Although the defense stuffed the Vol ground game at times, rushers Montario Hardesty, Tauren Poole and Toney Williams managed to rip off several really nice gains.
“I think the O-line is run-blocking really well,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “We've got to get better pass-blocking, especially on third down. I think they're blocking extremely well against a very good D-line.”
Most encouraging about the offensive performance on Saturday was the fact it came against a defense that was not as vanilla as the one the attack unit had faced previously.
“The defense got pretty complicated this week,” Kiffin noted. “The first week the offense ran the ball really well but the defense wasn't moving around very much. There were very little calls in. They ran a number of hard looks this week, so it was great to see them putting our (offensive) guys in hard situations.”
What follows are a few of the scrimmage highlights:
- Cornerback Dennis Rogan made a nice move to step in front of tight end Jeff Cottam and nearly intercept a Jonathan Crompton pass over the middle.
- Mid-term freshman Toney Williams showed good power on a nifty run of around 15 yards, bulling through a couple of would-be tacklers to pick up the last five. Seconds later, given a gaping hole at right tackle, he burst for another 15-yard gain.
- B. J. Coleman made a nice throw over the middle to Cottam for approximately a 12-yard gain.
- Tauren Poole made an acrobatic move while weaving his way up the middle. A hard hit put him almost on the ground but he somehow got his hand down in time to keep his left knee from touching the turf, then popped up to gain another five yards or so.
- Poole broke a 30-yard run around left end but had the play nullified by a holding call against guard Vladimir Richard. At the end of the run Poole was knocked out of bounds on a wicked hit by redshirt freshman safety Prentiss Waggner.
- Crompton threw a strike to Gerald Jones on a quick hitch, and Jones made a nifty move to the outside to turn the 10-yard gain into 20.
- Crompton found Cottam on a 12-yard touchdown pass near the right pylon.
- Coleman connected with fullback Austin Johnson for a gain of around 10 yards.
- Tailback Lennon Creer was stripped on a run up the middle and, in the ensuing scramble for the loose ball, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron slipped while trying to follow the action and had to scramble crab-like on his backside out of harm's way.
- Defensive end Chris Walker, described by Kiffin as “unblockable,” stormed through on a pass rush and batted a pass from Coleman just as the ball left the QB's hand. Coleman came off the field flexing his right elbow but returned to action moments later.
- Montario Hardesty, apparently stopped cold in the middle of the line, somehow broke free and bounced outside for about a 20-yard gain.
- Hardesty caught a short pass over the middle, was stood up by one defender, then leveled on a bruising hit by linebacker Nick Reveiz.
- Coleman found fullback Austin Johnson out of the backfield for a gain of roughly 20 yards.
- Poole burst probably 10 yards up the middle for a TD against the No. 2 defense.
- A Coleman pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Prentiss Waggner, who returned it 60 yards for a touchdown.
- In some goal-line work at the end of practice Hardesty was stopped in his tracks by the middle of the defensive line.
- After an incomplete pass left the offense facing third-and-goal at the 3-yard line, Hardesty circled left end, surged through two tacklers at the 1-yard line and barely got the ball across the goal line.
- Brandon Warren briefly reeled in a three-yard pass in the end zone but dropped it when he was belted by safety Demetrice Morley. (SEC official Al Matthews would've ruled it complete but the practice official did not.)
- Coleman hit Quintin Hancock on a quick slant for a three-yard touchdown.
- Crompton hit Hancock on another quick slant for another three-yard TD.
VOL VISITORS: Several noteworthy visitors attended Saturday's scrimmage, including former UT head coach John Majors and former Vol assistant Charles Coffey, who also served as head man at Virginia Tech from 1971-73.
Also attending the workout was junior college point guard Melvin Goins (Mt. San Jacinto, Calif.), accompanied by UT basketball coaches Bruce Pearl, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes. Tennessee is a finalist for Goins, who also is considering Nebraska and Cincinnati.