NFL Scout Critical of UT

Tennessee's quarterbacks have not been well coached since former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe departed at the end of the 1998 season.

That's the opinion of long-time NFL scout Chris Landry of Baton Rouge, La.

``Just look at the production level,'' said Landry, a former scout for the Tennessee Titans. ``Guys are not developing. They've had good athletes there.

``Look at the job they did with Tee Martin. Tee Martin was not a great quarterback. He played great for them. He managed the offense well. He made good decisions. Tennessee has not had that from a quarterback since.''

Since Martin, the Vols have started eight quarterbacks: Joey Mathews, A.J. Suggs, Casey Clausen, C.J. Leak, James Banks, Brent Schaeffer, Erik Ainge and Rick Clausen. The two Clausens and Ainge garnered most of the starts, with mixed results.

``Just look at the quarterbacks' foot work,'' Landry said. ``David Cutcliffe was one of the best at that.

``They're throwing mechanics have just not been as good. They're not as accurate. They can be hot and cold. Decision making is not as consistent. It's more than just play calling. People think play calling is good when it works.

``The bottom line is, it's more about developing players within the system and tinkering with it to take advantage of what the quarterback has to offer and what other positions have to offer. All those things regressed a little bit when David left. And the personnel is a little spotty, too.''

Landry said the rise of Georgia, Auburn and LSU and the fall of UT's offense has resulted in a decline of the UT program.

``The receiver position has not been well coached for a while,'' Landry said. ``The talent level is not as good. You've had lack of player development. All of that has had a negative affect.

``The SEC is not like the Big East. A slight slip and you find yourself looking up at some people. I'm as surprised as everybody else they bottomed out and had this type of season. But I never saw them as a top five team at the beginning of the year.

``UT's offense is very vanilla. They didn't have that talent level over teams and didn't scheme them. To win games, you've got to be more creative and bring new ideas.''

Landry said UT's coaching staff visited the Titans several years ago to learn new ways to get the ball to talented tight end Jason Witten. But UT didn't use many - if any - of the Titans' wrinkles, Landry said.

Landry compared UT's dilemma to a person who has symptoms of an illness, but doesn't feel awful.

``You don't go to the doctor until you feel bad and have a full blown sickness,'' Landry said. ``But if you had gone to the doctor earlier, you could have prevented the full blown sickness.''

Landry believes the addition of Cutcliffe will help the Vols quickly turn things around on offense.


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