Tennessee’s quarterbacks were on target Saturday but the defense kept them out of the end zone for most of the afternoon during the Vols’ first full scrimmage of 2008 at Neyland Stadium.
The entire defensive unit limited its counterpart to just 45 rushing yards by the depth chart’s top four ball-carriers, and seemingly made big stops in the Orange Zone time and again. Reserve defensive tackles Donald Langley and Victor Thomas, whose importance increased after this week’s injury to Chase Nelson, each contributed two tackles for loss to key the efforts.
“Defensively, it was great to see us get our hands on some balls but we gave up some yards in the process,” head coach Phillip Fulmer said. “It’s something we’ll get a lot out of.”
Linebackers Adam Myers-White and Nevin McKenzie were the tackle leaders with five apiece, with McKenzie chipping in three TFLs for a combined minus-16 yards.
Quarterback Jonathan Crompton finished 12-of-16 for 114 yards and one interception, while Nick Stephens was 8-of-11 for 108 yards and B.J. Coleman 7-of-12 for 66 yards. The lone touchdown pass was Stephens to Tyler Maples for 7 yards.
“The obvious thing is to take care of the football better and be able to finish drives offensively,” Fulmer said. “It’s good to get the first big scrimmage under out belt. I certainly will use this film to see where we need to go from here.”
Wide receivers Josh Briscoe and Gerald Jones led UT’s attack through the air. Briscoe caught two passes for 50 yards, including a 37-yard grab early in the scrimmage that proved to be the longest play the defense gave up. Jones finished with five receptions for 64 yards and showed off the same elusiveness that made him an impact player late last season.
UT also made it through Saturday’s workout without an injury, although several players were held out with various bumps and bruises.
Daniel Lincoln got off to slow start but finished strong, making his final six field goal attempts to finish 9-of-13 with a long of 52. Chad Cunningham punted 10 times for an average of 42.0 yards, with a long of 49 yards.
“I thought our kickers started slow and ended up finishing really well, and that was good in their first big scrimmage of the year, Fulmer said.”
The Vols got a well-deserved day off Sunday and returned to the practice field Monday morning.
Rushing Leaders (Att.-Yds.-TD) – Ja’Kouri Williams 7-37-0; Montario Hardesty 8-21-0; Tauren Poole 9-11-1; Gerald Jones 2-8-0; C.J. Jackson 8-6-0; Lennon Creer 9-5-2.
Passing Leaders (Att.-Comp.-Int.-Yds.-TD) – Jonathan Crompton 16-12-1-114-0; Nick Stephens 11-8-0-108-1; B.J. Coleman 12-7-0-66-0.
Receiving Leaders (No.-Yds.-TD) – Gerald Jones 5-64-0; Josh Briscoe 2-50-0; Tyler Maples 3-33-1; Montario Hardesty 3-22-0; Tauren Poole 2-22-0; Luke Stocker 3-19-0; Austin Rogers 2-21-0; Austin Johnson 2-21-0.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.