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Tennessee's Defense As Different And Plain As A Sack Of Taters At First Scrimmage

Glass Half Empty

  • The defense clearly wasn't ready to play ($?) at fall camp's first scrimmage, with Tauren Poole kicking off the festivities by taking the first snap 49 yards on the ground. According to Chris Walker, the offense "beat our head in:"
    "I just think they came out ready to play and we didn't. It's just that simple," Walker admitted. "They came out and decided they wanted to run the ball and ran the ball really well.

    "It's about mindset. When we get in the stadium we need to approach it as a game. And I don't think the guys really understand the tempo that you need to have in the stadium. I am glad it's the first scrimmage and not going into our first game."
  • Derek Dooley, when asked if anyone other than Montori Hughes stood out on the defensive line, said no. Well, he said no creatively:
    "It's like having a sack of potatoes: You shake 'em up and just pull one out. Throw another one in, shake it up and pull one out," Dooley said.

    "You go bake it, and it kind of tastes the same. They've all got a little different shape. Some have a lot more dots than the other. Some are longer. Some have more girth.

    "It's a big sack of potatoes." 
  • And it wasn't just getting beat, it was the way the defense got beat:
    "I was disappointed in the intangibles we played with - the effort, the toughness, the discipline, the competitive spirit," [Dooley] said. "We've got to get that part right."

Glass Half Full

  • The offense clearly won fall camp's first scrimmage. Tauren Poole turned the very first play into a 49 yard run and a fire in the belly of the rest of the offense:
    "I just keep trying to encourage them. When we broke that 60-yard run, I just came back to the huddle and told them all good job," Poole said.

    "I told them they were working hard and to just keep it up and be consistent. "I could see the glow in their eyes. They were happy and confident about making big plays on the field. As long as we can keep that confidence we will be fine."
  • Matt Simms went 9-21 for 80 yards and a TD, and Tyler Bray went 11-22 for 153 yards and a long TD to Denarius Moore. Although Bray had a better statistical day, Derek Dooley said nothing happened yesterday that would cause him to reevaluate the depth chart at QB:
    "They’re both really doing well and they’re both different," Dooley said. "I think ultimately we’re going to evaluate them on how well we move the ball and score points, it doesn’t matter how we get there. They’re different, they’re different. Tyler does some things better than Matt. Matt does some things better than Tyler.

    "I think Matt stays ahead at this stage of the game because of his experience and his knowledge of the offense and his command, those sort of things. But we’re going to need both of them, I’m just going to tell you right now. "

    . . . .

    "Matt had a very good day running the offense, hit some big third downs to Denarius," Dooley said. "Tyler Bray had a good day. He had some series with the ones and hit a big third down to (Mychal) Rivera, hit a long touchdown to Denarius, so I was real pleased with the progress the quarterbacks are making.

    "They’re both good players, we’re going to need both of them and I’m happy with where they are. Doesn’t mean we’re ready to go play with them, but I said this in the spring, all I care about is seeing (progress). I just don’t want to see the dip."

  • Full stats of the scrimmage here. A few observations:

    • There were no turnovers. Yay offense, boo defense.
    • Poole averaged 31 yards and three points per carry. Yay small sample size.
    • The top three RBs averaged 3.5 yards per carry or more.
    •  Both Simms and Bray had pass plays of 30 yards or better.
    • Look for Stocker in short yardage red zone plays near the end zone.
    • Look at the names of the defensive stat leaders: Propst, Teague, Fowlkes, Wolf, Johnson, Frazier, Miller, Bohannon. Yikes.
    • Daniel Lincoln made his only field goal attempt from 30 yards, but Michael Palardy missed one from 40 and had another . . . gulp . . . blocked . . . from 42.
    • Every punter averaged over 44 yards per punt. Matt Darr had the longest of the day at 50 yards.
  • Hey, Dave Ramsey's on the UT Athletics Board.
  • Videos of the day: