KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s first practice of fall camp came with some good and some bad on Friday, according to head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
“I thought offensively today, again, I continue to see guys that have worked hard – especially when you talk about a new system – [and] seem to have knowledge [and] understanding to be able to execute, so that’s a really good positive,” Pruitt said. “On the defensive side, got a long ways to go.”
With 29 days before the season opener against Georgia State on Aug. 31, Pruitt is focused on the details to start off.
“There are things that we want to get accomplished this camp,” Pruitt said. The first thing is just being a smart football team and not making mistakes, so we have to get more guys that know what to do. The next thing is that we want to be a ball-hawking defense. You have to create turnovers for that. We want to be good fundamentally, and how you do that is practicing well every single day. If you’re going to be a good football player, you have to have some toughness to you. We obviously need to create some more toughness there. It’s the first day. We have a very young football team, a lot of these guys will learn a lot from today, since it was their first day out there with the coaches. We’ll be much improved tomorrow and we’ll continue to improve as camp goes.”
While fall camp is underway, Michigan transfer Aubrey Solomon is waiting on the NCAA for a ruling after he appealed for a transfer waiver. This has been solomon’s ongoing situation for several months. He announced his transfer to Tennessee in December but has yet to be told that he can play. That doesn’t mean he can’t practice.
“There’s no challenge,” Pruitt said. “We’re not coaching Aubrey any different than we would if we knew his status. We coach every player in our program every single day. Everybody gets the same amount of reps. That’s why, if you come to Tennessee, you’re going to have an opportunity to develop as a football player because you’re going to get to practice. Some of those guys out there today practiced a lot more than they were expecting. It’s not going to change how we approach it. Deangelo Gibbs is not going to play. He took the same amount of reps as Marquez Callaway.”
Gibbs, who will redshirt this season, transferred to Tennessee from Georgia during the offseason. Gibbs worked with the wide receivers on Friday, a position group led by Callaway and Jauan Jennings.
“Jauan is ready to go,” Pruitt said. “We’ll probably monitor him a little bit for a week, put him on a pitch count to ease him into it. He’s fine. He’s healthy. He’s full speed. He obviously did miss a little bit of the summer conditioning. We’ll ease him into it. Jauan really likes football. He doesn’t like it. He loves it. He loves football. He loves the University of Tennessee. He likes to practice. He likes to play. He likes to be in the building. You love coaching guys like Jauan.”
Tennessee will host its annual Fan Day Sunday, Aug. 4 at Neyland Stadium. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. ET and practice begins at 2:30 p.m. Also, an autograph session with players will be held at the conclusion of practice at 4:30 p.m.