Drops mar UT scrimmage

Tennessee's tight ends and receivers managed to keep their pants up in Saturday night's scrimmage. They dropped everything else, though.

"I didn't keep track but I think we had like eight drops in this scrimmage that were pretty easy catches," offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said. "That is a concern."

Senior quarterback Erik Ainge completed his first two pass attempts – a five-yarder to tailback Arian Foster and a seven-yarder to wideout Austin Rogers. His third pass was dropped by tight end Brad Cottam and his fourth pass was an overthrown bomb.

On the No. 2 offense's first drive Jonathan Crompton hit reserve tight end Jeff Cottam with a short pass but he was dropped for a one-yard loss.

On the No. 1 offense's second possession Ainge hit tight end Chris Brown for what would've been a 10-yard gain but Brown dropped the ball. On the very next play Ainge hit wide-open wideout Lucas Taylor for what should've been a 15-yard gain but he dropped the ball.

Moments later, redshirt freshman Luke Stocker became the third tight end to drop a pass, mishandling a short toss from Crompton. Five plays later, Jeff Cottam finally recorded the first catch by a tight end, hauling in an 18-yard strike from Crompton.

Ainge hooked up with Brad Cottam on an 11-yard gainer midway through the scrimmage and Crompton found Jeff Cottam for 11 yards moments later.

Near the end of the workout Ainge completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Brown. Moments later, though, Brown failed to reel in a pass thrown slightly behind him by Ainge. The two then combined for a five-yard hookup on the scrimmage's final play.

"Erik is in complete command, throwing the ball well," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "But we dropped way too many passes."

Particularly disturbing was the play of the tight ends. Brown, Stocker and the Cottam brothers combined for six receptions and four drops.

"The tight ends I thought played pretty well last week," Fulmer said. "This week I think we might've caught one ball that was thrown to us…. Hopefully, our tight ends will get over the drops. And they will. They'll be fine."

Cutcliffe wasn't quite so upbeat about the tight ends.

"Obviously, it looked like they didn't play as well as we expected them to," the coordinator said. "We've got to look at that and see why.

"We've got to see who's going to step forward there because we've got some players and we have some competition there. All of those guys need to understand that. The competition is real at that position."

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