Jeremy Banks and Roman Harrison returned to the practice field on Friday morning, but both guys were limited participants in the day's events. Both are expected to be key contributors for the Vols this fall, with Banks's slated to be Tennessee's top returner at the inside linebacker position.
Earlier in the week, Tim Banks was asked about the timetable for return for Banks, and he deferred to Josh Heupel and Tennessee's medical staff.
"It's kind of hard to say," Banks said at the time. "I'll kind of leave that to Coach Heup and our medical staff to determine at what point we'll see him and when, but at this point, I know he's working extremely hard to make sure he's ready to go when that time comes."
Following Friday's practice, Josh Heupel discussed the status of each player, and while it appears they will be able to participate in a limited capacity, they will not be at full contact based on his comments.
"Those two guys are fighting their butt off to get back at 100 percent," Heupel stated. "They've done a tremendous job just in the rehab process and have transitioned more into the strength and conditioning side of it, getting their bodies right and continuing to come back. They've done a great job in the meetings, sat in on a couple with the linebackers. They're attentive. They care. They're pushing hard to get back and be ready to take a bunch of ownership and take a bunch of snaps at the linebacker position. Those guys are going to be allowed to do more and more as we go through spring ball, but don't think any of them will be in full contact situations."
As Tim Banks reiterated earlier in the week, the Vols will be by committee at inside linebacker during Jeremy Banks's absence.
"I think a lot of it is just work by committee right now. All of those guys are working extremely hard to try and separate themselves and like I said today is really the first day we put pads on. I think as we continue to move through it, we will have a chance to define some roles better. But right now, it is a little bit by committee and again a lot of times that ends up being a good thing because you are developing some depth."