April 1, 2006
Tennessee senior defensive back Antwan Stewart picked off two passes to lead a sparkling defensive scrimmage effort Saturday at Neyland Stadium. The Vols staged their final game-type exhibition prior to next weekend's EdAmerica Orange and White Game.
"I'm really encouraged by our defensive football team," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "To consistently get done what they've gotten done this spring, with the people they have out and with the graduation losses, has been good.
"It's fun to watch our secondary play right now. There are some good athletes back there, we are experienced, and they are allowing the front to mix a four-man rush with pressure."
"Antwan Stewart had two picks, that's good by our secondary," Fulmer said. "And Demetrice (Morley) almost had three. He's baiting the quarterback and running under the receiver. He needs to go ahead and make that play. We're just not giving up the big plays. When the football is being thrown, we're supporting it and getting up there pretty well. Today, we got our hands on a few balls.
"Offensively, it's a struggle to get any kind of continuity. We're not nearly where we need to be offensively, to say the least."
Freshman linebacker Rico McCoy made noise with a game-high eight tackles. The Washington, D.C., product had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack. Fellow linebacker Marvin Mitchell had seven tackles, while senior tackle Justin Harrell led the linemen with six stops including three for lost yardage.
"Rico's had a really good spring," Fulmer said. "There is another guy we certainly could have used last year who got hurt early in two-a-days, although probably in the long run the redshirt year did him good. But he is a football player; just an around-the-ball football player. He's into it and having fun playing. He's a freshman, so you don't want to get too excited yet. But he likes to play football and he does things so instinctively."
The running game, limited by the absence of three key backfield members because of injury, saw Ricardo Kemp lead the way with 27 yards on 13 attempts. He had two short-yardage touchdown runs. Ja.Kouri Williams added 55 yards on 11 tries, while David Yancey rushed 10 times for 27 yards.
"We didn't have any fumbles and we didn't have any exchange problems, which were two of our goals and we achieved those,. Fulmer said of the offense. "We managed the clock pretty well with SEC officials; that was a plus.
"But on protections and throwing and catching the ball, we're just not nearly there."
Casey Woods and Brad Cottam shared the receiving lead with four catches apiece. Josh Briscoe added three for 66 yards, while Bret Smith had three for 42 and Jeff Cottam three for 28. Newcomer Stanley Asumnu turned in the long play of the afternoon with a 50-yard reception.
"The only thing exciting that happened today on offense, he did," Fulmer said. "I thought the 50-yard catch, going up and getting it, is exactly what he can do. He needs to work with his hands to be consistent but I think that's just a matter of working and catching enough balls. He's got a great attitude; that's what you love the most about him. He's out there trying to help the team any way he can."
James Wilhoit connected on 6-of-7 field goals tries with a long of 47. He also handled most of the punting chores in the absence of an injured Britton Colquitt. Wilhoit punted 15 times in the scrimmage for a 35.1-yard average and a long of 49.
Tennessee practices again Tuesday and Thursday before next Saturday's festivities. Fans Day at Thompson-Boling Arena begins at 11 a.m., with kickoff set for 2 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.
"If we can play a game, we're going to play a game because that's good for us and certainly good for our fans," Fulmer said. "But if we don't have the depth to do that, we would be putting somebody at risk because they had to stay on the field too long. That's something we will decide."
DT Justin Harrell, DT Matt McGlothlin, DE Antonio Reynolds, DE Robert Ayers, LB Marvin Mitchell, LB Ellix Wilson, LB Ryan Karl, CB Jonathan Wade, FS Jonathan Hefney, SS Antwan Stewart, CB Inquoris Johnson.
Receiving Leaders (No.-Yds.-TD):
Casey Woods 4-37; Brad Cottam 4-28; Josh Briscoe 3-66; Bret Smith 3-42; Jeff Cottam 3-28; Ricardo Kemp 3-20; Lucas Taylor 2-25; Corey Anderson 2-1; Stanley Asumnu 1-50; Bill Grimes 1-15; Robert Meachem 1-11; Chris Brown 1-10; David Holbert 1-5; David Yancey 1-(-4).
Defensive Leaders/Big Plays:
Rico McCoy 8 tackles, 1 TFL (-2), 1 sack (-5); Marvin Mitchell 7 tackles; Justin Harrell 6 tackles, 3 TFLs (-6); Adam Myers-White 6 tackles, 1 sack (-7); Demetrice Morley 5 tackles, 3 PBUs, 1 TFL (-1); Roshaun Fellows 5 tackles, 1 sack (-9); Ellix Wilson 5 tackles, 1 TFL (-1); Ryan Karl 5 tackles; Antwan Stewart 4 tackles, 2 INTs; Antonio Wardlow 4 tackles; Sinclair Cannon 3 tackles; James Turner 3 tackles; Brent Freeman 3 tackles; Jonathan Wade 3 tackles; Jonathan Hefney 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-2), 1 PBU; Inquoris Johnson 2 tackles, 1 PBU; Wes Brown 2 tackles, 2 sacks (-11); Michael Crain 2 tackles, 1 sack (-7); Raymond Henderson 2 tackles; Matt McGlothlin 2 tackles, 1 sack (-5); Robert Ayers 1 tackle, 1 PBU; Demonte Bolden 1 TFL (-2); Dan Williams 1 TFL (-1); Hunter Vinson 1 PBU.
James Wilhoit 6-of-7, long 47; David Campbell 1-of-1, long 30.
James Wilhoit 15-35.1-49; David Campbell 3-42.0-49; Todd Vinson 3-43.0-54.
DE Walter Fisher (shoulder); Demonte' Bolden (head).