April 10, 2010
Tennessee divided its second scrimmage of the spring into two parts Saturday, using a normal game format for the first portion and then focusing on situations over the last 30 minutes.
Just three practices remain before next Saturday's Dish Network Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium.
"At the end, we did a situational scrimmage where we were really working on the last 3 1/2 or four minutes of the game," head coach Derek Dooley said. "It's just amazing what comes up and there are some great lessons.
"If you look (at Tennessee) over the last two years, we've lost a number of games in the last 3 1/2 minutes where we had a chance to win it. I think the teams that play the best in the last 3-4 minutes tend to win the most games, so we are going to spend a lot of time on it."
Saturday also was UT's first scrimmage since the departure of senior quarterback Nick Stephens, and junior signal-caller Matt Simms called it his worst outing of the spring. Simms finished just 8-of-25 passing for 110 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Freshman Tyler Bray was 10-of-19 for 87 yards and also had a touchdown and interception.
"I haven't watched the film, so I'm not quick to judge, but I would agree with Matt," Dooley said. "I think that was a good assessment. He looked a little anxious, wasn't as accurate as I know he wants to be. We'll look at the film to see why and go to the next day.
"For 10 practices, he's probably shown improvement every day. He hit a little dip today."
Freshman Matt Milton caught a pair of touchdown passes among his four overall receptions, while Luke Stocker and Denarius Moore added two catches apiece. Senior Gerald Jones was held out of Saturday's scrimmage with an injury.
"What Matt brings is he's a big target, and it was good to see Matt get some plays," Dooley said. "We didn't have Gerald Jones out there but Luke made a couple of big plays and we're going to need him to make a bunch of big plays. And Denarius has an ability to stretch the field."
Linebacker Austin Johnson had another nice day on defense, leading all tacklers with seven. Prentiss Waggner and Daryl Vereen chipped in six tackles apiece, while cornerback Eric Gordon broke up three passes and added a tackle for loss.
The Vols practice again Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this next week.
Receiving Leaders: Matt Milton 4 for 17 yards, 2 TD; Luke Stocker 2 for 54 yards; Denarius Moore 2 for 53 yards; Ben Lehning 2 for 27 yards; Todd Campbell 2 for 18 yards; Zach Rogers 2 for 14 yards; Tauren Poole 2 for 4 yards.
Punting: Chad Cunningham 6 for 42.0-yard average, long 46; David Harrington 5 for 38.0-yard average, long 41.
Field Goals: Daniel Lincoln 2-of-3, long 37; Chip Rhome 1-of-2, long 35.
Offensive Starters: Tackles Dallas Thomas and Ja'Wuan James, guards JerQuari Schofield and Jarrod Shaw, center Victor Thomas, tight end Luke Stocker, wide receivers Denarius Moore and Marsalis Teague, fullback Kevin Cooper, tailback Tauren Poole, quarterback Matt Simms.
Defensive Starters: Ends Chris Walker and Gerald Williams, tackles Montori Hughes and Marlon Walls; linebackers LaMarcus Thompson, Herman Lathers and Austin Johnson; cornerbacks Eric Gordon and Naz Oliver, safeties Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles Jr.