QBs 'even' after scrimmage 3

If Tennessee's offense had been as sharp in Tuesday night's scrimmage as head coach Phillip Fulmer's wit was afterward, the Vols would've been unstoppable.

Knowing he would be peppered with questions about the quarterback competition between senior Rick Clausen and sophomore Erik Ainge, Fulmer apparently prepared a few wisecracks for the occasion.

After pronouncing the QB battle "even," Fulmer was asked if he'd like to settle on a No. 1 QB before Monday, Aug. 29 – the start of "game week" for the Sept. 3 opener against Alabama-Birmingham.

"I'd like to have it settled," he deadpanned. "But if it's still even, what am I gonna' do: Flip a coin?"

When asked what the advantage might be in having the starter settled before game week, Fulmer shrugged.

"I don't know of one, really," he said. "It might be settling to the team a little bit. But I think the team feels comfortable with whoever's out there."

With Clausen and Ainge deadlocked 11 days shy of the opener, Fulmer was asked what factor will break the tie.

Grinning smugly, he replied: "Probably who I choose, I guess."

When he wasn't cracking wise, Fulmer was emphasizing that there simply isn't enough separation between Ainge and Clausen for either to be listed ahead of the other. And he saw nothing in Tuesday night's scrimmage to change that opinion.

Clausen completed 14 of 16 passes but most were dump-offs to backs and tight ends. As a result, his 14 completions netted just 91 yards, an average of 6.5 per completion.

Ainge connected on just nine of 19 but netted 132 yards, an average of nearly 15 yards per completion.

"There were some good things by both of ‘em," Fulmer said. "Rick certainly seems to be in command right now. Erik seems to be pressing a little bit out there. But when you go and grade the film, look at all the cut-ups and all the drills, those two guys are even. We're very blessed right now to have two guys."

Clausen and Ainge alternated every four snaps, so each would get an equal number of plays. Both had some good moments and some bad moments.

"To me," Fulmer said, "either one of them being in the game is just fine right now."

SCRIMMAGE STATS

PASSING

Clausen 14 of 16, 91 yards, 0 TD, 0 interceptions

Ainge 9 of 19, 132 yards, 0 TD, 1 interception

Hardegree 3 of 3, 22 yards, 0 TD, 0 interceptions

Cooter 1 of 2, 5 yards, 0 TD, 0 interceptions

RUSHING

Arian Foster 10 carries, 53 yards, 1 TD

Gerald Riggs 16 carries, 36 yards

David Yancey 6 carries, 26 yards

LaMarcus Coker 8 carries, 13 yards

RECEIVING

Bret Smith 4 catches, 41 yards

Robert Meachem 3 catches, 60 yards

Casey Woods 3 catches, 19 yards

Chris Hannon 3 catches, 16 yards

Gerald Riggs 3 catches, 15 yards

Brad Cottam 2 catches, 33 yards

Jake Finlayson 2 catches, 16 yards

Arian Foster 2 catches, 11 yards

PUNTING

Britton Colquitt 37.1 average

FIELD GOALS

James Wilhoit 7 of 11 (36, 44, 47, 27, 30, 48 and 52 made ... 28, 52, 48 and 48 missed).

Britton Colquitt 3 of 4 (34, 38, 38 made ... 38 missed).


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