He's just a scramblin' man

He isn't going to make anyone forget Tee Martin anytime soon, but Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen's scrambles in Saturday's season-opening 47-7 blowout of Wyoming left Vol coaches breathless.

Casey Clausen finished the 2001 season with minus-36 net yards but gained 28 yards on six rushes vs. Wyoming. Each time he ran, though, Vol staffers surely cringed. That's because No. 2 quarterback C.J. Leak is shedding the rust of a two-year layoff following a major knee injury and No. 3 QB James Banks is a true freshman.

At the end of each run, Clausen went into the ''slide'' which protects quarterbacks from taking unnecessary hits.

''I'm more of a pocket passer,'' he said. ''I'm not going to break one for 80 yards. But if they'll give me eight or 10 yards, I'll take it. The coaches just tell me I've got to be smart about it ... not trying to take on linebackers or safeties. I get what I can, then I get down.''

Clausen also completed 22 of 33 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target was sophomore Tony Brown, who recorded seven receptions for 77 yards. Brown caught three short passes in the first quarter, made a spectacular diving grab early in the second and added a nice leaping catch later in the period. The fast start worked wonders for his confidence.

''It was like taking a bear off your shoulders,'' he said. ''I know what I can do. There's no question what I can do. It's just if they give me the opportunity to do it.''

Said Vol offensive tackle Will Ofenheusle: ''Tony played great. I don't think there's any question anymore who our No. 2 receiver is.''

The No. 1 receiver, of course, is Kelley Washington. He missed the opener with a sprained knee. Receivers coach Pat Washington (no relation) figured Kelley's absence might have been ''a blessing in disguise.''

His reasoning:

''Those guys had to step it up, knowing Kelley wasn't there and the quarterback had to have some faith in somebody besides Kelley. Hopefully, it'll help as the season goes along so that we won't be stuck on Kelley. We can go somewhere else with the football.''

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