Will Vols pull trigger on their G-Gun?

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Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said the G-Gun only needs to be pulled from its holster when absolutely necessary.

The G-Gun, as it's been dubbed by the media, is an offensive package in which freshman receiver Gerald Jones lines up at quarterback and the quarterback slides to receiver.

Ainge said the G-Gun should only be used when the Vols traditional offense is struggling.

"We have a lot of stuff like that," the senior said Tuesday as he previewed Saturday's game against Arkansas. "I don't see that being a big part of what we do while I'm in the game."

The G-Gun debuted last week when Ainge was on the sideline while backup quarterback Jonathan Crompton was handling mop-up duty in a 59-7 romp over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Ainge's reluctance might make some think he's not willing to line up at receiver, as Crompton did against the Ragin' Cajuns. Not so.

"I told Gerald yesterday, 'If they don't guard me, you better throw me the ball,' " Ainge said.

Putting Ainge in such a position certainly comes with risk, especially for a player who's had more than his fair share of injuries.

"That's between the DB and Erik," UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said. "Let's see if he wants to take that on. Erik's a 6-6, 225-pound guy. He knows how to take care of himself. I'd be interested to see how that matchup went."

Said Ainge, "I played basketball in high school. I'll just post him up."

If the Vols run the G-Gun against Arkansas, much of that decision will be based on Jones, who led Millwood High School in Oklahoma City to a state title while playing quarterback.

"He has a take-charge mentality," Cutcliffe said of Jones. "He's comfortable there. A lot of guys aren't comfortable in that mode."

The package was certainly effective against Lafayette. Jones rushed for 20 yards on two carries, including a 12-yard touchdown. Ainge said surprise is key.

"He can get a big play if you spring it on somebody when they're not expecting it," Ainge said. "But I think we'll just keep doing what we've been doing."

Cutcliffe downplayed whatever time Arkansas might have to commit to stopping the G-Gun, as its defense has practiced against the "Wildhawg" - in which tailback Darren McFadden lines up at quarterback.

Cutcliffe also added that working on the attack would also affect UT's offensive practice itinerary, as well as its opponent's.

Scouting Report: Arkansas' defense is first in the SEC in pass efficiency defense (91.5).

"They play a ton of man coverage," Cutcliffe said. "They play a lot of press coverage. They bring pressure a lot."

Ainge, who's passer rating is 133.2, described Arkansas as basic in their defensive approach. But the Razorbacks' talent is far from ordinary.

"Even when they bring four, they can still put pressure on the quarterback because their D-line's good," Ainge said. "… They force you to really be sharp and execute over and over again."

It's rare that an offensive player cites an opposing offensive player, but Ainge did so during UT's media day, saying McFadden is a prime reason why UT's offense will have to control time of possession.

"You can't just let him run around and waste all the clock," Ainge said.

As for Arkansas' defense, running backs coach Kurt Roper said, "They play as hard as any group we've watched on tape this year."

No Hard Feelings: Roper said he doesn't see any difference in tailback Montario Hardesty now that he's been a more significant part of the offense as of late.

"Regardless of the situation, he comes to work with the right mindset," Roper said. "It's hard for me to tell a difference between Montario any day of the week."

Hardesty ran nine times for 45 yards last week against Lafayette. He was oddly absent during UT's 41-17 loss to Alabama. Since then, he has averaged 5.7 yards a carry against Lafayette and South Carolina. Hardesty rushed twice for 18 yards against the Gamecocks.

Cut Cut: Cutcliffe bristled a bit when asked why Ainge's performance fell off against Laffayette.

"I didn't think Erik struggled," Cutcliffe said, as he turned to the reporter who posed the question. "I don't know if you watched the same game I saw, but I thought Erik played extremely well. He did what we asked him to do."

Ainge was 15-of-23 for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Ragin' Cajuns.

Injury Report: Cutcliffe said sophomore receiver Austin Rogers (shoulder) will be limited for practice this week. He is expected to play Saturday.

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Comments » 41

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

All the talk about McFadden, I hope we don't forget about Gones!!

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

I spelled it that way so we would remember.

paulvol writes:

I have to be honest. I will be a little shocked if we win this game. We have struggled stopping the run even with the little teams this year. How, oh how can we stop the run against the best rushing team in the SEC? Trickery may help on offense but I am more concerned with our defense these days. History this year shows that when our offense shines but our defense does not we usually lose. I hope to be shocked!!!

alfrizzle097 writes:

I dunno paul, we looked great against Georgia and pretty good against Mississippi. Teams that run out of the I don't seem to be our problem. It's the spread that kills us.

GreerVol22 writes:

I tell you... this ill conceived, poorly practiced, hair brained BS phooey called the G-gun is about the dumbest thing I have heard of.

So dumb that its beyond just being cute...heck it might even work once or twice...what do we have to lose?

BigUn writes:

Ainge going out for a pass? Just what we need! To get Ainge hurt on a stupid trick play that everybody now knows is in the playbook.

How bout, line up and run over them? You know, what Arkansas is going to do to us?

Trick plays work once a season, maybe twice.

DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

G-Gun? LMAO...transparent smokescreen. Textbook red herring. No way this coaching staff takes risks like that with a trip to the SEC championship on the line.

We will again play not to lose.

vtvol#210290 writes:

How is this game a "pick 'em?" What do the books know that we don't? The Vol D is grossly overmatched by the Hog's running game. They have a good D line which could slow down our running game as well as force mistakes by Ainge through sacks and hurries. They're saying that Arkansas is only three points better on a neutral field and six points better than the Vols at Reynolds or War Memorial. We all remember the pasting our Vols received there last year. What's the deal? Collegefootballnews.com just chose Arkansas over UT 4 votes to 3 with Clucko the chicken being the tiebreaker. Maybe, just maybe, the Vols have a puncher's chance of winning. Is this a sucker line and trap bet or is Tennessee better than most are willing to give credit?

ONUV writes:

remember the eric locke package? this coaching staff isn't advanced enough to a run a trick offense like this.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Smells like negative yards now that everyone in the free world knows about it.As for the odds, the books must be cooked cause the Hogs should be 10 point favorites to me.The fans need to be as fired up for this game as they would be for the Gators/Bamas.Make homefield an advantage in this and every home game.bonzaivol

CrankE writes:

G-Gun sounds like 10 on 11 football to me.

Misdirection pitch, direct snap to Foster, trick snap to Foster while Ainge is "looking to the sideline for the play", the quick hitter-fullback up the gut, and the quick slant against man to man, successful-surprise onsides kick, successful fake punt. Just entering my request for some plays I'd like to see.

iowavol writes:

This article is boring and so are the posts.

powert#205805 writes:

I've seen 'em both. G-Gun ain't no Wild Hawg. Now that McFadden is healthy, I think we are in for a long afternoon. Hopefully not, but I just can't see us stopping them if we put 12 men in the box.

callen825#321558 writes:

vtvol makes some excellent points...ohio VOLS will be surprised if our defense can stand up to this ARKANSAS team

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Just musing, but what if Chavis started TEN new guys on defense (keeping Berry). Would we be any worse? I can't imagine ten more un-talented players (used loosely) on the pines! Just a thought! I know there can't be ten SLOWER players back in the shadows! Go Vols, don't make me duck behind my chair!

jopad#212858 writes:

Don't know about the G-Gun with Ainge in the game but bet Crompton can be a part of it (We'll see next year). I live in Haywood County NC where Crompton played his high school football and saw him play several times. He was not only the QB but defensive safety (and a good one). If he were not QB he could play running back. Maybe next year this G-Gun becomes a regular part of the play callin but, this year, Don't know. Doesn't sound like Ainge likes it very much.

ruslt#212234 writes:

Id like to see the G-Gun set at the goal line with a fade pass to ainge in the corner. It be hard for a corner to cover his 6'6" frame. any other time Id much rather see crompton wide out. I cringe to know that ainge might be running across the middle and know what a safety might do to him

webbofconfusion writes:

I smell smoke... lot's of it... I think UT is getting ready for a Pig Roast.

waterskier3#226480 writes:

agian this is how far we've dropped... we're talking about using a new formation instead of talking about how we're a better team with better players with the attitude we're going to win no matter who is running the ball...... Man we sux but yes i will be watching the game wondering if we can ever be the tn of old....... I just don't think so with this staff... i'm sorry but i've only seen steady decline in big games in the last 4 years.

asleep#212036 writes:

I agree we do defend the I-formation much better than the spread. And again, you never know which UT team will show up. We ran easily and often against Georgia, one of the better run defenders in the league, and couldn't (or didn't) run at all against, FL, AL, or SC, teams near the bottom of the pile (with us) against the run. Same with Arkansas. How could they not run over UTC? It just depends on the flow of the game and which team (AR or TN) shows up. It could be a big win for either team because Arkansas is just not that good. Of course, we now know that Cal isn't that good either and they beat us pretty badly, so I certainly wouldn't count on a UT win. But I would love it. Go Vols!!!

libertytn writes:

CrankE: trick snap to Foster while Ainge is "looking to the sideline for the play"

That would be a great play!

Basketball_Jones writes:

Marc_ash I agree with you. I think the staff doesn't really know how to implement something like this G-Gun formation into our normal game plan. This package would be great in the no huddle, especially if Jones can pass like McFadden. I mean I'm sure Fulmer and Co think its hokie, last time I checked the Chargers sometimes run the same set with LT and he throws a few TD's...spread it out on the goal line and give Jones some options

CoverOrange writes:

We tried this before with Lucas, didn't work.

Totally useless to have Ainge split out unless they run a flea flicker type play. They can cover him with a LB.

A fade is a difficult pass to make, requires a lot of touch on the ball. Would be more useful to sub Oneal or Moore or any real WR instead.

kjneel#238751 writes:

Cut shouldnt be pissed at the reporter, Ainge has fallen off these past few weeks. He doesnt' look confident or accurate. When will the tape come off? This is his last year and he looks nervous when the rush comes. Stand in there and take a hit but make the throw. You are a month away from being done, do something impressive while you can.

CoverOrange writes:

Good point sjt18. I also remember an O lineman running down a CB on an interception return against ND in the year that wasn't (2005). Adrenaline can do a lot for you when it gets pumped.

Still, I think a real WR is more dangerous than Ainge out there. Would have to put a CB out there anyway and Oneal would have a better chance of beating him.

tigervol9802 writes:

They play press coverage? Great.

McF's chances of a 1,000 yard rushing day just increased 75%.

Hunter writes:

I just saw McFadden score another 80-yard touchdown on ESPN against USC - he's got to be tired.....

He's tired, right? Sure, he's tired.....I can sleep tonight.....wait, Jones is All-American quality, too. Ugh.....

kkebean#233101 writes:


tenvolone writes:

Question....WHY don't we try "alternative" offensive schemes during games against competative opponents? Why do it in a rout so future opponents are clued in to them???????


I agree with kjneel on Ainge. He hasn't played well at all these last 3 games. He does seem to be scared or nervous. He seems to be looking for the short 3 to 5 yard route most of the time, even when there's no pressure on him. I just hope he can come out of the funk and play like he did early in the season.

hopalong writes:

This old man needs some help from the Vol Nation. Not criticism. No smart a** responses. I am not trying to start a discussion about anything. Just need some factual information.

Coach Fulmer has been described to be "Old School" in his way of thinking regarding game preparation, personnel, etc. The running game is an integral segment of old school football.

McFadden seemingly fits the description of an old school type running back. Did U T try to recruit him? Were we in the picture when he made his decision to go to Ark.?

1974Vol writes:

I doubt Ainge will be running any go patterns. He'll run to the 1st down stick turn around and as he says "post up" the DB and turn it into a jump ball, his 6'6" against their 5'9". Unless Vols are way ahead or behind we won't see the G-Gun anyway. Run Foster 'til he's winded, then Hardesty 'til he is, and then repeat; for 8 minutes and 14 plays and TNTD's. Mix in enough short passes to Brown, Foster, Taylor & Rogers (screens, slants, outs, hooks) to keep Hog LB's on their heels. It will either work and we win or it won't and they will. Pretty much simple as that. The game hinges on our O against their D. When they have the ball, just hope we get some strips, turnovers, and/or enough negative plays to get them behind the sticks and force a punt or two. Otherwise we just watch the best running back in college football do his thing.

CoverOrange writes:

I guess with Coker gone we can no longer run the flea flicker with Lucas Taylor?

How much time does anyone think Ark is going to spend reviewing the LaLa film of UT? How much time do they have to spend practicing against it: "if ya see this guy here and that guy there, you go here, get it? got it! good!" Would have been better to have total surprise, IMHO.

dirtywhiteboy writes:

do we have a g-gun we can turn loose on defense? not sure we can outscore the hawgs on saturday.

missrvrvol writes:

Will run it against ULLA, but no guts to do it against UARK. Hogs win this one in a laugher. Glad it is the early game so I can make a tee time at 1:00.

memphisvolman writes:

Guys I have a hard time believing we can stop the hogs ground game. I watched the replay last night of the TN/ULL game at the Fed-Ex forum (Hoping the Tigers would lose to the Richmond Spiders- The game was actually very close)

But our Defensive lineman were getting blow off the ball with the slight mis- direction offense ran by the Canjuns- Hopefully the Vols get fired up enough to putt some pressure on Casey Dick and hold that line! I pulled this off Fox Sports below! I recall getting killed by Clemson a few years ago!

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Dec. 31 / 7:30 p.m. Atlanta, Ga. ESPN
Tie-Ins: ACC No. 2 vs. SEC
Projection: Clemson vs. Tennessee

invisiblekid writes:

Personally, I would rather see the 15 minutes spent in practice on the "G-Gun" going torward consistently getting past the sticks on 3rd down plays. Or maybe running some of the old school power football that used to make 3rd and 1 an automatic 1st down for the Vols.

invisiblekid writes:

SJT18, most of the domination by the Vols in the first half of the UT-SC game came from turnovers by the Gamecocks. A couple of key plays from Berry put the Vols offense in business in the form of a fumble return to the SC 2 yard line and an interception return to the SC 44. Arkansas, on the other hand, had scoring drives of 67, 63, and 76 yards to open the game respectively. My point is this, UT took advantage of a couple of breaks that they made to get a big lead while Arkansas truly dominated the play in the early going. IMO, the Vols have to win the turnover battle in a big way to win on Saturday. I hope I am wrong, but I don't see the Vols going toe to toe with them for 4 quarters.

1974Vol writes:

Cut will go long if he gets true man (no help over the top) on a healthy Taylor or if he has enough confidence in Jones to run the route correctly. If the Hogs have safety help Ainge has always done a good job of hitting the WR's in the gap where the corner drops off and the safety takes over. Taylor, Rogers and Briscoe all run that route well and know how to find the open spot on the sideline behind the corner and Ainge gets the ball there before the safety can get over. (combination of looking him off and a rifle arm) What would be extra sweet is if someone can catch that pass and then make the safety miss and out run everyone else to the house. Jones and O'Neal both look like they have the moves and speed. Let's hope they know how to read defenses and run routes well enough for Cut and Trooper to give them a chance. If the turn overs stay even they go to the 4th qtr with the game yet undecided. If it is to be a blow out one or the other just gets down - Vols at Florida, Ark at KY and mails in the 4th qtr.

missrvrvol writes:

Once again, sjt18, because someone disagrees with you, they are not allowed to comment?(Must be a Hillary supporter). Ark was much more impressive against USC than we were, so yes I am impressed by that win. I too hope we can stop the McFadden/Jones Express, but all you have to do is look at what we have done defensively this year. UT wins if it is close, but a blow out goes to the Hogs.

missrvrvol writes:


I also like to post negatives to give you guys something to get upset about. It makes my mornings!!!

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