Sanders take on offense

The quarterbacks looked erratic. The running backs looked tentative. The receivers looked sluggish and the blockers looked overmatched. Thus, Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders was hard-pressed to find a silver lining following Saturday's first preseason scrimmage.

Senior quarterback C.J. Leak (1 of 4 for 33 yards) and junior Rick Clausen (1 of 4 for 5 yards) played sparingly. Freshman QBs Brent Schaeffer (5 of 16 for 91 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions) and Erik Ainge (3 of 14 for 30 yards) got the vast majority of the snaps. Since Ainge and Schaeffer are inexperienced, their struggles were somewhat understandable.

''They did some good things,'' Sanders said. ''You can see the raw ability they have. But they know just enough to understand how much they DON'T know at this point. That leaves them confused. I expect them to be much better in the next scrimmage. I'll be very disappointed if they're not.''

Tennessee's most productive rushers were mighty mites David Yancey (six rushes for 22 yards) and Corey Larkins (six rushes for 37 yards). Cedric Houston (five for 16 yards) made a dandy 19-yard run but fumbled at the end of it. Jabari Davis (10 for 13 yards) rarely got out of the starting gate. Gerald Riggs (four for 16) was nothing special. So, what did Sanders think of his tailback corps?

''There were a couple of times that we were looking for cuts instead of just dropping our pads (and driving forward),'' he said. ''But it's the first live work to any extent, and you have to practice your skill. They haven't practiced their skill (after just one week of work). I expect it'll be much better in the next scrimmage (Wednesday night).''

Sanders conceded that Yancey ''provided a spark'' but offered a qualification.

''David, unfortunately, has been out of town a few days (at the bedside his sick mother) so his legs are still fresh,'' the coordinator said. ''He looks a little faster.''

After starring in earlier workouts, Tennessee's receiving corps was strangely quiet on Saturday. The notable exception was Robert Meachem, who turned a short pass into a 33-yard gain and later made a 65-yard touchdown grab. Meachem finished with three catches for 104 yards. Freshman tight end Chris Brown also had a good day, grabbing three balls for 37 yards.

Otherwise, the pass catchers had little impact on the scrimmage. James Banks had two catches for 11 yards, Jonathan Wade one catch for 5 yards, Sinclair Cannon one catch for 5 yards, Tony Brown one catch for 18 yards and C.J. Fayton one catch for 3 yards.

''Our receivers have been running all week,'' Sanders noted. ''So, instead of running 4.4 or 4.5, they're running 4.6 or 4.7. That (tired legs) typically happens this time of year, so I'm not overly concerned with it, but we've definitely got progress to make.''

Informed that head coach Phillip Fulmer surmised that Tennessee's defensive front seven ''totally dominated'' the Vol offensive line, Sanders nodded.

''I thought we did get dominated a little bit,'' he said. ''I was disappointed that the run game didn't get more accomplished. There were times when we didn't block very well, some times that we didn't run very well and a few times that the quarterbacks were a little slow getting away from the line of scrimmage and not getting the ball deep enough to the running backs so they can run. With Schaeffer and Ainge (getting most of the snaps), it doesn't surprise me that much.

''Plus, our defense is pretty good, pretty fast and very multiple. Trying to block all the different things they did after a week of practice isn't easy. It was a very limited offensive package.''

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