Tennessee Vols take Neyland Stadium for first scrimmage of 2023

Halfway through spring practice, the Vols have “a lot of positives but also a lot of things we have to learn from too.”
Tennessee football heads to Neyland Stadium for first fall camp scrimmage
Tennessee football heads to Neyland Stadium for first fall camp scrimmage(Tennessee football (Tennessee Athletic Communications))
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 6:06 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee football is halfway through spring practice, which set the stage for the Vols’ first scrimmage of the 2023 season.

Head Coach Josh Heupel said defense set the tone Saturday inside Neyland Stadium, where the two-hour workout marked the seventh of the spring. The defense shined, there was clear growth in the wide receiver unit and crucial experience was gained with the newcomers.

”I thought they tackled well, were disruptive at the line of scrimmage, had good pressure on the quarterback, and third-down defense was really good,” Heupel said.

“They found a way to get off the field. Lineman assignment, execution, and energy from the guys on the field but also guys on the sidelines too. It was very noticeable during the course of the scrimmage.”

The defensive front seven got significant pressure for much of the day. ”We have great competition on the edges,” Heupel said. “That’s at defensive end, Tyler Baron and Tyre West on the edges, with our Leo’s being Roman (Harrison) to Josh (Josephs) to James (Pearce Jr.) to Caleb (Herring). We have great competition there and can do so many things with our front. I like how our interior is playing. I feel like we’re playing with better pad-level and using our hands better coming off the ball. I’m excited about the growth and looking forward to the back half of the spring.”

In the quarterback room, Heupel highlighted the strengths of Joe Milton III and Nico Iamaleava. “I thought Joe did a really good job taking care of the football,” said Heupel. “I thought he slid in the pocket a couple of times and continued to get out of it. Now, it’s a little bit different when the quarterback is not live in some of these situations. I thought he had a really good command of what’s going on. We got to some situational football at the end, four-minute situation. There’s some things we can learn as far as clock management.”

Heupel added, “Nico had a great first drive to go put it in the endzone. I thought he responded to everything well. He’ll learn some things about command and control on the field but it was a really good day for those guys.”

Heupel also discussed who stood out within the wide receivers in their first scrimmage, “Squirrel White did a really good job today. I thought he did a good job of working the middle of the field, he executed from the whistle to the next snap and did that efficiently. Chas Nimrod did a couple of really nice things. Kaleb (Webb) made some nice plays. Nathan Leacock did a couple of nice things on the back half of the scrimmage and thought he settled in too. There’s a lot of positives but also a lot of things we have to learn from too.”

Spring practice will resume next week beginning on Monday and then again on Wednesday. Thursday will serve as another scrimmage day.

Fans will get a chance to see Tennessee in the Orange & White Game on Saturday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in Neyland Stadium.