It’s hard to believe it’s already here, but it’s finally football time in Tennessee as the Vols kicked off the first day of fall camp today at the Anderson Training Complex.
The media was allowed to view five periods today, which included a lot of position work. Here are some of my observations from the opening day of practice:
A lot of the attention was on the quarterbacks, as expected. Both Dormady and Guarantano looked pretty sharp with their passes. Both also showed good arm strength. Once again, I was impressed with Dormady’s accuracy, especially on the intermediate to deep balls. Guarantano also had some nice deep passes. I still think Dormady will start against Georgia Tech on September 4, but really look for Guarantano to get some meaningful snaps in that game as well.
There were several new faces in both the receiving and running back corps. Freshman WR Jordan Murphy, a four-star, made an impressive diving catch down the sideline from Dormady. Three-star WR Josh Palmer also had some nice catches and moves, drawing praise from Butch several times. Princeton Fant already has an SEC body and looked pretty good as well. Once again, all of these were against air or ball boys so you can’t base too much off that. However, these drills allow the receivers to show versatility in one-on-one coverage in a sense, so it’s still something.
John Kelly is clearly a leader for the offense heading into this year. He was very vocal and was being hands on when helping some of the freshman like Trey Coleman, Tim Jordan and Ty Chandler. There were a lot of eyes on Chandler as well. He was ranked a four-star and the No.5 running back in the country this year. We didn’t really get to see them run much, but he looked quick and showed good hands during some receiving drills. He’s listed at 5’11” and 195 lbs, so he’s going to need to bulk up some, but he looks like he could be a very promising back in the near future.
Maybe it was just me, but the offensive line looked like they have put on some good weight as a whole. In a one-on-one downfield blocking drill, Trey Smith pretty much blew up freshman K’Rojhn Calbert, who’s listed at 6-5, 316 lbs, so that was impressive. Calbert himself is also a mammoth of a human and looked to be getting reps at the right tackle position. Personal note: I really like new offensive line coach Walt Wells.
I didn’t really get to observe the defense since they were on the complete opposite field from us.