Young 'backers shine

Head coach Phillip Fulmer didn't want to say much about the play of Tennessee's young linebackers until he watched the films of Saturday's first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason. Odds are, he'll be impressed when he does.

Redshirt freshman Rico McCoy continued the momentum he built last spring with an imposing performance. He registered three solo tackles a fumble recovery, a pass breakup and a sack. On the pass breakup he was rushing Jonathan Crompton, then leaped and batted the pass right back at the Vols' No. 2 quarterback.

Sophomore Jerod Mayo looked good, too. He chased down and brought down wideout Robert Meachem for no gain on a flat pass. Mayo finished the afternoon with 2 solos, 2 assists and a sack.

Junior Ryan Karl was credited with just 1 minus-yardage tackle and 1 pass breakup but his air-tight coverage on underneath pass routes was outstanding.

Redshirt freshman Andre Mathis made some plays, too, numbering a sack among his four solo stops.

Asked what he thought of the play of his young ‘backers, Fulmer replied: "I saw McCoy make some plays. Ellix Wilson has had a great camp. He's really closed ground. Ryan Karl is all over the place. He's always making plays. Adam Myers-White was really doing good but he didn't show up much today."

Here are the significant offensive statistics from Saturday's scrimmage:


David Yancey 8 carries for 66 yards

Ja'Kouri Williams 8 carries for 43 yards

Arian Foster 11 carries for 37 yards


Jonathan Crompton 7 of 13, 87 yards, 2 TDs

Erik Ainge 13 of 26, 120 yards, 2 interceptions

Bo Hardegree 7 of 8, 92 yards, 2 TDs


Jayson Swain 4 catches for 54 yards

Josh Briscoe 3 catches for 48 yards, 1 TD

Lucas Taylor 3 catches for 37 yards, 1 TD

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