Offensive execution angers Cutcliffe

When you see quarterbacks and receivers running stadium steps after a scrimmage, that's usually a pretty good sign that the offense didn't have a good day at the office. And Tennessee's offense didn't have a good day Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

If fact, it was rather pitiful.

The interceptions and drops were enough to anger David Cutcliffe. Tennessee's offensive coordinator gave short and terse post-scrimmage answers.

``We didn't execute, period, today,'' Cutcliffe said. ``I didn't see anything out there that I thought was good.''

Quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens combined to throw four interceptions, three by Stephens. Jarod Parrish had three, Roshaun Fellows one.

Crompton was 15 of 30 for 141 yards. Stephens was 14 of 27 for 117 yards. Both had trouble completing a simple swing pass to a back – and that's about an 8-yard toss.

Why was the execution lacking?

``I can't answer that,'' Cutcliffe said.

Did you miss starting quarterback Erik Ainge?

``It's obvious,'' Cutcliffe said. ``We're not getting good play at quarterback. We're not getting good play at receiver. We're not getting good play at tight end. We're not getting very good play in the offensive line. And we're not getting as good a play as we were getting at running back.

``So, that should tell you something.''

Asked if the offense didn't return from spring break with intensity, Cutcliffe noted that Thursday's workout was pleasing.

With that, no one had any more questions, perhaps fearful that Cutcliffe might bite someone's head off. Or perhaps just knowing he didn't want to talk any more about the offensive mess he'd just witnessed.

Receivers coach Trooper Taylor was a bit more approachable, although not any happier about what had transpired.

``Out of 135 snaps, to make maybe four, five catches, that's not enough to win in the SEC,'' Taylor said.

No, it's not. The drops came early and seemed to be contagious.

``We can't get back to that,'' Taylor said, ``cause if we go back to that, we'll end up 5-6. That's not our goal.''

Was this the worst day of the spring for drops?

``By far, by far,'' Taylor said. ``Otherwise, they wouldn't be running the stands. That's not to embarrass them. It's to make them understand that it's not going to be acceptable at the University of Tennessee to drop balls.''

Taylor said he felt bad for the quarterbacks, who he felt made some good throws on time but weren't rewarded because the receivers weren't making catches.

``We'll get that done ‘cause fellas, if you haven't learned by now, one that won't is no better than one that can't,'' Taylor said.

Then, he fired out this one-liner: ``I'm gonna do business like the barber – next.''

Right now, not many ``nexts'' are stepping forward.

Taylor said he can win with Lucas Taylor (two catches for 21 yards), Austin Rogers (six for 37) and Quintin Hancock (five for 75). He's waiting for Slick Shelley and Josh Briscoe to emerge, although Briscoe did catch six passes for 55 yards.

Taylor likes the versatility and steady play of senior walk-on Casey Woods.

``He's a bell cow,'' Taylor said. ``He can fit into any receiver position and know what to do. What Casey can't do, you can't put him in for 60 plays.''

Taylor said he's not sure the wideouts have the necessary sense of urgency.

``You got to understand, that scrimmage is big,'' Taylor said. ``It's an interview, because when those freshmen step on campus, your interview was in the spring. Their interview will be in two-a-days.''

Taylor said he gathered the receivers to deliver a stern message.

``What I told them is this: You're going to have an opportunity to write your own story from your freshman year until you graduate,'' Taylor said. ``Is your story going to be a guy just passing through or a guy that makes a difference?

``When you leave here, what are the freshmen and sophomores going to say about you? What they should be saying is, those guys worked their butts off and made plays.''

Failure to make plays in the SEC will get you beat.

``The SEC is unforgiveable,'' Taylor said. ``It doesn't say, `My bad.' My bad means you lost.

``Right now, I think these guys are counting the days rather than making those days count.''


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