KNOXVILLE – Tennessee started its final week of spring practice Tuesday with the first of three consecutive days of practice. The Vols spent the morning outside in full pads.
– 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.
– Safety Byron Moore (ankle) was in uniform, but worked on the sidelines with trainers during the open portion.
– Running back Alden Hill has mononucleosis and is not expected to practice the rest of the spring.
– Tight end Justin Meredith (hamstring) continues to be held out of drills while working with trainers.
Three open practice observations
1. Justin Hunter and Devrin Young were the only two players practicing punt returns in pre-practice warm-ups. Neither struggled fielding the ball – a problem that plagued the Vols until Young solidified the job last season. Young returned eight punts for 94 yards (11.8 yards per return) in 2011.
2. The competition at the top of the running back depth chart is too close to call. Rajion Neal started with the first team Tuesday, but Marlin Lane and Devrin Young each took reps with the unit early in practice. Tom Smith is clearly behind that trio at this point. He was relegated solely to second-team reps.
3. Running out of the shotgun has been an offensive emphasis this spring. Quarterbacks and running backs have practiced draws, pitches and options at times. The Vols found some success running out of the pistol formation last season after quarterback Tyler Bray injured his thumb and was unable to take snaps from under center.
Combined offensive scrimmage stats
Spring stats don’t always tell the whole story, but here are some notable combined numbers from the Vols’ first two scrimmages for the offense:
Tyler Bray: 26-of-55, 322 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
Justin Worley: 21-of-42, 148 yards, one interception
Rajion Neal: 27 carries for 139 yards (5.1 yards per carry); four catches for 52 yards
Devrin Young: Eight carries for 60 yards (6.3 yards per carry), one touchdown; three catches for 59 yards; averaging 8.6 yards per touch
Marlin Lane: 19 carries for 79 yards (4.2 yards per carry), two touchdowns; two receptions for seven yards
Tom Smith: 12 carries for 24 yards (2.0 yards per carry)
Alden Hill: Nine carries for 39 yards (4.3 yards per carry)
Wide receivers/tight ends
Mychal Rivera: Nine catches for 88 yards (9.7 yards per catch), one touchdown
Jacob Carter (walk-on): Eight catches for 140 yards (17.5 yards per catch)
Cody Blanc: Four catches for 27 yards (6.8 yards per catch)
Cameron Clear: Four catches for 36 yards (9.0 yards per catch)
Justin Hunter: Three catches for 70 yards (23.3 yards per catch), one touchdown
Zach Rogers: Three catches for 35 yards (11.7 yards per catch)
Brendan Downs: Three catches for 20 yards (6.7 yards per catch)
Da’Rick Rogers: Two catches for 14 yards (2.0 yards per catch)
“It hasn’t surprised me too much. Everybody is getting opportunities right now.” – Walk-on wide receiver Jacob Carter on being one of the most productive players this spring through two scrimmages.