Trey Smith making presence felt at Vols’ spring practices

KNOXVILLE, TN- Rain forced Tennessee indoors on Thursday afternoon as the Vols completed their eighth practice of the spring season in full pads at the Anderson Training Center.

Offensive line coach Walt Wells spoke with reporters after practice for the first time this spring, discussing the ways he’s set about tinkering with the positional makeup of that unit.

“I’d like to settle them in at one position,” Wells said. “But with some of the things — we’ve had some class conflicts and different things like that — you’ve just got to put the best five out there to give us a chance to move the football and do some good things. So we’ve been able to do that, which is a good cross-training in the spring. When we get into fall camp, I’d like to settle in as much as we can.”

With eight of its 15 scheduled spring workouts now complete, Tennessee heads to the back half of the spring season with eyes on the annual DISH Orange & White Game. The Orange & White Game concludes the spring season on April 22 at Neyland Stadium (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network). Admission and parking are free to the public and a fan appreciation event will precede kickoff.

The Vols wrap up Week Three of spring ball on Saturday, returning to Neyland Stadium for a closed practice.

Day Eight Quotables

RS Junior DL Jonathan Kongbo

(On the experience he had last season entering the SEC after his time in junior college)
“It was definitely a big learning experience, I think. Coming in and never playing in the SEC, it will definitely wake you up when you’re there as far as you’re just going up against better athletes. I think the biggest thing is probably details, maybe a bit more film work than junior college and beforehand. The one guy that really helped me through it all was Derek Barnett. He kind of took me under his wing and kind of gave me the ins and outs.”

Senior DB Justin Martin

(On feeling motivation to prove himself for the upcoming season)
“It’s my last year so I feel like i have a lot to prove to my teammates. I’ve got a lot to prove to myself, really. That’s really it — to my teammates and to myself. I feel like I could’ve played way better than I did last year.”

Offensive line coach Walt Wells

(On who has stood out this spring)
“I think Marcus Tatum is really coming along and doing some good things. Marcus has added some weight, which is good for him, and some strength in the weight room. He is really coming on and he is playing both right and left, but he is playing primarily right. He has done a good job.”

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie

(On John Kelly’s leadership)
“John came into a running back group with a culture about how to lead and work. He was thrown into it, and from early on, you could see that he had the leadership qualities that you want. He has completely taken over that role and he understands how we need to practice and how the meeting room should be conducted. Sometimes, if you look around when I’m not with the backs, he’s over there running drills. He understands what it takes to be a leader, and this spring is going to give him that opportunity to continue to help and lead the team.”

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