After having the team’s second scrimmage on Saturday, head coach Lane Kiffin was very eager about getting back on the practice field Monday.
“It was good to get back out on the field,” Kiffin said. “It was a very long, hard practice in a pretty good amount of heat, so that’s exactly what we needed.”
Kiffin had invited students to attend the practice and even allowed the hundreds of students in attendance onto the field to help motivate the Vols during an agility drill.
Meanwhile, the battle for starting quarterback continued on Monday. Senior Jonathan Crompton and junior Nick Stephens are locked in a competition that is still “extremely close,” Kiffin said.
“I’m excited that they’re both playing well,” Kiffin said, adding that neither played as well as they did last week.
Whichever quarterback is named starter will surely look Gerald Jones’s way, Tennessee’s leading receiver from 2008. The junior wideout grabbed 30 passes for 323 yards, averaging 10.8 yards per catch. The Oklahoma native was one of the few playmakers for the Vols last season, even lining up at quarterback in the “G-Gun” formation. This fall, he is practicing solely at receiver and shed 15 pounds in the offseason to improve his speed.
Brown dealing with distractions: After having what Kiffin called a “great” week last week, freshman running back Bryce Brown suffered a pair of setbacks this week. He injured his hip early in practice Monday and missed the remainder of the day, as well as all of practice on Tuesday. Following Tuesday’s practice, Kiffin informed the media that the NCAA was investigating Brown’s eligibility.
“It has nothing to do with his recruitment by us,” Kiffin noted. “It’s just something that my information says goes back to when he was a sophomore in high school.”
Kiffin also mentioned senior running back Montario Hardesty’s competitiveness saying that he was “not happy” the coaches pulled him out of the Saturday scrimmage early.
Walking wounded: Eighteen Vols were on the injury report following Tuesday’s practice. One player who has been battling injuries most of fall camp is senior linebacker Rico McCoy. McCoy missed a majority of practice last week resting an injured leg but was excited about returning to his outside linebacker position with the first team defense.
“It felt great just to be back out there in the swing of things with the guys,” McCoy said after Monday’s practice. “It’s rough for anybody to be on the sideline. They put me right back out there in the swing of things where I left off. I picked it right back up.”
Rest for the weary: The team did not practice on Wednesday as classes began on campus but will use practice on Thursday and Friday to gear up for the third scrimmage of the year on Saturday.
“What’s good is we have another (scrimmage) to go, this Saturday, our biggest preseason game of all,” Kiffin said after Monday’s practice. “I think our guys will be ready to go.”