KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee's offense protected the ball
and put together long drives in its most solid performance of the
The Volunteers' ball control problems of a year ago seemed a
thing of the past as the offense beat the defense 41-23 in
Saturday's scrimmage after being outplayed for much of the spring.
"There were some lengthy drives. That's good to see. That's
what happens when you don't turn the ball over," coach Lane Kiffin
Tennessee's offense had suffered many interceptions and fumbles
through the team's 14 spring practices.
Rico McCoy intercepted starter Jonathan Crompton for the game's
only turnover, earning the defense 5 points. The defense received 3
points for every drive it stopped.
Both units played a watered-down version of their schemes
designed to help the offense be successful, but defensive end Chris
Walker promises the defense was doing all it could to get the ball.
"I think the coaches really stressed it and the guys really
bought into it - not to say we didn't try to get it out, but those
boys were really holding onto it," he said.
B.J. Coleman, playing with the second team, connected with
Brandon Warren on a 9-yard touchdown pass and Quintin Hancock on a
4-yarder. Coleman finished 13-for-22 for 160 yards.
Warren also caught a 5-yard scoring strike from Nick Stephens
and had 50 yards on four receptions. Hancock led the team with 96
yards receiving on eight catches.
Crompton finished 14-for-27 for 143 yards and threw a touchdown
pass to Austin Rogers.
Tauren Poole rushed 18 times for 83 yards, and Toney Williams
gained 79 yards on 13 carries.
Playing a more vanilla version of the offense - Kiffin said
about 20 percent of the offense was shown - helped the guys have a
little more fun on the field in front of the crowd of 51,488, the
second largest spring game crowd in history.
"We just wanted to execute," he said. "We made some throws,
we made some catches and we made some great runs. It was real fun.
We got in a rhythm, and we just flowed with it."
The team went through a typical game-day routine of meetings and
the traditional "Vol Walk" with fans from the team's practice
facility to Neyland Stadium.
It was the first Vol Walk for the new coaching staff. Kiffin
walked calmly past fans while offensive line coach Ed Orgeron
pumped his arms in the air and slapped fans hands and defensive
coordinator Monte Kiffin was greeted by chants of "Monte, Monte!"
Former coach Phillip Fulmer was honored on field before the game
for receiving the Gen. Robert Neyland Trophy from the Knoxville
Quarterback Club, drawing cheers from the fans.
"I'm as big a Tennessee fan as anybody can possibly be. This is
home," Fulmer said before the game to reporters.