Tennessee's Spring Practice: Last Man Standing
Only one thing is for certain for the Tennessee Volunteer football team this year. Eric Berry is the only person who will not be fighting for his life to keep a job. It didn't even take seeing the guy in practice for the new coaching staff to decide that.
All you have to do is look at his stats and see that he is the best DB in college football. First of all, his numbers are way more impressive than when Charles Woodson won the Heisman. He also had better stats than Malcolm Jenkins who won the Thorpe award last year. It just goes to show that you are not going to win any awards if your team is 5-7.
That being said, there has been some positive feedback flowing out of Coach Kiffin's mouth about his quarterback situation. After a rough start it seems that Jonathan Crompton is finally starting to find his stride out on the practice field.
However, with BJ Coleman behind him, Crompton had better straighten out fast. Coleman has received nothing put positive accolades as well. Nick Stephens isn't really able to show his game right now because he broke his wrist in a workout drill prior to spring practice. He has since gotten the cast taken off but isn't really able to do anything more than throw five yard routes right now.
Of course last year we heard the same thing about Crompton in spring practice. Dave Clawson, the offensive coordinator at the time declared that Crompton was really getting the offense and was coming around smoothly. Of course, we all saw how smoothly he came along during the season.
That being said he was coming off of knee surgery. Me personally, I don't believe the guy ever completely recovered. With Kiffin being honest about the quarterbacks play early on and saying they are starting to look good running the offense, it leads me to believe that he may be telling the truth. You can draw your own conclusion.
Bryce Brown and David Oku may find it harder than expected to get some game time this year if this spring is any indication. Although the passing game struggled early on, the running game has not missed a beat. Tauren Poole and Monterio Hardesty are constantly getting pats on the back during post practice interviews with coach Kiffin. The main surprise has been how Poole is just breaking crazy long runs in scrimmage situations. This while Hardesty provides the constant power running.
The offensive line really hasn't been talked about as much. They seem to be a little thin in this area especially converting TE Aaron Douglas to offensive tackle. From whats being said, the line is picking up Kiffin's zone blocking scheme really well.
The defensive line gets a lot of publicity with the Vols being loaded at DE. Chris Walker has been described as unstoppable. Ben Martin has really came on. The competition is so fierce that Wes Brown decided to tell coach Ed Orgeron that he would like to move down to defensive tackle to help out in the middle.
The Vols also are so confident in that position that they tried Gerald Williams out at linebacker. Needless to say that position is stacked. Now they are trying to find other places to put quality players that might not get the starting nod. Seems to be working out as they continue to fill in holes.
The linebacker position will get a new revamped look as Rico McCoy will be moved from weak side linebacker to the strong side. The coaches are trying to capitalize on his speed and power to get to the quarterback. Nick Reviez, a former walk-on, has been a monster at his middle LB position with his intensity. Although the weak side seems to be a question mark, plenty of help is coming with four freshman linebackers in the fall.
The defensive backfield (Eric Berry) is covered as before mentioned. Just joking. Nothing but great things coming out of Monte Kiffins mouth on these guys.
Special teams seems to be a question as well. Nothing has really come out about that situation.
Wide Receiver seems to get little press time as well. Expect a lot of freshman playing time in this positions come fall. One surprising move had former TE Brandon Warren move out there to provide an athletic big target. I don't see many DB's wanting to come up to take this man down.
Gerald Jones is a monster and could end up being one of the best players in the country with the right quarterback throwing him the ball. Austin Rodgers may turn out to be a good possession receiver if used correctly. That being said, three more WR's will be coming in to make an impact come August.
Short and sweet the Vol's spring practice has been a dog eat dog world so far. These guys are really battling for their positions. Though some people may say that the talent level wont be there, I disagree.
Tennessee has always had enough talent to compete with the best teams. Fulmer's regime became old and stale. Their is a breath of fresh air in Knoxville and it's bringing intensity. That's a good thing, because intensity is all these guys have been missing.
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