Tennessee offense sets pace this time
Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 3:38 pm
By: UT Sports Information
A week after Tennessee’s defense came out with more intensity in UT’s first spring scrimmage, the Vols’ offense dictated the tempo from the start during scrimmage two Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Quarterback Tyler Bray completed his first eight pass attempts for 113 yards and finished the day 17-for-30 for 258 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
“It was a lot better performance by the offense and really a lot better scrimmage by the team from an intangibles standpoint,” head coach Derek Dooley said. “The effort, toughness, discipline and execution was a lot better. The offense really came out and controlled the tempo.
“We looked good throwing the ball. We ran the ball a lot better. The kickers and punters did a lot better. From that standpoint, it’s a marked improvement from where we’ve been.”
The Vols’ passing attack covered 68 of the opening drive’s 75 yards, with two completions each to wide receivers Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers.
The possession was capped by a 32-yard TD connection between Bray and Rogers, marking the third time that the duo has found each other for TD’s in scrimmages this spring.
Rogers led the Vols with 120 receiving yards and his six receptions led all wide receivers. He attributed the offensive improvement to a unity within the huddle.
“It’s a great thing,” Rogers said. “We have our leader in Tyler Bray but there are also other people in the huddle. There’s help coming from everywhere. There are no emotions.
“It’s all business and we’re just trying to win games here.”
Quarterback Matt Simms led the second-unit offense down to the 20-yard line before defensive back Rod Wilks’ interception was returned 90 yards to the end zone for the first of two scores by the Tennessee defense.
Bray quickly picked up where he left off, leading a three-play drive completed by a 30-yard TD to Hunter.
“I think today when you watched them, the first few drives are what the expectation is going to be going forward,” Dooley said. “It shouldn’t take us 11 practices and a lot of screaming, ranting and raving to get it going.
“That’s why I say that we have to grow up pretty quickly and be professionals. We have to come out with a mindset that we’re going to get better every day and that’s a hard thing for a young player to learn.”
Two plays later, Simms’ pass was tipped by a receiver and the senior was intercepted for the second time.
Defensive back Dontavis Sapp returned the pick 57 yards for another defensive score.
Following a long scoring drought, Bray set up his third TD toss of the day with a 29-yard completion to Rogers. Bray found tight end Mychal Rivera in the back of the endzone for a one-yard TD on the next play.
On a possession that began at the 25-yard line, Rivera made a difficult catch in the end zone for his second TD of the scrimmage from 23 yards out. Rivera had four receptions for 44 yards.
The Vols’ final touchdown of the day also came on a drive that began on the 25-yard line. After a pass interference penalty set UT up at the 4, tailback Rajion Neal pushed into the end zone from one yard out for his lone score of the day. Neal had a team-high seven receptions.
Defensively, linebacker Shane Reveiz led the Vols with nine tackles, while also recovering a fumble. Sapp, who returned UT’s second INT for a touchdown, also had three pass breakups and three tackles.
QUICK HITS: Linebackers Greg King (head) and Austin Johnson (knee) both suffered injuries during Saturday’s scrimmage. The extent of either is unknown. … Tennessee will practice three more times (Tuesday-Thursday) before next Saturday’s Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium at 2 p.m. … Rogers averaged 24.9 yards per catch between the two scrimmages. … The Vols’ defense forced five turnovers Saturday.