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Talking points: call it the crab attack edition

Tennessee football

  • Crab Attack! After Lennon Creer was stripped on a run up the middle in Saturday's scrimmage, Ed Orgeron slipped during the resulting scrum for the ball and had to "scramble crab-like on his backside out of harm's way." Right. Obviously, the reporter responsible for this account does not know the Powers of the O; he was merely in attack mode.
  • More details on the practice that wouldn't end ($). The defense ended ahead on points, and when practice was called, the offense refused to leave the field and challenged the defense to keep playing. Lane Kiffin allowed one more play, and B.J. Coleman hit Quinton Hancock on a quick slant route for a 3-yard TD. Kiffin again called practice, but this time the defense refused to leave the field, so Kiffin permitted another play. Crompton then hit Hancock on the same play with the same result, and the defense again refused to leave the field. But Kiffin, probably wary of some sort of NCAA sanction against competition, finally made everyone pack up and head home.
  • What's the estate tax on this? Many of Tennessee's new coaches are inheriting units in shambles, but not secondary coach Willie Mack Garza, who takes the reins of a defensive backfield consisting of a consensus All-American, four bona fide starters, a stable full of talent behind them, and a handful of very highly touted recruits on the way. One member of that secondary on Saturday ran an interception back for a 60-yard touchdown and then leveled a running back like he was Knowshon Moreno ($). What? No, it wasn't Eric Berry, it was Prentiss Waggner, about whom coaches were raving after Saturday's scrimmage. Brent Vinson, though, is still struggling with that shoulder, which became dislocated again a few weeks ago, and will have to have surgery after spring practice. He should be back in time for fall practice.
  • Did I miss something? Crompton played on a bad ankle for almost the entire season in 2008? ($) Is that new information? Well, regardless, Montario Hardesty says that Crompton is "miles ahead of where he was at this time last year," an assessment that begs for relativity jokes. Hardesty's not the only one, though, as Kiffin said that he played "extremely well" at Saturday's scrimmage. Some Vol fans are understandably skeptical, and as John Adams points out, it's going to take a lot to erase the memories of 2008. Nick Stephens, by the way, is set to re-enter the QB competition next week.
  • More power please. The offensive line is going all zone all the time this spring, and the players are loving it as evidenced by this quote from Josh McNeil: "You snap the ball and fire off and you go. Whoever you see first, you knock the fire out of him. It just allows you to go 100 percent." I suggest not being in the line of sight at the time of the snap. Aaron Douglas is enjoying his move from tight end to o-tackle, too, maybe because of the "knock the fire" aspect or maybe because he's not running down the field 50 yards every play.
  • A bit of news on the fullback position in Kiffin's offense. Kevin Cooper says that the fullback is being used more as a running back and as a receiver ($) than just a lead blocker this season.
  • Big Dan becoming Sorta Big Dan. Dan Williams is shedding pounds to play in Monte's smaller, quicker, faster, better defense.
  • It's on! Lane Kiffin is hosting a free "Chalk Talk" for fans tonight at the Turkey Creek Texas Roadhouse. Word is he's going to challenge the whiteboard to a duel and ask the staff to draw up plays shirtless.
  • Put that on the fridge. The final grades are in for this year's recruiting class, and Dave Hooker gives the team a shiny gold star, including an "A+++ " for running backs. Hooker's probably underlined that grade in red and included some happy faces, too, I'm guessing. I would.

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Tennessee alums

  • No comment. Former Vol Arian Foster, who decided not to attend Pro Day in Knoxville a few weeks ago, didn't have the best day in front of NFL scouts last week. He ran a 4.73 and a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash, and those times, along with most of his other results, didn't hit the benchmarks scouts generally look for in running backs.