JOHNSON CITY — Tennessee practiced Friday and Saturday at a high school field named for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier grew up here and was a three-sport star at Science Hill High School, where the Hilltoppers play on Steve Spurrier Field at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Naturally, Spurrier was asked by South Carolina reporters about the Vols' practice plans.
"I'm glad we could help out the Vols," he told The State newspaper. "Hopefully, they will beat Georgia and a whole bunch of people. Not us, but a bunch."
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley had little to say when asked about practicing on a field named for a frequent nemesis of the Vols.
"It's nice that (Spurrier) gave back to his high school," Dooley said.
Tipton was a longtime Johnson City coach who passed away in March.
* * *
Freshman running back Davante Bourque is not currently with the team as he deals with unspecified personal issues, GoVols247 reported Saturday.
Bourque suffered a neck injury earlier in camp that Dooley compared to "whiplash."
Dooley told GoVols247 that he couldn't say when or even if Bourque would return to the team.
* * *
Junior receiver Cordarrelle Patterson wore a non-contact jersey and played sparingly Saturday, although he did catch one pass for 26 yards.
Dooley said it was difficult to judge the performance of a receiver wearing a non-contact jersey, as defensive backs are understandably hesitant about playing with the same level of aggressiveness.
* * *
Post-scrimmage interviews Saturday featured the offensive line and running backs trying to out-praise each other for their efforts.
Center James Stone said the backs showed speed and toughness, but he also said the veteran line was happy to do its part.
"When we're on the same page coming off the ball there are going to be holes and creases," he said.
* * *
Tennessee has a day off today but will return to the field Monday with practices at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Assuming the weather remains dry, the Vols should be able to practice for the first time at Milligan College.
The small college has two soccer fields marked with yard lines, and the outfield of the baseball stadium has been temporarily converted to a small football field. The picturesque, park-like setting is framed by hills in the background. A creek runs behind the fields.
The practices at Milligan are closed to the public. Even on Saturday, when the Vols practiced at Johnson City, security officers at both main entrances to campus checked visitors for credentials.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.