reps along with commanding the entire group during dropback drills. Both Dormady and Guarantano looked more impressive with their throws than Tuesday, but once again, these are just routes on air. Fans are becoming split with this battle and rightfully so. Both are clearly the top two choices and showcase a lot of potential. From what I’ve seen, Dormady is looking like the favorite to win the job. He’s shown the most consistency and arm talent than the rest. Once again, the media isn’t allowed to see a whole lot of actual football being played so it’s hard to pass judgment. I personally like Dormady right now and I think that he can be successful only if the coaches put him in that position. And for the people who think Guarantano is the next coming of Cam Newton or Mike Vick, please stop. He’s obviously got talent and potential, but he’s still young, makes mistakes, and hasn’t played one snap of college football. It’s time to calm the hype train.
Here are some really positive things that I garnered from today. Mike Canales and Kevin Beard continue to impress me. Both have been very engaged with their groups and the players seem to respond well. The players ask questions constantly and were doing so again today. As we were leaving the field and getting our last glimpse of the day, I saw Cortez McDowell and Darrin Kirkland showing a walk-on linebacker different ways to attack the gap. Maybe it’s something that always happens with football teams, but that was honestly good to see two veterans really helping out a walk-on type player. Also, former VFL and Chargers/Saints receiver Robert Meachem was at practice.
The Vols will practice again on Saturday but it will be closed to media.