The threat of inclement weather didn’t scare 63,000 fans from showing up for Tennessee’s annual Orange and White spring game. Fans had waited months for the first glimpse of Team 119, and they did not disappoint in their first public appearance
Joshua Dobbs picked up right where he left off from last year as the Vols’ offensive leader. He completed five passes on eight attempts for 94 yards and a touchdown. He was challenged early in the day by freshman Quinten Dormady in the individual passing drill, but Dobbs was able to hit a target on his last throw to give him a one point win. Dormady completed five passes on 11 attempts, including an impressive 65-yard bomb to Josh Malone for a touchdown. He looked sharp and made smart decisions with the football. On the first third down he faced, he threw a perfect slant route to “Pig” Howard for 12 yards and a first down. He also showed that he was fairly mobile, running the play action well and proving he can roll out of the pocket as he did a few plays later to hit Malone again for 15 more yards. Dormady will be a solid backup for Dobbs.
The third quarterback, Jauan Jennings, also had some impressive moments. While he’s not a very good passer, he can run the ball extremely well. He rushed nine times for 58 yards, including a 45-yard long touchdown. If he improves his passing, he could end up being a very dangerous quarterback.
Jalen Hurd looked confident running the ball. Even though he had just three attempts, he was able to pick up an impressive 40 yards. Josh Malone led all receivers with 80 yards on two catches, which brought back memories of last year’s spring game, where he tore up the field scoring three touchdowns. He’s looking to bounce back after a disappointing freshman year. Johnathon Johnson also had a couple of good plays, catching two balls for 47 yards.
There were also some impressive plays on the defensive side of the ball.
Evan Berry looks like he’s ready to have an important role on this defense this year. He had a game-high nine tackles and seemed to be around the ball every play. Todd Kelly Jr. also had a good game, recording six tackles, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin had five tackles including two sacks. Cam Sutton probably scored the play of the game when he made a great read on a double reverse and intercepted the ball in the backfield, taking it all the way back for a score.
While there were a lot of good plays in the spring scrimmage, there were also some spots where Tennessee needs to improve. The offensive line play was not impressive at all, and it showed in the scrimmage as well as the individual drills. All players struggled to engage their defender for more than a few seconds, which allowed the defense to make a good amount of sacks. The wide receiver play was also sub-par. “Pig” Howard had a ball go straight off his face-mask in the endzone in what seemed like a “ESPN Not Top-10” play, and Josh Smith also had two drops. On top of these embarrassing plays, not one receiver was able to win their matchup in the individual receiver/corner drills.
“I was not pleased with what the receivers did today,” said Coach Butch Jones. “But we will get that right.”
The Vols will now ease into their summer workout schedule in preparation for their season opener against Bowling Green in Nashville.
Edited by Maggie Jones