published Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Recap of UT Vols' open practice

Tennessee quarterback Riley Ferguson (10), left, looks for an open receiver while under pressure at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville in this file photo.
Tennessee quarterback Riley Ferguson (10), left, looks for an open receiver while under pressure at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville in this file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — Here's a recap of the good, bad and interesting during Tennessee's open football practice Saturday night.

Play of the night, offense: During a scenario when the offense was backed up on its own 1-yard line, quarterback Nathan Peterman hit receiver Devrin Young in stride on a post pattern between the two safeties on a pass play that gained roughly 40 yards.

Play of the night, defense: Redshirt freshman linebacker Kenny Bynum swallowed up tailback Alden Hill in the backfield after perfectly reading a screen pass.

Midfield mediocrity: Tennessee's most nonsituational work was six drives in which the offense began at its own 38.

Freshman Josh Dobbs, leading the Vols' third-team offense, directed the only scoring drive. After starting his first drive with a nice run on a keeper, Dobbs floated a beautiful touch pass on a go route to Jason Croom, who hauled in the catch as he was drilled by safety Geraldo Orta in the end zone.

The first-team offense, led by Justin Worley, failed to pick up a first down on both of its possessions. A penalty derailed one series for the second-team offense, and freshman Riley Ferguson couldn't lead that lineup to a first down.

Defensive backs JaRon Toney and Max Arnold made nice plays to break up passes, and freshman defensive ends Kendal Vickers and Malik Brown combined to sack Dobbs.

Stage-setter: Jones called out the names of receivers and defensive backs to face off in mid-practice one-on-one drills.

Justin Coleman, freshman Cam Sutton and Vincent Dallas broke up passes on their initial reps, and Drae Bowles burned Toney deep for a touchdown to provide the offense's highlight.

"My first thought was, 'He can't catch the ball on me because it's going to look bad on me and the defensive backs are going to get down,'" Coleman said of his leadoff matchup with talented freshman Marquez North. "It was up to me to start it off and get everybody hyped."

Red-hot red zone: Each of Tennessee's four quarterbacks led a red-zone drive from the 16, and three series ended in touchdowns.

After three Rajion Neal runs and Tom Smith's run to the 1, Worley threw away a pass as he was pressured by big defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, and then Daniel Hood batted Worley's pass at the line.

Peterman passed to Jacob Carter to convert a third down into a first and then kept the ball on a zone-read option play and plunged into the end zone. Working with the first-team offense, Ferguson delivered a strike to Young to set up a short Smith touchdown run. Dobbs rolled to his left and tossed a touchdown pass to tight end Woody Quinn after two Hill runs put the second-team offense inside the 5.

Ups and downs: Croom caught a long touchdown catch during one-on-ones when he outran freshman safety Lemond Johnson in addition to his touchdown from Dobbs, but he made two mistakes in team periods. He wasn't lined up correctly, drew an illegal-formation flag and cost the offense a first down after Peterman's completion to tight end Alex Ellis. Later, in the one-minute drill, he failed to get out of bounds after catching a short out pattern.

"Jason's working really hard," Peterman said. "He had a few mistakes here and there ... but I think he's working really hard to perfect those things. He's a really hard worker in the film room, and Jason's as hard on himself as anybody is, so he's going to correct those things and come back stronger."

Best example of Butch Jones being Butch Jones: The Vols' first-year coach halted one team period, made a beeline toward North and made him pick up the football and hand it to one of the SEC officials managing the practice.

"That's part of our offense," Peterman explained. "To stay up-tempo, we're going to hand the ball to the right ref. It keeps us rolling fast, and it's part of Coach Jones and his attention to detail.

"Coach Jones is not going to pass up an opportunity for a learning experience, and I'm glad he doesn't, because we need it."

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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