KNOXVILLE – Some notes and observations from the Vols’ Sunday afternoon practice at Haslam Field.
• It was a rough afternoon for redshirt junior punter Matt Darr. Coach Butch Jones targeted him with some of his trademark jabs over the microphone. Jones was upset about how slowly Darr was moving and how much time it was taking him to get punts off (Jones wants every punt off in under 2 seconds once the ball is snapped). He questioned Darr about what he was doing last night and at one point told him he was close to shipping him out. Not surprisingly, Jones confirmed that Michael Palardy still leads the competition at punter.
• Injury update:
- OUT: DE Jacques Smith (thumb), TE Justin Meredith (hamstring), DE Corey Vereen (knee), CB Riyahd Jones (calf), CB Michael Williams (shoulder)
- LIMITED: WR Ryan Jenkins, WR Paul Harris, WR Johnathon Johnson, RB Marlin Lane, TE Alex Ellis, LB Curt Maggitt, LB Justin King, LT Tiny Richardson, WR Pig Howard, G/C Dylan Wiesman
• Safety Brian Randolph wore a non-contact jersey, but the redshirt sophomore said he had no injury concern, rather the coaches did it as a precaution. Jones also said that there are no long-term health concerns for Wiesman or Lane. Wiesman limped off the field Saturday night, but he was able to go through some drills on Sunday. Lane has missed much of the past week with an undisclosed injury.
• Running back Tom Smith’s stock continues to rise. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound redshirt sophomore has played sparingly during his time in Knoxville, but he continues to get plenty of second-team reps with Lane out. Alden Hill was the assumed third tailback by many, but Smith is in position to get some carries in 2013.
• Butch Jones talked about many young players “hitting the wall” at this point in camp. He recognized defensive end Corey Miller, center James Stone, tackle Ja’Wuan James and guard Alex Bullard as veterans who have stepped up in the leadership category and have helped some of the underclassmen push through.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga