Saturday scrimmage highlights

If freshman quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer were nervous after learning they're bracketed No. 1 on Tennessee's depth chart, it certainly didn't show in Saturday's scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

Unofficially, my stats showed Schaeffer completing 8 of 13 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Ainge clicked on 4 of 6 for 59 yards. Meanwhile, junior Rick Clausen struggled mightily, completing just 2 of 10 throws for 10 yards.

Here's a series-by-series recap of the scrimmage:

• Schaeffer took the first turn, threw an incompletion on second-and-8, then hit Tony Brown for 7 yards. • Schaeffer completed 2 of 3 passes for 35 yards on his second series. The first completion was a four-yarder to fullback Cory Anderson, the second a 31-yard strike to Tony Brown while Schaeffer was scrambling to his left. A delay-of-game penalty thwarted the drive, then James Wilhoit missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

• Ainge took the next three series and looked very poised. On the first series he completed 3 of 3 for 40 yards. The first was a 20-yard laser beam to Bret Smith. On his next throw the pocket was collapsing around him, but Ainge calmly stepped up and hit Smith again -- this time for 11 yards. A subsequent nine-yard toss to Tony Brown moved the ball to the 5-yard line. However, Corey Larkins lost two yards on second-and-one and Ainge was sacked by fellow freshman James Turner on third-and-three. Wilhoit then nailed a 32-yard field goal for the first points of the scrimmage. • Ainge completed a 19-yard strike to Casey Woods on the second play of his next possession but Jabari Davis fumbled on the very next play, and the defense recovered. • Ainge was 0 for 2 on his third series but the second attempt would've resulted in a 29-yard touchdown except that Larkins dropped the ball.

• Clausen took the next two series and went a combined 1 of 5 for 7 yards. His first pass was very nearly intercepted by Daniel Brooks. His next was a safety valve toss to Jabari Davis that picked up seven yards.

• On his second series, Clausen missed Derrick Tinsley over the middle, threw behind Bill Grimes then underthrew Grimes under heavy pressure from the pass rush.

• Schaeffer got another turn at this point, completed 5 of 8 throws for 60 yards and smartly guided the offense to the day's first touchdown. After overthrowing Chris Hannon, he threw a jump pass to David Yancey over the middle for seven yards. Schaeffer hit Hannon for gains of 11 and 13, but missed Cory Anderson under duress from the pass rush. Schaeffer's next pass was caught by C.J. Fayton but he was out of the end zone, resulting in an incompletion. Undaunted, Schaeffer came back on the very next play to hit Tinsley with a perfectly thrown 22-yard strike at the back of the end zone.

• Clausen took another series at this point but did no better than before, misfiring on all three attempts. In his defense, he Turk McBride nailed him sas he unloaded the first pass and freshman corner Inky Johnson shook the ball loose from Larkins with a well-timed hit on the second.

• Clausen completed 1 of 2 passes for 3 yards on his final series. He also was sacked for a 10-yard loss by freshman Ryan Karl on a safety blitz.

No. 4 quarterback Bo Hardegree got some work as the No. 3 offense went against the No. 3 defense. Hardegree was 0 for 5, his final attempt being intercepted when Inky Johnson outbattled fellow frosh Sinclair Cannon. The highlight of this drill was freshman tailback Arian Foster, who showed some shifty moves en route to gaining 41 yards on five carries. Foster just joined the team two days ago but showed great moves and vision.

The Vols then ran some two-point conversion attempts. Ainge got the points on four of six attempts. Jabari Davis scored twice following big blocks by Cory Anderson. Ainge completed a tackle-eligible pass to David Ligon for another PAT and Gerald Riggs, Jr., got the final two-pointer by scoring standing up on a burst up the middle.

Schaeffer was almost as effective on his two-point conversion tries, succeeding on three of six tries. Riggs powered off tackle for one, Schaeffer threw to backup fullback Robert Williams for the second and Cedric Houston burrowed into the end zone for the third. Schaeffer attempted a quick out to C.J. Fayton that was very nearly intercepted by Roshaun Fellows.

Wilhoit got some more work on field goals at this point, hitting four of eight tries. He missed three of four from 33 and 35 yards, then hit three of three from 38 and 42 (twice) before missing from 53.

The Vols closed the practice with some situational scrimmaging. Schaeffer found Hannon for 29 yards on his first play but was sacked twice by Kevin Burnett (losses of 10 and 5 yards) in the next three plays. On third-and-30, Schaeffer hit Tinsley for 15 yards.

With a drizzle falling at this point, the success of the passers and pass-catchers slipped noticeably. Still, Schaeffer went 3 of 6, completing passes of 12 and 10 yards to Fayton and 12 yards to Tony Brown.

By the time Ainge stepped behind center, the drizzle had become a full-fledged downpour. He hit Tinsley for gains of 14 and 5 yards but a nice throw over the middle skipped off the fingers of Jayson Swain and was intercepted by Jonathan Wade. Ainge went 2 for 5 on his final series but the final pass was a 15-yard strike that was dropped by an unidentified receiver.

Hardegree got one more chance to show his stuff and made the most of the opportunity, hitting Sinclair Cannon in stride with a 33-yard bomb.

The workout closed with some red-zone scrimmaging in heavy rains. Schaeffer fumbled on his first play, then went to the sidelines. Ainge guided the offense into the end zone on each of the next two series, throwing to Tony Brown for the first TD and handing off to Gerald Riggs for the second. Schaeffer got another opportunity but came up empty when David Yancey fumbled after turning a short pass into a nice gain.

NOTE: Ainge completed 8 of 16 passes for 105 yards in last Wednesday night's scrimmage, not 7 of 15 for 45 yards ... as was previously posted. The statistician for UT inadvertently neglected to count a 60-yard TD pass from Ainge to Bret Smith.


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