My favorite Volunteer play

The University of Tennessee's 2002 football season is still 16 days away, but I already know what my favorite offensive play is going to be. Fans can only hope the Vols don't have to use it too often.

Imagine that there are five seconds left in the game or the first half, for that matter and the Big Orange has time for just one play. The ball is near midfield, so the only chance to score is the ''Hail Mary'' pass.
Tennessee could send world-class sprinter Leonard Scott wide to the left, with world-class sprinter Jonathan Wade wide to the right. Both cover 40 yards in the 4.2s, so the defensive backs are sure to be sweating bullets.

With the secondary playing unusually deep, the Vols could send Kelley Washington on a crossing route over the middle. If the defense is too conscious of Scott and Wade, the 6-4, 225-pound Washington could easily turn a 20-yard reception into a 50-yard score.

Just in case the pass protection breaks down before Clausen can unload the Hail Mary or the crossing route, Tennessee could have Derrick Tinsley at tailback as a ''safety valve.'' Getting the ball to this explosive young man in an open field could produce the same type of big play that Travis Stephens produced on that 62-yard screen pass in the final minute of last year's Georgia game.

Scott, Wade, Washington and Tinsley give UT four options on this play, and each is capable of producing an electrifying touchdown. That's why the ''Hail Mary'' is shaping up as my favorite play this year. I don't know if it'll work or not but I know this: I'd much rather watch it than try to defend it.

NOTE: UT held no morning workout today (Thursday). We will post a complete report on this evening's session shortly after its conclusion. Two-a-days resume on Friday, and the Vols hold their first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday.


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