VOL REPORT: SCRIMMAGE TWO EFFICIENT
Vols Balance Offense With Longer Drives
- In his five starts as a freshman, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray
led an ‘explosive’ offense that saw an average time of possession of
2:10 on 27 scoring drives, including 14 that took less than two
minutes. During their intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at Neyland Stadium,
the Vols showed the potential for offensive efficiency as well.
was a lot better and we helped him a little bit too,” head coach Derek
Dooley said of Bray. “We’re starting to get a little understanding of
when we’re pushing too much because we don’t want to make him
uncomfortable. He looked in command. He managed the offense well. This
was different than what we’ve done in the past. It was an efficient
offense, which is not what we’ve been. We’ve been more explosive. We
like the efficiency. Nine plays, eight, seven, eight, which means we’re
getting in third-and-makeable. We’re making them. But then we have to
hit those shots when we have those opportunities and that’s what we
were lacking today.”
The Vols will still attempt
to use their versatile options to continue their success in scoring
quickly. And that starts with UT’s sophomore quarterback.
wish Tyler would get a little more consistent in his approach,” Dooley
said. “He shouldn’t have to have a real bad day to get him to want to
come in and take it more seriously and that comes with maturity. We
were a little off in the throwing game. I say a little off. We missed a
lot of big plays. We’re going to try to have a big-play, explosive pass
game. The sync was a little bit off. I didn’t think anybody was bad.
It’s just a matter of that chemistry that’s going to come with a new
receiving corp. I thought Tyler had a good demeanor today.”
finished the day 12-of-26 for 132 yards with a touchdown and an
interception. His TD toss wrapped up his second drive of the evening, a
4-yarder to sophomore wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. The eight-play,
70-yard march was highlighted by a 16-yard reception from sophomore
wideout Justin Hunter and a 15-yard rush by freshman tailback Tom Smith.
and Smith led the Vols in receiving and rushing, respectively. Hunter
hauled in four passes for 69 yards, including Bray’s longest completion
of the day, a 21-yarder. Smith carried the ball 10 times for 80 yards,
including a UT scrimmage-best 22-yard scamper that set up the Vols’
only other touchdown of the night. Following Smith’s run, senior
quarterback Matt Simms found sophomore wide receiver Matt Milton in the
end zone from 18 yards out.
UT was a perfect
5-for-5 on field goals, with sophomore placekicker Michael Palardy
responsible for four. Palardy displayed range, connecting on a
52-yarder. His 33-yard field goal wrapped up an impressive and lengthy
drive that saw freshman tailback Marlin Lane break a 13-yard run and
catch a 12-yard pass on third down. Bray also found Hunter for 18 yards
on an earlier third down during that possession.
had a lot of improvement in some areas and we have a lot of work to do
in others,” Dooley said. “Just picking up from last scrimmage, I felt
like the tempo was much better by the offense. The administration was
much better. We had a nice throw going. We had a lot of good drives.
The problem was we only finished one of them off. We did a great job
kicking field goals today.”
defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. Senior
defensive back Art Evans claimed UT’s first of the day, returning an
INT 29 yards. Nigel Mitchell-Thornton and Naz Oliver were responsible
for the Vols’ two other INTs.
On a reception that
would’ve set the Vols’ offense up inside the red zone, sophomore
linebacker John Propst stripped the ball and junior defensive back Rod
Wilks recovered the fumble. Wilks had a strong day in the UT secondary,
adding five tackles, one for loss and a pass breakup.
Curt Maggitt was disruptive and caused problems for the UT offense
throughout the day. Four-and-a-half of his six tackles were in the
backfield, leading to a loss of 17 yards. One of his team-high two
sacks came on a “late game” situation drive.
The Vols applied pressure on the quarterbacks with four sacks and five QB hurries.
Sophomore defensive back Brent Brewer led Tennessee with seven tackles.
Tennessee’s two-deep tailbacks Tauren Poole and Rajion Neal sidelined
with minor injuries Saturday, Lane and Smith took advantage of their
opportunities to shine. Applying different rushing styles, the duo
provided a one-two punch that combined for 122 yards on 19 carries (6.4
“Marlin (Lane) is a little more elusive kind
of guy, change of direction,” Dooley said. “Tom is a little more of a
hammer-knocker. He’s a physical guy. He came from a Wing-T offense.
They just teach you in the Wing-T to run straight and you don’t even
look up. You just run. Whoever hits you, you just go. We have to teach
them that if there’s a defender there, you’re allowed to do a little
(juke) and get on the edge. He hasn’t learned that yet, but he hits and
he pushes forward.
“I think they’re going to
complement each other very well. I’m going to tell you what they both
have. They’re tough. And that’s a starting point at running back.”
Head coach Derek Dooley
(On senior linebacker Austin Johnson)
been a good solid mike (linebacker) for us. I think that’s where he can
help us the most. I think he’s comfortable there. He has nice command
and leadership on defense.”
(On Tennessee drawing too many penalties during Saturday’s scrimmage)
the biggest disappointment, but not surprising was the penalties. We
had an inordinate amount of penalties on both sides of the ball. This
is the first time really that there’s been consequences for their
penalties. We had officials at the last scrimmage but it was kind of
the flag gets thrown and we tell the guy ‘Don’t hold.’ No consequence.
It’s a real young team. Penalties come for a lot of reasons. It can be
just a discipline situation or it could be you’re not playing your
technique right and then you do something because you’re out of your
position. We have to really correct that. We had a lot of penalties in
some critical times.”
(On the risk of injuries during scrimmages)
always nervous about (injuries). I love scrimmages because they get to
play and you get to evaluate them but you’re always worried about them.
The minute you start worrying about guys getting hurt and you start
protecting them, then you have a team that can’t block and tackle. I’ve
always tried to never coach worrying about injuries but not being dumb
about it. They’re always going to happen. We just hope they don’t
happen anything serious to our guys.”