No clear-cut answer
Erik Ainge

Posted Apr 4, 2006


The worst thing about Tennessee’s offensive futility in Saturday’s full-scale scrimmage wasn’t the fact that the top three quarterbacks combined to complete just 29 of 61 passes.

It wasn’t the fact that the top three tailbacks combined to gain just 107 yards on 34 rushes.

It wasn’t the dropped passes.

It wasn't even the fact that three hours of scrimmaging produced just two touchdowns.

No, the worst thing about the scrimmage was this: There is no clear-cut answer to the offensive woes … no quick fix that will solve all of the problems and get the attack unit on the right track.

“We’ve got ability and we’re giving effort and we’re being coached well, so I couldn’t really tell you right now,” junior quarterback Erik Ainge said when asked what caused the offensive woes.

The passing game was really disappointing, especially compared to the first scrimmage of the spring. That day saw Ainge (14 of 23, 178 yards, 1 TD), Jonathan Crompton (10 of 16, 106 yards, 3 TDs) and Bo Hardegree (13 of 19, 87 yards, 1 TD) combine to complete 37 of 58 passes for 371 yards and 5 touchdowns. On Saturday the same trio completed just 29 of 61 for 281 yards and ZERO touchdowns.

Moreover, Ainge threw an interception Saturday and Crompton threw two, although one was negated by an offsides penalty. There had been no interceptions in scrimmage No. 1.

Whereas the quarterbacks appeared to falter a bit from Scrimmage 1 to Scrimmage 2, the wideouts and tight ends really took a nosedive. After dropping just four balls in the first scrimmage, they dropped at least three times that many on Saturday. That was enough to kill several drives.

“It’s as frustrating for me as anybody else on offense anytime you’re not getting it done,” Ainge said. “Dropped balls … we had a few. Poor throws … we had a few of those. I threw an interception. There were a lot of things. It wasn’t any one thing that got us beat today.”

No, it wasn’t any one thing. If it were one thing, UT staffers could fix it and move on. Instead, the problem is a lot of things. And that’s what’s really disturbing as spring practice heads down the home stretch.


Related Stories
Cutcliffe finds Ainge 'very coachable'
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Apr 6, 2006
Vols pay for mistakes
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Mar 31, 2006
Quarterbacks 'pass' O&W test
 -by InsideTennessee.com  Apr 9, 2006

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