Recap of first scrimmage

Head coach Phillip Fulmer got long looks at freshman quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer Saturday at Haslam Field as Tennessee held its first scrimmage of the preseason. What the coach saw was pretty much what he expected to see ... a few good plays and a lot of mistakes.

''We really felt like we had to find out what those freshmen could do and where they are,'' Fulmer said. ''It was about like (you'd expect from) freshmen playing their first college scrimmage: It was not very good but they'll learn from it and be able to build on that.''

Senior quarterback C.J. Leak and junior Rick Clausen got three series each to open the scrimmage. Neither was able to sustain a drive, although Leak did complete a short pass to Robert Meachem that turned into a 33-yard gain.

Ainge, Schaeffer and redshirt freshman Bo Hardegree split the repetitions thereafter, combining to take probably 70 of the scrimmage's 90 plays. Each showed flashes but none was able to move the team consistently. Fumbles, sacks, interceptions and penalties were commonplace.

''Really, for the entire scrimmage, the defense just set the tempo,'' Fulmer said. ''The offense just kept finding ways to shoot itself in the foot.''

The Vols will hold fullscale scrimmage No. 2 Wednesday night.

''Hopefully, we will take a very good step forward offensively,'' Fulmer said. ''We've had some receivers make some plays (in practice) but today we didn't make any plays. The running backs made a play or two, then we'd get the ball knocked out of our hands.''

Admitting he was ''not real pleased with the offense,'' Fulmer said the defensive front seven ''totally dominated this scrimmage.''

A bright spot on offense was walk-on tailback David Yancey. After missing several days of practice due to his mother's illness, he made some nifty runs in Saturday's scrimmage.

''He was our most productive running back today,'' Fulmer said. ''He's the only one that looked like a college back consistently.''

Here's a recap of the noteworthy plays:

* Cedric Houston rambled 19 yards but fumbled at the end of the play, with the defense recovering. Running backs coach Trooper Taylor made Houston pay for his mistake by running five or six installments of the ''grass drill'' (chasing a rolling football 10-15 yards, then falling on it).

* C.J. Leak threw a quick out to Robert Meachem, who outbattled a cornerback for the ball, then raced downfield for a 33-yard gain.

Center Jason Respert sent a shotgun snap over the head of Erik Ainge -- no small feat since Ainge is 6-6 -- and Jason Allen recovered for the defense.

Linebacker Kevin Burnett threw Jabari Davis for a four-yard loss.

Safety Corey Campbell was called for pass interference on an Ainge throw over the middle intended for Tony Brown.

Jabari Davis fumbled a handoff from Ainge; Trooper Taylor made both parties do the ''grass drill.''

Frosh QB Brent Schaeffer scrambled for a 12-yard gain.

Corey Larkins rambled seven yards to pick up a first down but the offense was penalized 15 yards when tackle Arron Sears shoved a defender after the play.

Cornerback Roshaun Fellows stepped in front of Jayson Swain to intercept a pass thrown by Schaeffer. Fellows, who intercepted a pass in every scrimmage last spring, has not recorded an Oskie in five consecutive scrimmages.

Schaeffer got revenge on the very next play, hitting Meachem in perfect stride for a 65-yard touchdown. Fellows, hero of the previous play, was burned on this one.

Schaeffer froze the defense with a nifty play fake, then hit tailback David Yancey for an 12-yard gain.

Jabari Davis bulled for nine yards and a first down.

A 15-yard pass from Schaeffer to Meachem was wiped out by a holding call.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Bo Hardegree completed back-to-back passes of six yards to James Banks, who played both wideout and safety during the scrimmage.

Yancey made a super move to avert a loss and turned the play into an eight-yard gain.

A big hit by freshman cornerback Inky Johnson broke up a pass from Hardegree to C.J. Fayton.

Hardegree completed an 11-yard pass to David Ligon on a tackle-eligible play. Ligon essentially lined up as a tight end on the play.

Defensive end Antonio Reynolds, linebacker Jon Poe and linebacker Omar Gaither combined to stuff Jabari Davis for a three-yard loss on a third-and-one play.

Corey Larkins bounced outside for a 15-yard gain.

Fellows hit Schaeffer on a cornerback blitz, disrupting an attempted flare pass.

The lefthanded Schaeffer forced a pass while scrambling to his right that was intercepted by Jonathan Wade.

Fellows nearly intercepted a bomb from Ainge to Banks.

Backup center Richie Gandy sent a shotgun snap sailing over Ainge's head.

Tony Brown made a brilliant lunging catch for an 18-yard gain on a deep throw over the middle by Ainge.

Fullback Cory Anderson, usually sure-handed, dropped all three passes thrown his way, including back-to-back balls late in the scrimmage.

Defensive ends Turk McBride and Xavier McDaniel simultaneously blasted Schaeffer from opposite sides on a six-yard sack.

Freshman wideout Sinclair Cannon got 10 yards behind the secondary but was overthrown by Schaeffer.

Hardegree just missed a 50-yard touchdown connection when Banks appeared to misjudge the ball and come up a foot short of reaching it.

Freshman tight end Chris Brown made a dandy one-handed catch of a five-yard pass from Hardegree. Hardegree hit Brown for 20 yards on the next play.

Freshman tailback Ja'Kouri Williams showed some power by plowing up the middle for seven yards.

The only injury reported following the scrimmage was a high-ankle sprain to first-team guard Cody Douglas. Fulmer noted that he is ''really concerned'' because high-ankle sprains can linger for big guys like Douglas. Douglas' injury should enable Arron Sears to join the first-team line. Sears has been excellent in preseason.

Missing the scrimmage were receiver Bret Smith (foot), receiver Bill Grimes (back), tight end Victor McClure (shoulder), defensive tackle Greg Jones (academics), linebacker Marvin Mitchell (knee) and defensive end Jared Hostetter (ankle).

Hostetter is out at least two weeks.


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