First scrimmage work is sloppy

Thursday's situational scrimmage ‚ Tennessee's first of the preseason ‚ could be summed up in one word ... uuuuuuuuugly.

Although it's still early, the Vols had far too many botched center exchanges. Freshman quarterback James Banks fumbled back-to-back snaps. Banks bobbled another snap moments later but recovered in mid-air. C.J. Leak also had a fumbled snap.
''Ball security will beat you quicker than anything,'' said head coach Phillip Fulmer, clearly disappointed.

The bright spots were No. 1 quarterback Casey Clausen, freshman linebacker Parys Haralson, sophomore tailback Derrick Tinsley and sophomore receiver Montrell Jones.

Clausen was deadly accurate with his throws, hitting Jones for a TD on a quick look-in and finding freshman Jonathan Wade with a perfect throw on a slant route. Clausen also found Kelley Washington twice. The first resulted in a short TD. Washington responded by turning to a hundred or so spectators sitting in the West stands and shouting, ''I don't hear nothing!'' The fans quickly applauded. Clausen also found KW on about a 15-yard slant route.

In addition to his TD pass from Clausen, Jones made a spectacular diving catch, although he was ruled out of bounds. Tinsley made about a 15-yard run on a burst up the middle and turned a swing pass from Leak into a 13-yard gain. Haralson recorded two minus-yardage stops and recovered a fumble. Wade, a world-class sprinter, also made a nifty move to pick up about six yards after grabbing a flat pass.

Fulmer described Clausen as ''extremely sharp,'' adding that Tinsley and Jones each ''made a couple of plays, and that was very encouraging.'' The head man went on to note that ''The little guy (Wade) looked good with his hands on the ball; we just couldn't get him open.''

Of Haralson, the coach said: ''Ninety-eight sure showed up a bunch of times. (I was) just standing over there, thinking 'Who was that?' Parys definitely looks like he's going to be a player for us.''

The coach also liked the pass protection and the fact the defense ''flew around pretty well.''

With Kevin Burnett held out of the scrimmage work due to a sore knee, Kevin Simon worked at outside linebacker with the No. 1 unit.

''Kevin (Simon) is doing fine,'' Fulmer said. ''He started with the first group, and looked like he did OK ... showed up several times.''

Overall, however, the head man clearly was discouraged by the first scrimmage work of the preseason. He's hoping for vast improvement when the Vols hold their first full-scale scrimmage on Saturday.

''From the first scrimmage to the second is usually when you make considerable progress,'' Fulmer said. ''And we sure need to.''

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