UT's Offensive Notebook from today's game

Did senior Jonathan Crompton do enough Saturday to win the starting position? Did Bryce Brown play with an injured hip, if so how did he perform. InsideTennessee.com answers these questions and many more in our in-depth offensive notebook of the Volunteers last pre-season scrimmage. If you're not a premium member you're missing out.

Attention to detail.

That has been Lane Kiffin's motto for his first fall camp as the Head Coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Kiffin ran his troops through the closest thing that could possibly simulate what game day against Western Kentucky will be like two weeks from today.

The coaches got a chance to call the game from the press box, the coaches on the sidelines got use to having head phones on. All in all everything seem to go pretty smooth for the Volunteers last full contact pre season scrimmage prior to the September 5 opener.

"We got a lot of plays today, I thought the energy level was really high at the beginning," Kiffin told the media. "We trailed off a little the second half, but overall I thought we did well."

Kiffin was pleased with the overall team management of the coaches being on the side line.

"I thought we were pretty good for the first time out doing it," Kiffin said. "I thought the quarterbacks handled it well and managed it, getting the signals in."


Starting running back Montario Hardesty find out Saturday that no one is exempt from the team rules, which include being at all meetings, position and team meetings on time. Hardesty, a senior, didn't start with the No. 1 offense today. He should have asked a couple of freshmen on the team about attention to details, especially the rules. Hardesty had a few good runs today before a fumble sidelined caused him some unnecessary stress.


If you don't think that opposing defenses will have trouble stopping our running game, consider this. On first down Tauren Poole for nine yards. On second and 1, Bryce Brown for six yards. On first down David Oku 10 yards. On first down Brown for 11 yards. On first down Oku for nine yards. Pretty impressive running if you ask me, and the thing to consider your starter didn't even touch the ball during this series. Vol fans, we have a running game at Rocky Top.


Coach Kiffin admitted after Saturday's final full contact pre season game that Brown as about 85 percent and that they decided to let him see some action. Saying Brown was impressive is a slight understatement. Brown bulldozed over the defense, earning praise from defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.

"He is physical, a big back with speed," Orgeron said. "Reminds me of the Lyndell White we had at USC, I think he is faster than Lyndell. Very explosive."

Brown ran over defenders several times during Saturday's scrimmage and shows a lot of explosiveness. His hip apparently won't keep him from playing in the season opener, now we will have to wait and see if the NCAA does.


Brandon Warren has been challenged by several to step up and play football at his highest level. He apparently answered that call Saturday making several spectacular catches, making difficult catches look easy. If Saturday's performance is any indication, Warren will have a good season for the Vols this fall.


Who will win the starting center position? Will it be the incumbent that has started the last three years or will it be the senior challenger who has taken advantage of a coaching staff changeover?

Cody Sullins took what Coach Kiffin said to heart, when the first year coach announced that all starting jobs were up for grabs. No one expected for Sullins to uphend 35 game starters Josh McNeil, other than perhaps Sullins.

With the final exam over, now we are waiting to see who has won the position. One thing that can't be denied is that McNeil has handled the competition like a winner, the senior hasn't blamed the new coaching staff or anyone else, and he has just worked harder than he ever has before to re claim the position that has been his for a long time. Competition only makes you stronger; McNeil has proven this to be very true.


While the center race might be too close to call, it appears that's not the case for the quarterback position. Senior Jonathan Crompton had a better day than his challenger Nick Stephens. Unless something unexpected happens after the coaches review the film, look for Crompton to be named the starter sometime this week.


No matter how great the scrimmage may have been Saturday, all will be for nault if Gerald Jones can't play in the Vols season opener. The talented wide out went down late in the scrimmage with some type of leg injury. He limped off the field, not putting a lot of weight on it.

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