Quarterbacks 'pass' O&W test

After struggling for much of the spring, Tennessee's passing attack was surprisingly productive in Saturday's Orange & White spring game.

White quarterback Erik Ainge completed 14 of 22 passes for 210 yards with two catchable balls dropped. He threw touchdown passes of 27 and 70 yards to Robert Meachem and did not throw an interception as the White team prevailed 34-7.

Orange QB Jonathan Crompton completed 15 of 19 throws for 102 yards, while Bo Hardegree completed 9 of 10 for 50 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

All told, the Vols' top three quarterbacks combined for 38 completions in 51 attempts for 362 yards and three TDs with just one interception.

Ainge conceded that the strong offensive showing in the O&W Game was a nice boost for the attack unit's morale.

"It felt good," he said. "We made some plays. Meachem (five catches, 135 yards) had a great game, broke some tackles and ran down the sidelines.

"We need more of that. We still had some miscommunications, didn't get everything done we wanted to, but I thought we made a lot of progress and played all right."

Tennessee's defense was somewhat limited in the spring game but so was Tennessee's offense.

"You saw about half of the offense," Ainge said, "and about a quarter of the defense. The offense had a little bit of an advantage but it came down to execution, and I thought we executed on the White side."

Coming off an April 1 scrimmage that was dominated by the defense, Ainge saw the Orange & White Game as a chance to leave spring practice on a positive note. Saturday's performance allowed him to do just that.

"Absolutely," he said. "I thought I played a good game but it still was nowhere close to where I want to be. There was a ball I threw to Meachem late in the game when I overthrew him in the end zone, and a couple of crossing routes and a curl I threw to Austin Rogers.

"All of those should've been completions, so you can't ever be satisfied."

Satisfied … no. Encouraged … yes.


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