As noted in previous articles, head coach Lane Kiffin keeps score of each drill in each practice, awarding a point to either the offense or the defense. When Saturday's scrimmage ended with the defense ahead on points, however, the offensive players refused to accept defeat; they challenged the defense to continue playing.
Kiffin agreed to extend the goal-line drill by one play. When B. J. Coleman hit Quintin Hancock on a quick slant route for a three-yard touchdown, the workout ended for a second time. This time the defense refused to leave the practice field, however, challenging the offense to play one more snap.
Kiffin agreed again. When Jonathan Crompton hit Hancock on the same route with the same result, the scrimmage ended for a third time. The defense, though, again clamored for one more play.
Realizing the workout might last till nightfall at the rate it was going, the head man finally called a halt and ordered his players off the field.
"I tried to end the practice three times, and they kept calling the other side out," he said, grinning smugly. "We were done with practice – the defense won – then the offense called the defense out, so they went again. Then the offense won, and the defense called the offense out. I tried to keep stopping practice and, finally, I just stopped it."
The fact both sides chose to continue practicing after they had been cleared to stop illustrates just how intensely competitive Tennessee's practices are this spring.
"It was great to see," Kiffin said. "They kept wanting to go and kept challenging each other."
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was pleased, as well.
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "Any time the players are manufacturing the enthusiasm, it's great. That's what we're all about. That's Coach Kiffin's slogan: We're all about energy.
"It's good to see it permeating the players. It's obvious right now we're rolling pretty good."