Scrimmage highlights

Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin promised to make Saturday's scrimmage as game-like as possible, and he kept his word ... even going so far as to be uncharacteristically vague in his post-scrimmage comments.

Two of the hottest battles of preseason camp are at quarterback (between Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens) and at center (between Josh McNeil and Cody Sullins).

Asked for his take on the quarterbacks, Kiffin replied: "I thought they did well. We'll go back and look at the film. Jonathan ended up with more plays because of how it worked out. It's just how the series went."

Unofficially, Crompton completed 17 of 31 passes for 267 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Stephens was 10 of 18 for 101 yards with no TDs and no interceptions.

Asked if the center battle had clarified a bit, Kiffin again hedged, saying it was "too hard to tell.... We'll go back and watch the film and figure it out. The timetable (for tabbing the starter) is when it shows itself. If it showed itself today, then we'll make a decision."

For the first time under the new staff Tennessee used hand signals to relay play calls from the head coach to the huddle. With the play clock winding down, the Vols had to call a timeout before their fourth play of the scrimmage. They rallied from that inauspicious start, however.

"I thought we were pretty good for the first time out doing it," Kiffin said. "I thought the quarterbacks handled it well - getting the signals in and getting it called. And we had coaches up in the press box (for the first time) today, as well. There was a lot of firsts today."

Here's a recap of the most noteworthy plays from the scrimmage:

Three plays into the workout Jonathan Crompton had to call a timeout to avoid a delay-of-game penalty.

Crompton hit Gerald Jones with a 14-yard pass.

Cornerback Marsalous Johnson made a fine play to break up a Crompton pass intended for Jones.

Defensive end Ben Martin batted down a Nick Stephens pass.

Senior tailback Montario Hardesty showed nice acceleration on a nine-yard run.

The defense got three points for stopping the offense to take a 3-0 lead in the scrimmage.

The defense stopped another possession, taking a 6-0 lead.

Fullback Kevin Cooper made a nice catch of a knee-high pass from Crompton and rambled upfield for a 14-yard gain.

Cornerback Anthony Anderson made a fine break on the ball to break up a Crompton pass intended for Jones.

Freshman tailback David Oku, lined up wide to the left, caught a six-yard pass from Crompton.

Cornerback C. J. Fleming showed great timing in breaking up a Crompton pass intended for Quintin Hancock.

Gerald Jones made a super move to turn a short pass from Crompton into a 12-yard gain.

Daniel Lincoln nailed a 23-yard field goal, trimming the defense's lead to 6-3.

Freshman linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton nearly intercepted a third-down Nick Stephens pass, giving the defense another stop and a 9-3 lead.

Sophomore tailback Tauren Poole showed some nifty moves as he weaved his way through traffic for a nine-yard gain.

Freshman tailback David Oku exploded through a nice hole in the middle of the line for a gain of 10.

Freshman tailback Bryce Brown ran over some people on a 12-yard burst between the tackles.

Crompton threw a short pass to Hancock, who broke a tackle and went 20 yards for a touchdown to give the offense a 10-9 lead.

Stephens found freshman Zach Rogers for an 11-yard gain.

Defensive end Chris Donald sacked Stephens for a six-yard loss.

Hardesty broke three tackles on an impressive 11-yard run.

Freshman linebacker Jerod Askew jolted Hardesty, causing a fumble that gave the defense five points and a 14-10 lead.

Crompton suckered the safety by scrambling to his left, then lofting a 46-yard strike to Cooper.

Freshman receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, lined up as a shotgun quarterback, faked a handoff to Brown at right tackle, then raced around left end for a gain of nine yards.

Hit behind the line, Brown broke free and raced five yards for a touchdown that put the offense ahead 17-14.

No. 3 quarterback Nick Lamaison hit walk-on tight end Ben Lehning with an 11-yard pass.

Another stop by the defense tied the score at 17-17.

In some pre-halftime kicking work, walk-on Tyler Wolfe blocked a David Harrington punt and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

In some post-halftime kicking work, freshman Mike Edwards returned a kickoff 72 yards before being bumped out of bounds.

Rolling right, Crompton threw an 11-yard strike to Nu'Keese Richardson.

Freshman Eric Gordon intercepted a ball slightly underthrown by Crompton, then returned the pick 33 yards, giving the defense three points for a stop, five points for a turnover and a 25-17 lead.

Tight end/turned wideout Brandon Warren made a surprisingly nifty cutback to turn a short pass from Crompton into a 34-yard gain.

Nu'Keese Richardson, only 5-10 and 165 pounds, broke two tackles on an end-around play that gained six yards.

Crompton hit Warren with a quick hitch for a six-yard touchdown, pulling the offense within 25-24.

Oku was stripped of the ball by an unidentified defender but the offense recovered. This led to another stop and a 28-24 lead for the defense.

Freshman Marsalis Teague showed nice running skills in turning a pass from Crompton into a 27-yard gain.

Nu'Keese Richardson took an end-around handoff, then fired a 35-yard strike to fellow freshman Zach Rogers, only to have the potential TD toss deflected at the last instant by Mike Edwards.

Walk-on linebacker Jake Storey sacked Crompton for a four-yard loss.

Ben Martin stormed into the backfield to throw Poole for a one-yard loss on a quick pitch, sealing a stop that expanded the defense's lead to 31-24.

Stephens found Hancock for a 12-yard gain on third-and-16, giving the defense three more points and a 34-24 lead.

Getting great work from a wedge of blockers, Oku gained 17 yards on a screen pass from Crompton.

Crompton found Teague over the middle for a gain of 23.

Lincoln hit a 40-yard field goal, narrowing the defense's lead to 34-27.

Stephens completed a 15-yard toss to Gerald Jones, who came up limping a bit after being high-lowed on the stop.

Stephens beat a blitz with a 10-yard "hot read" toss to Poole.

Ben Martin dropped Oku for a two-yard loss.

C.J. Fleming made a nice break on the ball to sabotage a Stephens pass intended for Warren. Two plays later the defense had another stop and a 37-27 lead.

Crompton found tight end Jeff Cottam open over the middle for 17 yards.

A huge hit by Mike Edwards broke up a Crompton pass intended for Zach Rogers.

Lincoln nailed a 47-yard field goal, whittling the defense's lead to 37-30.

Defensive tackle Rae Sykes sacked Nick Lamaison for a five-yard loss.

Lamaison found walk-on receiver Geoff Courtney for a gain of 19.

Freshman cornerback Nyshier Oliver intercepted a Lamaison pass.

Nu'Keese Richardson had a 24-yard return but also had a muffed punt in some post-scrimmage punting work. Dennis Rogan had a 21-yard return in the same drill.


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