Senior Eric Gordon not currently with Vols; timeline for return uncertain

Tennessee defensive back Eric Gordon beats his man during a drill on their first day of practice in pads at their indoor practice field  Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2013

Tennessee defensive back Eric Gordon beats his man during a drill on their first day of practice in pads at their indoor practice field Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Evan Woodbery on the Vols' fifth practice of spring

Highlights from practice five for the Vols

Michael Palardy on the Vols' spring practice

Senior defensive back Eric Gordon is away from the team while he deals with personal issues, Tennessee football coach Butch Jones saidTuesday.

Gordon, a fifth-year senior who has played in 33 games and started 15 in his career, did not attend Saturday’s scrimmage or practice on Tuesday.

“Eric’s on campus. He’s taking classes,” said Jones. “Eric’s taking care of some things off the field that occurred. So we’re working through that, and he has some things that he has to do to get back practicing.”

Gordon was the team’s top nickel back for much of last year. Jaron Toney, who worked with the first team Saturday, could be first in line to take his place.

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Sophomore cornerback Daniel Gray missed Tuesday’s practice for what Jones said was an ashtma attack. Defensive lineman Maurice Couch, tight end Justin Meredith and defensive back Tino Thomas also were out or limited.

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Jones was so thrilled with the way the defense attacked a play during practice that he made an impromptu decision.

“When you swarm to the ball, you get rewarded,” Jones yelled into his mic. “For the next three plays, the quarterback is LIVE.”

In practice parlance, that means the defense can hit the quarterback just like anyone else on the offense.

Was that bad news for redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman and perhaps offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, who might have been scrambling to change his next three plays to safe runs?

“He’s used to it,” Jones said of Bajakian. “We’ve got to find out who our quarterback is. And I wanted to see how our offense would respond.”

Peterman ran two options that went straight to the running back, but on third-and-long, he was forced into a rollout. Peterman made a beeline to the sidelines and never left his feet, although he did come close to being crunched into the wall by a linebacker.

Later, in a portion of practice not open to reporters, defensive lineman Marlon Walls said junior quarterback Justin Worley also went live.

“I think the quarterbacks got a little shocked,” Walls said. “It energized practice a little bit. I knew that Worley was going to give it up so I could go ahead and chase the running back.”

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After a Saturday scrimmage that he deemed subpar, Jones said the Vols had their most crisp performance of the spring on Tuesday.

“This was the best overall effort of the spring,” Jones said. “Our players have responded exceptionally well to the tempo. This is where you have to grind it and this is where your team is born.”

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Slot receiver Devrin Young stood out in one-on-one drills, catching two nice passes, including a bomb in which he ran over freshman defensive back Lemond Johnson.

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Linebackers took on offensive players in a series of pad-crunching one-on-one tackling drills.

The defense was leading the session during the portion of practice open to the media.

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Jones said sophomore receiver Cody Blanc caught his eye in Saturday’s scrimmage. Blanc caught several passes from Worley and stood out in one-on-one drills.

“I think the biggest thing is he brings a level of consistency each and every day,” Jones said.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 10

eVOLved writes:

Without Gordon, who will give up the touchdowns.

Eastbrainerdvol writes:

Someone will step up to replace Gordon if need be.

I like Jones' making the QB live - throwing situations at these young men will (hopefully) pay dividends this fall.

Go Vols!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Interesting wording by Jones.

Used to be euphemism for "family" problems.

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to eVOLved:

Without Gordon, who will give up the touchdowns.

Without Gordon, who will bail us out against Vanderbilt like he did in 2011 with the game clinching INT for a TD? Spew that nonsense elsewhere!

Orange_Power_T writes:

Sounds as though there is hope for the young man. The fact that he's still attending classes says to me that he's still in the hunt.

Chappy writes:

New Fox prime time program: "When Ashtma Attacks". What the heck is ashtma? Doesn't anyone use spellcheck anymore?

papavol writes:

in response to WetumpkaThumpa:

Without Gordon, who will bail us out against Vanderbilt like he did in 2011 with the game clinching INT for a TD? Spew that nonsense elsewhere!

The only thing that interception did was seal our fate with Dooley for another year. We all know that EG is a good player and is going to be key for us this year. Don't get so worked up.

givehim6 writes:

Interesting thing about Peterman when he went LIVE on 3 plays, 2 were options to the RB, 3ed he got chased out of bounds. Sounds like a freshmen to me, but the O line needs to help more.

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to Chappy:

New Fox prime time program: "When Ashtma Attacks". What the heck is ashtma? Doesn't anyone use spellcheck anymore?

Maybe ashtma is a rare disease from India that the KNS is researching?

arkansasvol1975 writes:

Something tells me Gordon got beat out of the starting job by one of the newcomers and this is more of a pouting issue. Gordon is a good DB but got beat plenty and missed some tackles as well.

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