Training Camp 8 and 9 Recap: By Alex Abernathy

Training Camp #8 was under the lights at Centennial High School in Williamson County. In front of 7,500 fans, coach Vrabel decided to have another “put the ball down and play” style practice.


The Titans offense moved right down the field on their first drive and capped it off with a Mariota 3-yard touchdown run. Throughout the drive, Taywan Taylor was targeted 3 times and caught all three balls. Taylor was busy all night long and left leaving a positive impression on the Franklin fans. Defensively, Demontre Hurst was playing safety alongside Kevin Byard on the first team. Julius Warmsley also saw a lot more first team action.


On the second drive we got to see the second team offense vs. the second team defense. Rookie draft pick Dane Kruikshank and Brynden Traywhick lined up as the safeties for this unit. As for the runningbacks, we saw the workload for rookie Akrum Wadley increase as he and David Fluellen split time on the second team. Eventually the drive stalled out and the squads switched back to the first teams.


Mariota did not have a good drive on his second go around. He had an ugly pass that should’ve been not only picked off, but also taken back to the endzone by Logan Ryan. Ryan dropped the pass, but the defense still held the offense to a punt.


One drive later in the day looked promising for the second team, but eventually offensive line play struggled as Warmsley and Okeke both sacked Blaine Gabbert on back to back plays.


The final standard offensive drive before situation work ended on a solid note for the offense. After a march down the field highlighted by a 37 yard pick up by Dion Lewis on a dump off pass from Mariota, the Titans scored on a roll out play to the left that ended with Mariota throwing a strike to Corey Davis right at the goal line.


Saturday’s practice at Nissan Stadium was not nearly as eventful as the practice the night before. Training camp #9 was solely situation work in front of the fans that came out to show their support.


You know it was a slow day when brightest position to report on were the punters. Brett Kern boomed a 70 yard punt that rolled and came to a stop at the 6 yard line. Rookie Austin Barnard also was faced with a couple situations where he had to punt out of the back of the end zone. He showed poise and was able to sail the ball downfield very efficiently.


Sticking with special teams, rookie Deontay Burnett was the primary returner during kickoff drill today. Despite the extra repititions, Mike Vrabel still will not say that he is the front runner for the position.


Once again Taywan Taylor was a huge part of the passing game, receiving three targets very early on from Marcus Mariota. Corey Davis had an ugly drop midway through practice, but was targeted again on the very next play and was able to haul the ball in for a gain of roughly 15 yards. Later in the day though, Davis was seen heading to the locker room early.


The highlight of the day came from Deontay Burnett who seems to do something to garner attention every day. On a deep route, he bobbled the football but then corralled it in between his legs and came up with the catch right on top of the goal line.


The second team offense wrapped up the day with a couple of passing oriented drives put together by Blaine Gabbert. Two times on the first drive, Gabbert found rookie Jordan Veasy along the sidelines. That drive finished with Gabbert hitting another rookie, Devin Ross, in the dead center of the endzone for a TD. On the very next drive, Gabbert found rookie Cameron Batson on a long ball that Batson ran right into the end zone.


Off the field, the Titans signed safety Kenny Vaccaro who has played the last five seasons in New Orleans and is expected to come in and replace Johnathan Cyprien after his season ending ACL tear. Vaccaro was at practice today, but did not participate in team drills. After practice, Vaccaro said his primary focus is getting to know and build a bond with his teammates. He also said he plans on spending Sunday’s off day in the facility watching roughly 4 to 5 hours of game tape. Coach Vrabel said he hopes that Vaccaro will be caught up enough to see some action in the first preseason game against Green Bay on Thursday.


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