Friday Spring Scrimmage Report

On Friday afternoon the defense handled the Tennessee scrimmage for the better part of the scrimmage time coaches has allocated. A trend during spring practice that Coach Phillip Fulmer says started many years ago.

"I've learned not too say too much about a scrimmage until I've seen the film," Coach Fulmer said following the afternoon workout.

Last April, the defense defeated the offense during the Orange and White game by a score of 7-0. At the time it was thought that the D was just that good. Well they were. The thing was that the offense was also that bad.

The head coach says that is not that out of the ordinary at Tennessee if you look at the history books. "You can go back twenty years here and most springs the defense got the better of the offense. It's just the nature of the beast. You're not scheming anybody. You're trying to get players not plays."

A few other names that came up in Fulmer's post practice interview: C.J. Fayton, Corey Larkins and Troy Fleming.

Fleming made some nice plays catching the ball out of the backfield. Troy ran the ball a few times, but got the bulk of his work catching the football. The most notable of his plays was a 22-yard screen play where he caused four teammates to miss before finally being tackled after a nice gain. Fulmer's account: "Troy Fleming looked good running the ball today."

Here are some of the notable plays from this afternoon's 60-play scrimmage:
* Casey Clausen hit Tony Brown for a 70-yard touchdown pass. This would be the longest play of the scrimmage.

* Clausen connected with Fayton for a 25-yard touchdown hookup. Fayton made a very athletic play as he streaked through the secondary to make the grab.

* Walk-on quarterback Jarrod Smith floated a pass to tight end Justin Reed that was good for a 36-yard catch. Reed stretched back over his body and made a very athletic catch. There were a couple of other interceptions besides the aforementioned. "It was good to see the defense get their hands on the ball.

* Marvin Mitchell picked off a Clausen pass and returned it 24 yards until Corey Larkins ran him down. Larkins darted through defensive players and made a very nice tackle.

* Mark Jones scored on an end around from the 15-yard line of the south endzone. It was the second time in a full scale scrimmage that Jones has scored on the reverse play.

* Walk-on Peter Chang picked off a Clausen screen pass and returned it 61 yards for the score. Chang has really performed well this spring. He still has a long road to earning playing time, but he has had some good practice sessions.

* The scrimmage came to an end with a booming 53-yard field goal off the foot of James Wilhoit that split the post with 10 yards to spare. Fulmer was very elated with the kick and ended the day with that kick.

Wilhoit looked very strong in kicking the football today. He only missed on one attempt for the day. That kick was blocked when Omar Gaither slid through the left side of the line. The kick came from the right side of the field, so that gave the down linemen a little advantage. Fulmer gave a brief but accurate account of his place kicker today. "The kicker looked good … real good."

The team will practice on Tuesday and Friday of next week. The Friday practice will be very light due to a hard-hitting scrimmage next Saturday. This scrimmage is traditionally the most intense of the spring.


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