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Tennessee offense increasing ups, decreasing downs

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Huh. This is new. The play of the QBs has the head coach smiling. After Nick Stephens didn't do so well Wednesday morning, having a sluggish practice, fumbling a snap from center, and throwing a horrible pass to Eric Gordon, he made good on his vow to rebound Wednesday evening. Although the reports all indicate that Stephens lost ground to Jonathan Crompton in the morning session, Crompton also struggled a bit early, fumbling two snaps from center in three plays and throwing a bad pass that should have been picked off but wasn't and throwing another that shouldn't have been but was. However, Crompton finished the morning session strong, leading the offense down the field in 11-on-11 drills and tossing two TDs to Quinton Hancock.

But it was the evening session that really had Lane Kiffin glowing. Kiffin said the offense practiced "extremely well," and that the QBs were "really good." Each had an interception, but both "delivered the ball accurately and on time for the most part." Together, they threw "a number of touchdowns in the red zone," and, according to Kiffin, are developing more confidence as each practice progresses. Bottom line, the QBs are still having some "ups and downs," but the ups are increasing, the downs are decreasing, and the recovery time from the downs is improving.

With all of the talk about Bryce Brown and David Oku, don't count out Montario Hardesty, who Scout.com named offensive MVP Wednesday ($). Hardesty broke "several" TD runs in the morning and evening sessions. Also, don't forget about fullbacks Austin Johnson and Kevin Cooper, as they're being used extensively in the running game.

The DBs, though, are also doing quite well, according to practice reports. Freshman LB Jerod Askew had two impressive hits on running backs, Eric Gordon - whose mother never would have allowed him to come to UT without the coaching change due to disciplinary issues - had an interception that Kiffin called "outstanding," and Anthony Anderson is climbing the depth chart.