Two predictions at center

With the season opener just nine days away, here are two predictions for Tennessee's Game 1 starter at center:

1. It will be Rob Smith, barring injury.

2. It won't be Cody Douglas.

Smith and Douglas were projected to be UT's starting guards until centers Richie Gandy and David Ligon suffered preseason injuries. Both Smith and Douglas subsequently got trials at center. Smith passed the test. Douglas didn't.

Smith did an excellent job snapping in UT's full-scale scrimmages on Saturday night and Tuesday night, earning praise from head coach Phillip Fulmer and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders. No. 2 center Anthony Parker also got some compliments.

Conversely, Douglas probably played his way OUT of the center derby Tuesday night. Rick Clausen fumbled one of Cody's snaps and stumbled badly trying to control another. Cody is a great guard but he's not the answer at center.

"I thought Rob did a nice job at center. We didn't have any problems with Rob," Sanders said, adding: "Anthony Parker did a nice job, too."

So, all of the snapping problems occurred when Douglas was at center?

"Yes," Sanders said, choosing not to elaborate.

Bottom line: It's much better to find out in a preseason scrimmage that Douglas isn't comfortable at center than to find out midway through the Florida game.


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