Frosh due another taste?

The great thing about a lopsided victory is that you get to empty your bench and play some young guys who desperately need seasoning. That's why Vol offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe was happy to utilize a couple of true freshmen in last Saturday's 35-18 trouncing of Cal.

Quintin Hancock played a few snaps at wide receiver and caught one pass for a two-yard gain. Fellow freshman Jacques McClendon saw some action at guard and performed adequately.

"It was good to see them get their feet wet," Cutcliffe said. "That's about what we got done with them. They got a taste, and a taste is good."

If Tennessee can build an early lead against Air Force in Game 2, Hancock and McClendon should get another taste this Saturday night. That would hasten their development considerably.

"I think they can come on," Cutcliffe said. "I think they're going to grow quickly."

Hancock, a 6-2, 185-pounder from St. Augustine, Fla., was the sensation of preseason drills after catching 10 passes for 149 yards and four touchdowns in the three major scrimmages.

"Those of you who have seen the scrimmages have seen the plays he's made," Cutcliffe said. "I think he can make those plays (in a game)."

Hancock made a freshman mistake against Cal, however. After catching his lone pass, he danced a bit instead of turning upfield. As a result, he was swarmed after a modest gain.

"I was a little disappointed with what he did with it," Cutcliffe conceded. "That was a little bit (like a) freshman after he got it, but that's over now and he can move forward."

The coordinator gave McClendon a mixed review, as well.

"Jacques wasn't put in tough situations," Cutcliffe noted. "But just to understand the speed of the game and taste it will help him a great deal."

Hancock and McClendon weren't the only inexperienced reserves who got to play vs. Cal. Tennessee substituted liberally once it built a 35-0 lead, and the Big Orange never scored again. Clearly, the Vols lost some of their fire.

"When it gets to be 35-0, players are human," Cutcliffe said.

The UT aide accepted some of the blame for the fourth-quarter lapse, however, noting that he may have tightened the reins too much once the Vols got their big lead.

"Obviously, I didn't help any by being a lot less aggressive," he said. "I think this team likes playing aggressive, and that's how we intend to play."

Still, if Tennessee manages to build a big lead against Air Force, odds are Cutcliffe will revert to the same run-oriented, clock-killing attack he did last weekend.

"You still have to be smart," he said. "You have to manage the clock. You have to be able to run the football, even when they know you're trying to run it. That's a challenge but it's a good challenge for us."


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