There are easier tasks than sending two freshman quarterbacks against
Georgia in Athens but Vol offensive coordinator Randy Sanders can think of
at least one scenario that's even worse. That would be the task he faced the
last time Tennessee ventured to Athens.
With starting QB Casey Clausen
sidelined by a shoulder injury, the 2002 Vols
had one week to prepare backups C.J. Leak
and James Banks
to face the
Bulldogs. Leak, a junior, got the vast majority of practice repetitions that
week. When Leak struggled on Tennessee's first two series, however, the Vols
switched to Banks, a true freshman who had been used exclusively at receiver
in earlier games. Banks directed all but one of the remaining possessions.
By comparison, the Vols are in a lot better shape in 2004 -- even having to
rely on rookies Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer to handle the QB duties.
''No doubt,'' Sanders said. ''These guys have played when the game's on the
line. At that point (in 2002), James had never taken a snap and C.J.'s snaps
had been very limited.'
''We're definitely better prepared this time.''
That's encouraging, since Tennessee lost by a mere 18-13 score in 2002.