April 21, 2012
"It's good to see," UT head coach Derek Dooley said of Lane, who needed just nine carries to reach 106 yards. "You would rather him do that than not do it. I try to judge the body of work over 15 practices, and this game is important because it is a true game setting."
Saturday's game, played in front of 35,421, the fourth-largest crowd at a Tennessee spring game, began with scoring drives on the first two possessions.
Lane gave the Orange team a 7-0 lead with a 19-yard run on the opening drive of the game, which went 56 yards in six plays.
The White team, made up of the first-team offense and second-team defense, responded with a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive of its own. Quarterback Tyler Bray connected on a 51-yard pass to Da'Rick Rogers down to the Orange 3-yard line.
Rogers, who caught five passes for 74 yards Saturday, very nearly scored, but cornerback Justin Coleman tripped him up just shy of the end zone.
"He got Coleman on a double move, and he had a good game," Dooley said. "He had a good game, but he's had a good spring."
Rajion Neal, who returned to running back this spring after spending time as a receiver last season, scored two plays later.
The teams appeared to be headed for a 7-7 tie at halftime, but Lane broke free on a draw play at the end of the half for a 39-yard touchdown run and a seven-point lead for the Orange team.
That play wasn't designed to score, Dooley said.
"They were, I think, on the 42, and you knew they were going to be playing soft so if you get up to the 35, maybe you have a shot at a field goal," he said. "That was bad defense more than anything."
The White team scored on its only third-quarter possession (quarters were shortened to 10 minutes for the second half), thanks to a methodical 11-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard pass from Bray to tight end Mychal Rivera.
Bray, who struggled in last year's Orange and White Game, was solid on Saturday, completing 14 of his 26 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.
"He's made some progress in some areas, but he still has a lot of developing to do," Dooley said of Bray. "He is working hard, and I think he has had a good spring. He is a lot more patient. He's understand the game. He's understanding the level of intensity that it takes every day to be good."
The Orange team put together one last scoring drive -- this one lasting more than 5 minutes -- that ended with Derrick Brodus' 37-yard field goal with 9:04 left in the game.
The White team couldn't answer on either of its final two possessions.
As a result, members of the White team will eat hot dogs with chips and water with no ice during a team meal Sunday. Members of the Orange team will eat steak.
Saturday's scrimmage marks the end of the Vols' third spring practice under Dooley. It also marks perhaps the most stable point in Dooley's tenure.
"I've made this statement, it's the most settled we've been since I've been here, and that showed," Dooley said.
Something else that showed, according to Dooley, was a good attitude from his team throughout all 15 spring practices. But after Saturday, the focus turns to the season-opener against N.C. State on Aug. 31 in Atlanta.
"I'm real pleased with the attitudes the players have had and the work ethic," he said. "Now we turn the page and get ready for real ball."