5 things I want to see during Tennessee’s spring game

Photo Dan Harralson

Spring practices are wrapping up for Tennessee as Butch Jones enters year five on Rocky Top.

This spring has been one of transition within Jones’ program, with new faces throughout the roster who will be playing meaningful roles and new faces throughout the coaching staff.


The format for the annual Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium will be similar to last year with scrimmage plays, circle of life drills and a skills competition with quarterbacks, linemen and defensive backs versus wide receivers. The format will provide certain areas that will be intriguing to watch.

1. Quarterback play

How will junior quarterback Quinten Dormady and red-shirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano handle the spotlight of replacing the graduated Joshua Dobbs? Both will get their chance to perform with a national audience tuning in on the SEC Network and also with an expected 60,000 in attendance – Jones has had no less than 60,000 in attendance at the spring game during his tenure at Tennessee. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks and how they will will be grouped on the field with the first- and second-team units, as well as their development under newly-hired quarterbacks coach Mike Canales.


2. Larry Scott

Scott is receiving his first opportunity to coordinate a Power 5 offense. The well-respected assistant and recruiter  replaces Mike DeBord and is Jones’ third offensive coordinator at Tennessee. How much the Volunteers’ offense looks the same or different will be worth observing. Another intriguing tale of the Orange and White game will be how the wide receiver group and tight ends will be used and if the quarterback will be under center more with Scott as the offensive coordinator.


3. Trey Smith

Smith is supposed to be wrapping up prom and counting down to high school graduation. Instead, ESPN’s No. 1 overall player has gone through his first spring practice season at Tennessee and looks every bit as advertised. Smith brings a mature attitude, a competitive edge and a body that meets the eye test to play early in his SEC career. All eyes will be on him to see what offensive line positions he will play.


4. Jonathan Kongbo

The red-shirt junior defensive lineman appears to be more comfortable and mature this spring. Playing inside on the defensive line last year helped the top JUCO prospect to become a better overall player, and now Kongbo looks to settle back in at defensive end. Kongbo could have a match-up against freshman Trey Smith in Saturday’s game.


5. Running backs stepping up

The backfield is thin this spring as the Vols await running backs coming in this fall, leaving John Kelly and Carlin Fils-aime as the duo this spring. Fils-aime gained valuable in-game reps as a freshman in 2016. It is important to see how he fares in the spring game, possibly going against the first-team defense. Kelly enters the 2017 season as the top back after waiting his turn behind Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Kelly has proven during his opportunity last season that he can play at an elite level.


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  • Best sight would be the 5 star heart championship of life coach gone

    • Well look what we have here. Brynchips brother. And more proof that Clay Travis was right. SMH

      • Looky looky looky. SevenTs b i t c h a$$ son. You have absolutely no idea. You sit back satisfied with whats going on right now. Your either a Vandy fan converted to a wannbe Tennessee or just a b i t c h. I think its the 2nd one myself. Bet you love you some Clay Travis dont you sweet boy…..lol.

        • I actually have 2 degrees from UT (that’s what they give a person upon successful completion of assigned work). Your incoherent and idiotic posts do nothing but embarrass UT fans. I know they don’t embarrass you as it would take an IQ higher than a blade of grass to recognize such. But hey, keep licking windows and crying.

        • And for the record I can’t stand Clay Travis. But when dolts such as yourself post on sites this one and call into radio shows, it’s hard to say he’s wrong for calling UT fans the dumbest.

        • What’s going on here is officially diagnosed as Battered Vol fan syndrome, where a particular fan’s emotional instability coupled with the hardships of TN on the gridiron since 2008 leaves the fan in a state of irrational dysphoria. Symptoms include never being pleased, to the point where the fan complains even after a victory, as well as associating the current head coach with Derek Dooley era incompetence and treating them as if they were as such. The only cure for Battered Vol fan syndrome is to switch teams or quit watching football altogether. Vol fans aren’t the smartest bunch out there I agree Volbeef88

  • Don’t know who ya got be confused with but it don’t matter. Truthfully I don’t know which one makes me cringe the worst when they in front of a mic, Jones or Kiffin.