Missed opportunities

Big plays, like smiles, were in short supply today as Tennessee held its final full-scale scrimmage of the preseason.

After a nice start, the No. 1 offense was lethargic for most of the afternoon.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer openly questioned the unit's focus, noting that the effort "wasn't what we wanted. It wasn't exactly as crisp as I'd like it to be, to say the least."

Still, the head man praised No. 2 tailback Montario Hardesty and No. 1 quarterback Jonathan Crompton.

Hardesty came out smoking, gaining 31, 24 and 20 yards on his first three carries and finishing with 79 yards on four rushes.

Crompton hit Gerald Jones with an 18-yard touchdown strike to cap a three-play, 49-yard march on the first-team offense's opening possession. Crompton finished 12 of 23 for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

"Montario Hardesty didn't come out here unfocused; he came out here very focused," Fulmer said, taking an obvious dig at the rest of the offensive players. "And I thought Jon Crompton had a really nice scrimmage (except for) a couple of throws early."

Offensive coordinator Dave Clawson bemoaned those "couple of throws early," as well.

"We had a third-and-four and we hit Gerald Jones on a slant," he noted. "The ball was behind him but he didn't catch it. Now it's a field goal, instead of keeping the drive alive.

"Then we had another third-and-seven when we went to Gerald, who was open, but we threw the ball behind him. So, instead of keeping the drive alive, we're now trying to kick another field goal.

"Usually, it (winning) is a matter of one or two plays, and today we didn't make those plays."

Crompton's late rally was encouraging but Clawson couldn't get past those two early throws that possibly cost the No. 1 a pair of touchdowns.

"One ball was a little bit behind; the other ball was way behind," Clawson said. "Jonathan has to make those throws. When he's making those throws in the heat of battle – when it counts – we can't afford to not make those plays when we play UCLA."

With the opener against the Bruins just 10 days away, Tennessee's offense obviously needs some fine-tuning between now and Sept. 1. Fulmer said it best.

"We weren't sharp," the head man grumbled. "We weren't nearly as sharp as we need to be."

STAT LEADERS

RUSHING

Montario Hardesty (4-79-0)

Lennon Creer (11-51-1)

Tauren Poole (5-16-0)

Arian Foster (1-11-1)

PASSING

Jonathan Crompton (23-12-0-151-2)

Nick Stephens (9-4-0-43-1)

B. J. Coleman (10-7-0-36-0)

RECEIVING

Quintin Hancock (5-59-1)

Gerald Jones (3-44-1)

Lennon Creer (3-29-0)

Luke Stocker (1-26-0)

Lucas Taylor (2-14-1)

Tauren Poole (2-13-0)

TACKLES

Ellix Wilson 4 tackles, 2 sacks (-14)

Prentiss Wagner 4 tackles

Nevin McKenzie 3 tackles, 2 sacks (-12)

Dennis Rogan 3 tackles

Savion Frazier 3 tackles

Victor Thomas 2 tackles, TFL (-3)

Robert Ayers 2 tackles, TFL (-3), Sack (-4)

Wes Brown 2 tackles, TFL (-1), Sack (-7)

Ben Martin 2 tackles, Sack (-2)

Eric Berry 2 tackles, PBU

DeAngelo Willingham 2 tackles, PBU

Nick Reveiz 2 tackles, PBU


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