KNOXVILLE – The Vols held a brief practice Thursday afternoon to make some final preparations for Austin Peay. Only a couple of periods were open to the media and no interviews were given, but here are some notes from the session:
OUT: DE Corey Vereen, DE Jacques Smith, CB Michael Williams, TE Justin Meredith, WR Ryan Jenkins, TE Alex Ellis, CB Riyahd Jones
LIMITED: K George Bullock, S Brian Randolph, RB Marlin Lane, WR Paul Harris, WR Johnathon Johnson, LB Justin King, LT Jacob Gilliam
• Jones confirmed earlier in the week that Vereen, Smith and Jones will miss Saturday. Ellis, Meredith and Williams haven’t been in pads for a while, so it’s a safe bet that none of them will play. King has been out of his non-contact jersey this week, but hasn’t done much. It would be a little surprising if he played.
The biggest questions are Maggitt and Jenkins. It seems unlikely that Jenkins will play based on his limited work this week. Maggitt truly will be a game-time decision, though the best guess is he won’t play or will play a very limited number of snaps.
• It’s looking more and more like Pig Howard, Marquez North and Jason Croom will be the starters at receiver on Saturday. A lot will play, though. Expect Josh Smith, Jacob Carter, Johnathon Johnson, Devrin Young and Vincent Dallas to all get plenty of reps as well. Cody Blanc and Paul Harris might get a few chances, but they are a little further down the depth chart at this point. Drae Bowles doesn’t look to be part of the equation right now. He’s been working primarily with the scout team.
• Based on the open period of practice Thursday, it looks like left guard Alex Bullard could see a few snaps as a blocking tight end. The versatile senior was used that way a few times last year and that move might be back in the plans this year. The Vols have that luxury with veteran Marcus Jackson backing up Bullard at left guard. Tight end, meanwhile, is thin behind starter Brendan Downs.
• True freshman Austin Sanders continues to work as the backup left tackle in practice. Walk-on Jacob Gilliam is listed there on the depth chart for this week, but he has been slowed with an injury.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga