Schaeffer's bad break

Just when the breaks seemed to be falling Vol quarterback Brent Schaeffer's way, a key break (a fracture, to be precise) went against him.

After scarcely playing in Game 6 and sitting out all of Game 7, the talented freshman returned from obscurity in Game 8. He came off the bench to ignite Tennessee's attack last Saturday at Columbia, rallying the Vols from an 8-0 deficit to a 42-29 defeat of South Carolina. He fractured his right shoulder blade in the third quarter, however, and will be out four to six weeks.

Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders seems almost as disappointed by the unfortunate turn of events as Schaeffer himself. After losing the No. 1 QB job to fellow freshman Erik Ainge three games into the season, Schaeffer had thrust himself back into the picture prior to his injury.

''It's really sad,'' Sanders said. ''He had battled through, kept working and kept competing. He had really stepped it up.''

Schaeffer was injured on a rollout to his left. Holding the ball a split-second too long, he finally threw it just before he was belted out of bounds. That's when he sustained the injury.

''The play he got hurt on ... if he'd done what he was supposed to do, he wouldn't have gotten hurt,'' Sanders said. ''He would've had the ball thrown, it would've been a nice, easy completion and we would've been lining up to play the next down.''


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