Cutcliffe's encouraged

David Cutcliffe isn't ready to pronounce all of Tennessee's offensive ills cured but the veteran offensive coordinator saw some positive signs in Saturday's Orange & White Game, even though the attack was pretty vanilla.

"I think we got some of the things we wanted out of the scrimmage," he said. "We didn't do very much; I told you we wouldn't."

Cutcliffe has said repeatedly that spring practice is "about players, not plays," and he was happy with the performance of several players in the Orange & White Game. Among them was first-team quarterback Erik Ainge, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

"I was really pleased with the way Erik managed the game, his accuracy and timing," the coordinator said. "That was positive. I didn't think Jonathan (Crompton) and Bo (Hardegree) were quite as crisp in that way."

Tennessee's passing game had no big-play dimension last fall, so seeing Robert Meachem score touchdowns on pass plays covering 27 and 70 yards was awfully encouraging.

"It was good to see Meachem make some plays," Cutcliffe said. "It's something to build on. We've got a long way to go but there were some positive things that happened out there."

Asked what area of the team made the most progress during the spring, Cutcliffe answered without hesitation.

"Learning the speed of the game and the tempo and effort you need on every play," he said. "Execution is not where it needs to be consistently but the energy, attitude and effort have become more consistent for us."

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