Mystery man

He didn't realize it at the time but, while he was evaluating Tennessee's players Saturday night, Dave Clawson was being evaluated himself.

Clawson, Tennessee's first-year offensive coordinator, is something of a mystery man – not only to the Vols' opponents but also to the Vols' head coach. That's why Phillip Fulmer put the offense in a bunch of fourth-and-one, fourth-and-two, fourth-and-three, fourth-and-four situations during Saturday night's scrimmage ... so he could see how his new coordinator responded.

"I wanted to see the quarterbacks manage that and also get familiar with how Dave (Clawson) likes to call things," Fulmer said. "You can talk about it but, in the heat of the game, I wanted to see. And I wanted to see that they (quarterbacks) got a full-speed carry with a sneak or something like that."

Fulmer also took a long look at his team in "backed-up" situations, where the offense was starting possessions on its own 2-yard line. Oddly enough, the No. 1 defense shut down the No. 1 offense in these situations but struggled to stop the No. 2 offense in the same scenarios.

"In the backed-up situations the defense really set the tone early," Fulmer noted. "The offenses were somewhat limited (by field position) but the defenses didn't let much happen. Then the 2s got it out of there pretty good."

Tennessee also got considerable work on its two-minute drill. The Vols didn't score any touchdowns in these situations but they managed to make enough yardage to get in field-goal range several times.

"We just got it inserted," Fulmer said of the two-minute drill. "We wanted to get it on film a second time, and we'll likely scrimmage it one day this week."

After mustering no rushing offense Aug. 9 in Scrimmage No. 1, Tennessee got the ground game clicking in Scrimmage No. 2 on Saturday night. Fulmer was pleased to see his offensive linemen and backs show new-found life.

"They did better," he said. "Of course, that's a Catch-22 for me because I've got to look at it from the other (defending the run) side, as well."

After having two passes picked off (one nullified by a quick whistle) in Scrimmage No. 1, first-team quarterback Jonathan Crompton was virtually mistake-free in Scrimmage No. 2. He threw zero interceptions and generally made fine decisions.

"We managed to not turn it over and shoot ourselves in the foot," Fulmer noted, "and that was good to see."

Crompton completed 12 of 18 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt freshman B. J. Coleman was sharp, as well, connecting on 15 of 24 throws for 170 yards. Sophomore Nick Stephens, after completing 8 of 11 for 108 yards the previous Saturday, struggled in Scrimmage No. 2. He was just 5 of 11 for 48 yards and threw an interception on the final play.

All in all, Fulmer was pleased with the workout.

"Sometimes the defense wins," he said. "Sometimes the offense wins. Tonight we were looking at situations and people, along with some of the schemes."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories