Reflections on Workout No. 1

Tony Brown

After watching all three hours of UT's opening football practice on Tuesday, here are a few observations:

• Freshman QB Bo Hardegree apparently suffers from what I call ''Tee Martin Syndrome.'' Tee would be so pumped up at the start of a game that he usually overthrew his first five or six passes. Hardegree, clearly nervous, overthrew almost every pass I saw him attempt. Obviously, his passes will come down as his excitement level does.

• Sophomore QB James Banks struggled mightily as a passer on Day 1. He made a few quality throws but also unloaded some wild pitches. One ''bomb'' turned out to be a floater that had more hang time than some of Dustin Colquitt's punts. Not surprisingly, it was intercepted. Banks also fumbled a snap from backup center Chavis Smith. At one point, Banks was struggling so mightily that fellow QB C.J. Leak tried to comfort him with a pat on the helmet. Banks worked roughly 50 percent of the time at QB and 50 percent at wide receiver.

• Senior QB Casey Clausen threw the ball exceptionally well. His accuracy and timing were sharp, just as they were last spring. He appears poised for a big senior season.

• C.J. Leak threw the ball quite well but he ALWAYS throws well in drill work. His troubles come in scrimmage and game-type situations, where he must read a defense and deal with pass rushers. If the Vol staff could get Leak to perform in live action as efficiently as he does in drills, that would free Banks to work at receiver on a fulltime basis.

LSU transfer Rick Clausen, Casey's brother, does not appear to throw the ball with the velocity or tight spiral of his sibling. A lefty, Rick seems to possess reasonably good touch, accuracy and timing, however. After one poor throw, Rick got some words of advice from Casey.

• Speedy Jonathan Wade, who dropped several catchable balls late last season, failed to handle one perfect throw early in the workout but bounced back to catch the ball well thereafter, including a nice sliding grab of a ball thrown behind him by Casey Clausen. If Wade can become more sure-handed, his 4.3 speed over 40 yards would be a huge boost to Tennessee's vertical passing game. If not, he'll be a fulltime cornerback by October.

• Freshman wide receiver Robert Meachem showed remarkable agility in one passing drill. He caught an ''out'' route mere inches from the right sideline, somehow stopped without stepping out of bounds, then cut upfield and tightroped the sidelines for a big gain.

• Sophomore receiver Chris Hannon made an eye-catching grab of a high throw over the middle. Hannon has the height (6-3) and speed (4.37) to be a star. Though known as ''Spider Man'' because of his sticky hands, he dropped several catchable balls during the workout.

• Receiver Tony Brown faked out All-SEC safety Rashad Baker and slipped five yards behind him to catch a touchdown bomb. Brown also made a nice diving catch on another 50-yarder.

• Cornerback Jason Allen showed excellent strength by bulldogging freshman receiver Jayson Swain out of bounds as Swain tried to escape press coverage and run a pass route during some drill work. Swain, like Allen, is 6-2 and 205, so Allen's accomplishment was noteworthy.

• Safety-turned-receiver Mark Jones leaped to spear a high throw from Banks. Jones continues to impress observers with his playmaking ability, just as he did last spring.

TODAY'S SPORTS QUIZ: Guess who showed up to watch practice wearing a baseball cap, a turquose T-shirt, blue jean shorts, crew socks and sport shoes?

Give up? Former UT athletics director Doug Dickey, who always wore a suit and tie while serving as AD. Dickey is now a ''consultant'' to the athletics department.

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