Knoxville, TN. (WATE) – Tennessee wrapped up their second week of fall camp with a spirited and competitive scrimmage Saturday. Jeremy Pruitt praised his teams’ effort, crediting at least part of it to VFL Inky Johnson, who spoke to the team on Friday night.
Pruitt, who’s played coy about the starting lineup all camp (referring to Jarrett Guarantano as the team’s only starter last week), hasn’t yet given any indication what the starting configuration on the offensive line will be, but admitted to a continuous mixing and matching.
“There’s movement along the offensive line,” Pruitt said on Saturday. “I don’t know how many combinations we practiced with the one’s today, but we’ve played a lot of different combinations up front.”
It’s yet to be determined if Trey Smith will be part of that combination. The junior has worked at left guard in the open periods of practice, but has yet to be cleared medically after a recurrence of blood clots last season. In an interview with “The Nation” on 99.1 WNML The Sports Animal Sunday night, Pruitt said of Smith: “Our medical staff has worked really hard throughout this entire process, No. 1, to ensure Trey’s safety and health. The football has always been secondary.
“As we get closer to the season, our doctors and training staff, they’ll implement a plan that will give him an opportunity to possibly play again.”
While Smith’s long-term status is still up in the air, Eric Gray is working to earn his role as a freshman. The Memphis product owns the TSSAA record with 138 touchdowns, and has impressed in fall camp, but finds himself working into a running back room with productive and returning juniors Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan.
His new position coach, David Johnson, has been impressed with Gray’s maturity, but didn’t want to outline his vision for the role he might carve out in his first year on campus.
“You have to let the season play out. You don’t know how it’s going to play out,” Johnson said last week. “I just think he has to just continue to do the things that he needs to do. Not putting a lot of pressure on that kid. He’s still a freshman, so he can come in, wherever he fits in, doing the things he needs to do. whether it’s special teams, catching the ball out of the backfield, running in between the tackles, he’s just going to have to play his part. That’s what I tell those kids: Find your part to play in this offense.”
Tennessee’s third and final week of fall camp starts on Monday, with Pruitt adding over the weekend that the team will start some preliminary game prep this week as well.