As Tennessee donned pads for the first time on Saturday in the Volunteers’ fifth spring camp under coach Butch Jones, working in shells on Day 3 of the NCAA-allowed 15 dates, it again was the offense that shined most, according to onlookers at practice.
Specifically, Latrell Williams continued his breakout spring — yes, I’m calling it a breakout spring already because the entire past week was spent by folks on campus telling me now that Williams is fully healthy, the redshirt-freshman is operating at a speed with which the Vols have struggled to attain all over the field in Jones’ rebuilding project.
Williams was arguably the most come-from-nowhere standout in drills leading into this week’s opening of camp, but Williams also, per a campus insider, “really started to click during bowl practice, and that’s when you began to really see it.”
Consistency catching the ball, likely because of nagging injuries, hampered Williams at times in his first few months on campus, but no less than four people now have indicated to me that Williams is making as much or more noise than any playmaker right now in the Tennessee offense.
Of course, yes, I’ll momentarily get to the quarterbacks — and likely Monday will have a really compelling item on UT’s quarterback battles with viewpoints from NFL personnel and other college football personnel directors.
But first, the offensive line. Aside from the individual buzz of Trey Smith, who as I previously noted has beaten Jonathan Kongbo in multiple one-on-one settings, and the leadership of Jashon Robertson, the entire two-deep of the offensive line continues to impress.
The vibe Saturday that it definitely was another day of the offensive line being in control.
The defense, with so many contributors out this spring, is not up to speed but the already developing rapport between Charlton Warren and Bob Shoop is apparent, I’m told, and Brady Hoke is quickly impacting the defensive line.
So, quarterbacks? Shocker. Both Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano “look pretty dang good, to be honest.”
In other words that battle isn’t abating anytime soon. Both players spent their spring breaks working with experts, and neither is backing down. Additionally, Sheriron Jones has improved and newcomer Will McBride — an obvious redshirt target — has added weight and already proved to be unintimidated by his rather daunting surrounding cast at the signal-caller position.