KNOXVILLE – A few notes and observations from Tennessee’s spring practice session on Thursday afternoon:
• Out: WR Ryan Jenkins, DT Trevarris Saulsberry, TE Brendan Downs, TE A.J. Branisel, S Brian Randolph, WR Drae Bowles, DT Jason Carr
• Limited: RB Marlin Lane, TE Woody Quinn
• There were a few depth chart moves on Thursday. Walk-on Jacob Gilliam was getting work as the first-team left tackle in front of Dontavius Blair. Blair, a junior college transfer, has been the favorite to fill that role. And while the competition is clearly open at that spot, it’s also possible that coach Butch Jones is trying to light a fire under Blair to remind him that he’ll have to earn it. Wide receiver Josh Malone was also working with the first team along with Marquez North and Von Pearson. Jason Croom, who had previously been working with the starters, worked on the second unit along with Cody Blanc and Johnathon Johnson. Daniel Helm was working as the first tight end. Both he and Ethan Wolf have worked with the starters this spring.
• The Vols ran four live-action plays that simulated fourth-and-1 situations. The offense converted three of the four. Quarterback Justin Worley got the first one on a keeper around left end. Jalen Hurd got more than enough on the next attempt. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs then rolled right, avoided Curt Maggitt and hit Malone for a first down toss. The defense finally stuffed running back Alden Hill on the final attempt.
• Maggitt continues to work regularly with the defensive linemen. The coaches are labeling him as a hybrid end/linebacker at this point, though it seems the plan is to get him a lot of snaps from the end position.
• The quarterbacks and receivers worked on completing deep balls during one drill. Riley Ferguson’s arm strength continues to stand out, but perhaps the best throw of the day was a lob from Worley right into the outstretched arms of receiver Jacob Carter.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga