Henry Co.’s Teague living the UT dream
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:56 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee freshman wide receiver and Henry County product Marsalis Teague knew he’d have to calm some nerves for his first game as a Volunteer.
“You’ve got to try to put it behind you as hard as it is with 100,000 people screaming. We got off the bus for the Vol Walk, and I thought, ‘It’s a dream come true now. It’s time to show up.’”
Show up he did as one of 10 freshmen who played in Saturday’s 63-7 win over Western Kentucky.
Teague was the only one of the freshmen to start. He led the receiving corps with 86 yards on six catches and reeled in a five-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Crompton.
“I thought Marsalis was extremely impressive, especially for him to start and all the pressure with that,” coach Lane Kiffin said.
Kiffin told the Vols before the season they would all have a chance to earn starting positions and playing time — including the true freshmen.
Tailback Bryce Brown got his share of playing time, racking up 104 yards rushing and a touchdown. Fellow running back David Oku added two more touchdowns.
Receivers Nu’Keese Richardson and Zach Rogers, safety Darren Myles Jr., cornerback Mike Edwards, safety Janzen Jackson, linebacker Greg King, defensive tackle Montori Hughes and linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton also played.
Not everything went smoothly in their first game. Richardson fumbled his first punt return. Brown broke a 34-yard run up the sideline but stepped out of bounds rather than pushing forward for more yards.
“He ran out of bounds and did not finish it in the style that we play with here, so that was disappointing, but he’ll learn from that,” Kiffin said.
GREAT SCOTT!: Tennessee senior Chris Scott was named the Southeastern Conference offensive lineman of the week for his effort in the Vols’ win over the Hilltoppers.
Scott recorded six knockdown blocks from the backside tackle postion.
The Vols’ 657 yards were their most since 1997, and their 380 yards rushing were the most since 1994.
Tennessee had five touchdowns by air, four on the ground and did not allow a sack.
Lane Kiffin said Scott, listed as 6-foot-5 and 346 pounds by Tennessee, has lost at least 30 pounds since the coach arrived on campus.
“You can see it in his play, even going back now to watch last year’s game against UCLA, he looks like a completely different player,” Kiffin said.
Scott said the coaches’ energy has rubbed off on the offensive line, helping them to play much better than last season, and Saturday’s performance has boosted the linemen’s confidence.
“I think it’s through the roof right now,” he said. “The teaching that we’re getting is pretty good, and we’re having a lot of success with it.”
JONESIN’ FOR JONES: Coach Lane Kiffin said he hopes to have star wide receiver Gerald Jones back Saturday when Tennessee hosts UCLA.
Jones suffered a high ankle sprain catching a pass in the Vols’ Aug. 22 scrimmage and was expected then to miss three to six weeks.
Denarius Moore missed most of fall camp as he recovered from foot surgery but played a few snaps against Western Kentucky and caught a 4-yard pass.
Moore said it helped to get a few snaps in before facing more challenging opponents like UCLA and Florida.
“I’d say it helped a whole bunch, so I could get a feel for the game and see if it’s still there or if I would crumble under the pressure,” he said.
Wide receivers coach Frank Wilson said coaches would review both players on a day-by-day basis before determining how much they can play against the Bruins.
ORANGE SLICES: Ten-nessee’s 657 yards on offense against a mismatched Western Kentucky were more than any other Football Bowl Subdivision team that had played through Sunday. The Vols finished the 2008 season 116th out of 119 FBS teams after averaging 268.8 yards per game, and their best effort last season was 548 yards against UAB. … Offensive guard Vladimir Richard sat out much of Saturday resting an injured Achiles tendon as a precaution. He is expected to be available for practice this week and against UCLA.
SMOKEY SEZ: “The thing I’m nervous about is we still haven’t played a game. Our guys don’t know what it’s like to play 80 plays in a real game. It was good to get a lot of guys to play, but at the same time we have a lot of work to do, and we’re going to need to have very physical, intense practices this week to make sure that we’re in shape for a full game,” coach Lane Kiffin said when asked about getting to play reserve players against Western Kentucky.