'New day' for Vol defense

Tennessee's No. 1 offense bolted 70 yards in five plays to score on the first possession of last Saturday's initial preseason scrimmage. The first possession of today's second scrimmage produced a two-yard loss, an incompletion and a two-yard gain.

"It's a new day, baby!" one defender shouted as he ran off the field. "A new day."

How right he was.

With considerable help from the offense - four dropped passes and a rash of penalties - the Vol defense limited the attack units to three passing touchdowns during the 2 1/2-hour scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

Here are the highlights:

Defensive end Gerald Williams hurried quarterback Jonathan Crompton into an incompletion that doomed the No. 1 offense's first possession.

Sophomore tailback Tauren Poole weaved through traffic for a 22-yard gain on his first carry.

Freshman linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton made a nice pass breakup to sabotage a pass from Nick Stephens to freshman Marsalis Teague.

Backup kicker Chad Cunningham nailed his only field goal, a 47-yarder. No. 1 kicker Daniel Lincoln was 3 for 3, connecting from 49, 41 and 37 yards.

Crompton found Brandon Warren with a 24-yard strike.

Safety Eric Berry dropped senior tailback Montario Hardesty for a one-yard loss.

Linebacker Savion Frazier tackled Hardesty for a three-yard loss.

Tight end Ben Bartholomew dropped a 25-yard strike over the middle from Stephens.

Gerald Williams sacked Crompton for a 10-yard loss.

Freshman tailback Bryce Brown showed nice speed and cutting ability on a 13-yard burst.

Teague made a nice lunging catch of a 20-yard pass from Stephens.

Running right, Brown deftly reversed his field, turning a potential loss into a nine-yard gain.

Freshman receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, lined up as a shotgun quarterback, completed a 7-yard pass to Teague.

Tauren Poole rambled 16 yards.

Stephens hit tight end Jeff Cottam with a beautifully timed 18-yard touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone.

Crompton made a fine throw on a 15-yard pass to Quintin Hancock.

Freshman tailback David Oku bounced outside for a 35-yard gain.

Safety Rod Wilks intercepted a pass by No. 3 QB Nick Lamaison and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.

Cunningham boomed a 45-yard punt. Kicking from the same spot, junior college transfer David Harrington uncorked a 46-yarder. Both kicks had excellent hang time.

Crompton found Cottam for a 19-yard gain.

Crompton hit Teague with a 28-yard TD on a post route just as the freshman broke into the clear. It was a beautiful route and throw, a near-perfect play.

Cunningham kicked off to the 10-yard line. Dennis Rogan returned 17 yards to the 27. Lincoln also kicked off to the 10-yard line. Oku returned this one 25 yards to the 35.

A resounding hit by Savion Frazier (filling in at weakside linebacker for injured starter Rico McCoy) stopped the 6-8, 260-pound Cottam at the end of a six-yard catch/run.

Rae Sykes, converted from end to tackle a week ago, put tremendous pressure on Stephens, forcing a throwaway.

A wide-open Oku dropped a 10-yard pass over the middle from Stephens.

Crompton scrambled for five yards and a first down on a second-and-four situation.

Crompton made his one bad throw of the day - an ill-advised toss over the middle that freshman cornerback Eric Gordon would've intercepted except for offensive pass interference on Brandon Warren.

Defensive end Willie Bohannon dropped Oku for a two-yard loss.

Freshman tailback Bryce Brown showed his combination of speed and power on a nifty 16-yard ramble.

Freshman defensive tackle Montori Hughes batted down a Crompton pass and Gerald Williams rushed Crompton into an incompletion on the very next play.

Freshman cornerback Nyshier Olivers made an excellent break on the ball to blow up a Stephens slant pass intended for Teague.

A huge hit by linebacker Daryl Vereen caused an Oku fumble that was recovered by the defense.

Poole showed some nifty moves and surprising power in weaving up the middle for a 10-yard gain.

When 6-4, 312-pound freshman tackle Montori Hughes sniffed out a reverse and was waiting for him, freshman wideout Nu'Keese Richardson tripped and fell for a six-yard loss. He also fumbled the ball but was ruled down.

Stephens held the ball much too long and finally was sacked by defensive end Chris Donald for a nine-yard loss.

Stephens bounced back on the very next play to hit Todd Campbell with a 12-yard slant pass.

Stephens found Quintin Hancock for a gain of 15 over the middle.

Stephens threw a swing pass to walk-on fullback Sam Edgmon, who went 21 yards down the west sidelines for a touchdown.

Crompton found Bryce Brown in the left flat, and the rookie tailback rambled for a gain of 18 yards.

Again utilizing his backs, Crompton hit fullback Kevin Cooper for a gain of 24, then found No. 2 fullback Austin Johnson for a gain of nine.

Playing shotgun quarterback again, Nu'Keese Richardson took his eye off the snap and had it bounce off his chest for a loss of four yards.

Oku fumbled a handoff from Crompton, and the defense recovered at its 16-yard line.

Bartholomew dropped a short pass from Stephens.

Catching the defense in a blitz, Poole raced up the middle for 13 yards.

Gerald Williams dropped Crompton for another 10-yard sack.

Dennis Rogan showed great timing in breaking up a Crompton pass intended for Quintin Hancock.

Nu'Keese Richardson dropped a pass over the middle from Stephens that probably would've gained around 12 yards.

Freshman safety Janzen Jackson made a thunderous hit on wideout Todd Campbell to drop him at the end of an eight-yard pass/run.

Cornerback Anthony Anderson was flagged for interference.

Freshman Nigel Mitchell-Thornton sacked Stephens for a three-yard loss.


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