Snap judgment

Tennessee's offense has performed reasonably well this preseason. Still, you wonder how good it might look if it could line up with the same center two weeks in a row.

Junior David Ligon started full-scale scrimmage No. 1, suffered a high-ankle sprain on the very first snap and hasn't practiced since.

Senior Richie Gandy followed Ligon and got most of the work in scrimmage No. 1, then suffered a bruised kneecap that has him on the sidelines.

Rob Smith moved over from guard and worked with the first unit at center in last Saturday night in scrimmage No. 2, while another converted guard, redshirt freshman Anthony Parker, snapped for the second unit. Freshman Josh McNeil and walk-on Michael Frogg did the honors for the third unit.

Prior to the scrimmage, Tennessee also had guard Cody Douglas making some snaps. Clearly, the Vols are doing everything they can to address the sudden depth shortage at center.

"We work an hour or two a day on snaps … snaps ALONE," quarterback Erik Ainge said. "Michael Frogg has probably taken more snaps in scrimmages than anyone in UT history. He's a workhorse for us. Josh McNeil's trying to step in there and snap some. Then there's Cody and Rob, who are well-proven linemen."

Smith did a fine job in Saturday night's scrimmage and appears likely to be Tennessee's starting center in the Sept 3 opener against Alabama-Birmingham. He's the only Vol lineman who started every game in 2004, so he should be durable enough to survive until Game 1. And, these days, durability is in short supply at center.

"It's tough to go from playing guard your whole career (to center)," Ainge said, "but I think he's doing an exceptional job."


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