Tennessee tempo

Tennessee's football players spent much of spring practice buzzing about the different practice tempo new offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe brought with him. The obvious question: What's different about the tempo?

"It's a lot faster," quarterback Erik Ainge said recently. "We're getting in and out of the huddle, we're playing fast. There's a sense of urgency and energy that he brings. There's never a dull moment. If you walk on your last two steps before you go to the next drill he's in your ear screaming. "

Ainge knows that Peyton Manning threw the ball an awful lot when Cutcliffe was UT's coordinator in the mid-1990s and that Eli Manning threw the ball a lot when Cutcliffe was head coach at Ole Miss. The prospect of putting the ball in the air on a regular basis this fall brings a big smile to Ainge's face.

"There might be a game where we have to throw the ball 55 times," he said. "Coach Cutcliffe's going to do what we need to do to win. If that means throw four times to get the W, we'll throw four times. If that means throwing every single down, we'll throw every single down. That's exciting."

The Vols are still learning Cutcliffe's scheme, techniques and terminology. But they already understand his expectations: Go all out all the time or go home.

"I think if you're out there playing hard and knowing you're giving it everything you've got, you learn from your mistakes," Ainge said. "Guys are going to screw stuff up right now because we're doing a lot of new stuff. But if we screw it up going 100 percent and learn from it, we don't keep making that same mistake."


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