UT offense, defense take turns
Montario Hardesty

Posted Mar 31, 2009


When the offense dominates practice, you have to wonder if your defense is bad. When the defense dominates, you have to wonder if your offense is bad. When the two sides alternately dominate ... well, that may be coaching Nirvana.

If so, Tuesday was coaching Nirvana for Tennessee's Lane Kiffin. The offense kicked butt for a while, then the defense finished with a flourish to leave the Vols' head man smiling at day's end.

“Practice started off with both sides playing pretty well,” he said. “Then we got into some live short-yardage (situations) and the offense won the first five in a row versus the 1 defense, so that was great to see offensively.

“Then we got into a four-minute drill, where the offense just had to kill the clock to win the game, and the defense got two turnovers in a row. One (came) after making a first down; we only needed one more first down.”

Kiffin was understandably thrilled to see the stop unit bounce back and finish strongly.

“It was a great job by the defense,” he said. “That's how you win games ... the plays at the end of the game.”

Naturally, the coach was disappointed to see the offense put the ball on the ground on back-to-back possessions in clutch situations. The first time came when usually sure-handed tailback Montario Hardesty lost the handle on his way to the ground after a four-yard gain. The second time came when fullback Austin Johnson was stripped at the end of a 15-yard gain on a swing pass out of the backfield.

Running backs coach Eddie Gran went somewhat ballistic at this point. Kiffin was upset with the lack of ball security, too.

“Obviously, offensively, we've got to take care of the ball better,” the head man said. ”Other than that, I thought it was pretty good.”

WHAT'S MY LINE: Rising sophomore Donald Langley, who has had minimal impact as a defensive tackle, is getting a look at offensive guard.

INJURY REPORT: Several key Vols missed the workout. Tailback Lennon Creer was held out as doctors evaluate a knee injury he suffered in Saturday's scrimmage. Guard Vladimir Richard missed the last half of the workout after being inadvertently kicked in the head. Kiffin said free safety Demetrice Morley missed the workout because his “significant other went into labor today, so he's at the hospital with her.”


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