KNOXVILLE – The Vols got some light work in on a chilly, 45-degree Friday morning as they prepare for their second spring scrimmage set to take place on Saturday. The team has only one scrimmage and three practices remaining in the spring before the Orange and White Game on April 21.
– Cornerback Prentiss Waggner (shoulder), wide receiver Justin Hunter (ACL), defensive tackle Daniel Hood (shoulder), linebacker/safety Brent Brewer (ACL) and linebacker Curt Maggitt (shoulder) all wore red, non-contact jerseys and participated on a limited basis. Waggner and Hunter are both hoping to see limited action in the scrimmage Saturday after being held out last week.
– Brewer’s recovery has been one of the most impressive of all the injured players. He is ahead of schedule and practicing “almost as if the injury didn’t happen,” coach Derek Dooley said. Brewer also has a chance to play Saturday.
– Running back Alden Hill has mononucleosis and is not expected to practice the rest of the spring.
– Defensive tackle Maurice Couch (concussion) was back participating in drills after sitting much of the week out. He is expected to play in the scrimmage Saturday.
– Tight end Justin Meredith (hamstring) continues to be held out of drills as he works with trainers on the side.
Three open practice observations
1. The defensive backs’ emphasis on Friday was playing physically. They participated in a drill that helped them with their hand placement in press coverage and worked on open-field tackling as well. Safety Brent Brewer appeared healthy as he took place in the tackling drill despite being just over six months removed from tearing his ACL.
2. Footwork and running hard continue to be points of emphasis from running backs coach Jay Graham. The backs went through cone drills where they would chop their feet around five different cones and then finish by sprinting through a finish line when they were done.
3. The passing game will be a focus on Saturday according to players and coaches. Though there have been a few impressive throws and catches, the quarterbacks and receivers have been out of sync for many of the open media sessions. Bray overthrew Da’Rick Rogers on Friday as the All-SEC receiver ran a go route against no defenders.
Coaching clinic in town
Over 300 high school and middle school coaches lined the practice field Friday as the Vols are hosting the 2012 Tennessee Football Coaching Clinic Friday through Sunday.
The coaches will be viewing practice Friday, the scrimmage Saturday and listening to various speakers and presentations. Jon Gruden is the keynote speaker on Friday night. Gruden is a current analyst for ESPN and the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterback Tyler Bray on not having wide receiver Justin Hunter at 100 percent this spring:
“It doesn’t limit us at all. We have a stable of receivers — we like to say wide receiver U.”