Offense struggles again; Fulmer calls it 'royal butt-kicking'

If you’re keeping score this spring, it’s Defense 2, Offense 0.

For the second week in a row, Tennessee’s offense struggled to protect the football during a full scrimmage inside Neyland Stadium.

Shortly after the Vols’ two-hour scrimmage Saturday afternoon, UT coach Phillip Fulmer didn’t mince his words.

“I learned a long time ago not to say too much until you watch the tape,” Fulmer said, “but today was a royal butt-kicking.”

Heading into Saturday’s workout, the second of three weekend scrimmages leading up to the Orange and White Game on April 19, Fulmer and first-year offensive coordinator Dave Clawson wanted to see ball security become a priority.

But a week after the Vols had one interception and several botched center-quarterback exchanges, UT’s top three quarterbacks combined to throw four interceptions.

Jonathan Crompton – heir apparent to Erik Ainge as UT’s starter this fall – completed 10 of 18 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

But he also had three interceptions.

“I don’t know how to explain them,” Crompton said. “I’ve got to get in there and see what I did wrong, if the receiver did anything we can correct. I’ve got to correct myself first. They just made a good play.”

DeAngelo Willingham picked off two of the passes and former Fulton standout Dennis Rogan intercepted the other, taking it back 82 yards for a touchdown.

Former Austin-East standout Anthony Anderson had UT’s other interception, a diving play on a B.J. Coleman throw intended for true freshman running back Tauren Poole.

All those turnovers weren’t exactly what Clawson and Fulmer were hoping for from Saturday’s scrimmage.

“The No. 1 goal is we have to win the turnover battle,” Clawson said. “We turned it over too often today. Part of that is bad decision making on the quarterback, part of that is guys slipping on routes and those are things that can’t happen if you’re going to win football games. We’ll learn from it and grow from it and we’ll be better in a week.”

Despite the turnovers, Tennessee did show improvement from last week.

With Clawson’s multiple offense about two-thirds of the way installed, players seemed a little more accustomed to the offense, as one would expect after nine practices.

“The first scrimmage we had, there was a more thinking than there was actually playing,” offensive lineman Anthony Parker said. “The week we had in between, we learned the offense better. It was more playing instead of thinking. Not as much thinking, I should say.”

Tennessee also moved the ball better on offense than it did a week ago.

Coleman completed 12 of his 18 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown during red zone work late in the scrimmage.

Nick Stephens was 9 of 14 for 92 yards, without an interception or touchdown.

Tight end Luke Stocker provided the offense’s biggest play with a 55-yard reception that set up a touchdown on the offense’s first drive.

Arian Foster also broke a 19-yard run from scrimmage during which he shed a tackle from Demetrice Morley.

But those improvements didn’t stand out nearly as much as the interceptions.

“I think if you take away the interceptions, we actually moved the ball better today and had a little bit of a run game going,” Clawson said. “But you can’t eliminate the interceptions.”

By next week, Clawson hopes to have about 90 percent of his offense installed, and Crompton wants to make sure he’s learned from whatever mistakes were made Saturday.

But any aggregate scores accumulated this spring don’t concern Crompton.

“If you want to say ‘beat our defense’ that’s not our goal,” Crompton said. “Our goal is to get better, and that’s what we’re trying to do every day.”

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

Scrimmage statistics

Rushing Leaders (Att.-Yds.-TD) -- Arian Foster 9-45-0; Lennon Creer 8-15-0; Daryl Vereen 6-2-0; Tauren Poole 8-9-0.

Passing Leaders (Att.-Comp.-Int.-Yds.-TD) -- Jonathan Crompton 18-10-3-108-1; Nick Stephens 14-9-0-92-0; B.J. Coleman 18-12-1-63-1.

Receiving Leaders (No.-Yds.-TD) -- Ahmad Paige 7-73-0; Luke Stocker 2-62-0; Quintin Hancock 3-44-1; Tyler Maples 2-42-1; Josh Briscoe 4-40-1; Austin Rogers 3-17-0; Lennon Creer 2-15-0.

Defensive Leaders -- Demetrice Morley 6 tackles, 1 blocked kick; Nick Reveiz 6 tackles, 2 TFL (-7), 1 sack (-4); Derrick Furlow 6 tackles, 2 PBU; Eric Berry 5 tackles; LaMarcus Thompson 5 tackles, 1 TFL (-1); Rico McCoy 4 tackles; Art Evans 4 tackles, 1 TFL (-3); Ellix Wilson 4 tackles; Antonio Anderson 4 tackles, 1 TFL (-3); Chris Donald 3 tackles, 1 TFL (-3); DeAngelo Willingham 3 tackles, 2 INT (2-yard return); Adam Myers-White 3 tackles, 1 sack (-8), 2 PBU; Brett Barnes 3 tackles; Robert Ayers 3 tackles, 3 TFL (-17), 2 sacks (-14); Vince Faison 3 tackles; Dennis Rogan 2 tackles, 1 INT (82 yard return for TD).

Field Goal Leaders -- Daniel Lincoln 5-of-8, long 51; Devin Mathis 5-of-7, long 34.

Punting Leaders -- Chad Cunningham 5 for 40.6 avg.; Britton Colquitt 3 for 41.0 avg.

Punt Return Leaders -- Dennis Rogan 1-53; Ahmad Paige 1-19; Gerald Jones 1-11.

Scoring Plays --

Briscoe 7 pass from Crompton (Lincoln kick)

Rogan 82 interception return (Lincoln kick)

Maples 36 pass from Shamblin (Koyano kick)

Hancock 14 pass from Coleman (Mathis kick)

Offensive Starters: Quarterback Jonathan Crompton, wide receivers Denarius Moore and Austin Rogers, tight end Luke Stocker, fullback Kevin Cooper, tailback Arian Foster, tackles Chris Scott and Ramon Foster, guards Vladimir Richard and Jacques McClendon, and center Anthony Parker.

Defensive Starters: Ends Wes Brown and Robert Ayers, tackles Demonte Bolden and Dan Williams, linebackers Rico McCoy, Ellix Wilson and Adam Myers White, cornerbacks Dennis Rogan and DeAngelo Willingham, and safeties Eric Berry and Demetrice Morley.

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Comments » 85

DennisVols writes:

Great to see the defense taking the shape of a champion but had hoped for more out of the offense.
I guess changing what has not changed in several decades is going to take more time than I expected.
Got to stop the turnovers.

BigOrangeHustler writes:

Maples received a 36 yard pass from who?

cdldoc#211897 writes:

What do you really expect. It is a new offense against a great defensive backfeld. This was much better than if the offense ran away with it.

TommyJack writes:

typical. happens every Spring, practically everywhere.

FishTacos writes:

I sure hope that secondary is deep!! If we still have no front seven in the fall, the secondary is going to be making a whole lot of tackles!!

whistlinwingman writes:

I am going to go on a limb here and say Stevens or Coleman will make a strong push to knock Crompton off the first string. I know this stuff happens every spring to most offenses in the country, but this is typical for UT. Players in most key positions just can't step up and fill the shoes they are needed to fill.

VolPride_13 writes:

Well, looks like we will be runnin' the ball most of the time. FINALLY!!! Love the power running game and all but if we don't stop the turnovers we won't beat a whole lot of teams!!! GO VOLS!!!

andy112382#209793 writes:

About what I expect from the second scrimmage of spring when installing a new offense. Our secondary is stacked and that will just lead to better training for our QBs.......having to pass against Morley and Berry (among others) is no easy task and I find it hard to believe we will find our guys passing against guy much more talented than that group of DBs.

gohawks1 writes:

Keep in mind that the passing game is going against a secondary that may be one of the toughest in the SEC/nation, while still learning a new offense.

How about Rogan! A 53 yard punt return... woo hoo! I can't wait to see this guy in action - he should be a threat to take it to the house often on punt returns.

MrBamSeydu writes:

Who the hell is Shamblin?

WPAINE writes:

Our offense will be fine... I realize this gives people stuff to talk about, but we have an experienced O-line, experienced Receivers, experienced Running Backs, and a 3 year QB. This is Spring practice. Lets just all relax and be glad that there haven't been any SERIOUS injuries (outside of holbert).

philfan writes:

Can't wait until September One!!

b writes:

" guess changing what has not changed in several decades "


Remember that little thing called "no-huddle" last year?

rusty_shackleford writes:

The "butt-kicking" comment comes on the heels of CPF calling out the O-line a week or so ago. Feels like the head coach is getting tougher in his old age! ;-)

DennisVols writes:

The "No Huddle" was not a change in our offense. At best it was a quicker version of our typical conservative offense. Short sidline pass, and run. Which every defense we faced could read from a mile away.
The run game suffered from a passing game that never stretched a defense.
This has been UT offense since before coach Cut even took over the frist go around.

BigOrangeHustler writes:


gohawks1 writes:

Shamblin? Not a clue. What's the 4-1-1 on this guy? Anybody know who he is?

gohawks1 writes:


The link to the Tauren Poole story isn't working. It appears to be the home page link.....

OrangePride writes:

This is why there is a spring practice. Find out about each player, learn your systems and schemes, and sharpen your skills. The coaches will have to obviously gear up the offense, but those always come last. There are some bright lights, but Crompton definitely needs to assess why he is throwing so many int's. Yes, the secondary is one of our strong points. But in the SEC, they ALL have good players in the secondary.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Our defense is, by no means, STOUT. Of course, maybe I'm wrong and we'll end up like our 1998 team who was tough and hard-nosed.

Installing a new offense and getting used to a new position coaches takes time, but it's a little concerning from an offensive standpoint that we're struggling this much.

Football isn't rocket-science. I sure hope we can keep getting better and improving. Otherwise, it'll be a long year in the SEC East.

dave1#220678 writes:

Shamblin is a walk on. Just doing the mop up duty with the 4th string/walkons.

gohawks1 writes:

University of Florida spelling bee champion, 2008 - gatorfan8

gohawks1 writes:

Yeah, you have to watch that GRAMMER. Heh, heh, heh.

rusty_shackleford writes:

Another Gator talking trash. How did they do in the Nobody's Interested Tounrey? Was it even carried on cable? I missed it.

invisiblekid writes:

I don't see much of an issue with the defense being ahead of the offense, especially with the change in coaching staff BUT ball security should be objective number one. Hopefully, Crompton bounces back from this next scrimmage.

GreerVol22 writes:

I'm tellin' you, don't hold your breath for Crompton to be starting. They guys must me coming out of the huddle screaming "#80, its going to #80"

invisiblekid writes:

Thanks for the lesson gatorfan8, you're obviously a student of the English language and your input is always appreciated.

Seriously, this is pathetic, guy can't find anything better to do on a Saturday night.

invisiblekid writes:

GreerVol, I am all for the best player starting but I think Crompton gets the nod on the first snap of the season unless he truly scews up. Look no further than Parrish last year to see what experience means to the Vol braintrust.

T0MMYJACK writes:

I bet you're correct about Crompton, whistlinwingman. There is a very good chance that he'll be flashing signals for the rest of his tenure at UT. He's a great athlete, but he shows flashes of bad decision-making. For his sake, I hope we are wrong.

GerryOP writes:

Coach Fulmer knows a royal butt-kicking when he sees one.

jimr07 writes:

guys, do not pay attention to gator8. he is an immature jerk and comes on here because he knows he can ruffle some feathers and get attention. see, no one will pay attention to him anywhere else. i have wondered what he wants to do when he grows up. gator8, your mother is calling you. it is time to clean up your room or you cannot have any ice cream this afternoon. you are one pathetic person. i wonder if both of your friends are as ignorant as you

volnknox writes:

Here we go again,4 or 5 loss season coming up. But oh no lets keep fulmer around, remember he won a National Championship 10 years ago.
nothing going to change until he's gone!!!!!!

RJ_Vol writes:

If our offense is going to be good, are they really going to tell anyone during Spring practice?

T0MMYJACK writes:


At least Fulmer's team didn't give up before the end of this past season.

And, at least, Fulmer's teams have won something other than regular season games at some point during his tenure at UT.

And, at least, Fulmer's teams have made it to the SEC's conference championship game (33% of his years at the helm of the program).

Some would have us believe that a coach who has accomplished none-of-the-above should get a raise. And those same folks claim that the very coach who HAS reached these heights should be let go.

Goes to show what good interviews and orange coats will do for a guy. And how easily some thick-headed fans can be impressed by "shiny new things".

waterskier3#226480 writes:

why is colquitt even practicing???? he can't play the first 5 games but ol fulmer is going to let him practice to keep him in school... now that's disc at its best!!!!!!

Please be competitive against fla, aub and ala..... and oh yeah we got tourched by a 6-6 pac 10 team last year... so be competitive against ucla also..

vol nation don't worry fulmer is just going to stick around until he beats neyland OMG!!!!!

jimr07 writes:

waterskier3--do you have inside information as to what fulmer's intentions are? mighty good of you to let us all in the know.

THE_VOL writes:

YESSIREE!!!! WE WANT CROMPTON!!! WE WANT CROMPTON!!! Well folks you got him and he can't even beat his own defense which will be lucky to be in the top HALF of the conference! And that OL with all those starters returning - WOW now THEY are impressing folks aren't they!!!???

Folks - spring practice IS for PREPARATION! So PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR 2005-PART II! This is a TRAIN WRECK WITH 6-6, 7-5 written ALL OVER IT! But hey that WOULD be PROGRESS as FOOLMER will only need 3 more years like it to pass Neyland and then he can go!

jimr07 writes:

THE_VOL--why am i not surprised to see another one of your i hate fulmer posts and the sky is falling. it would be nice to at least play one game before you spread your doom and gloom.

jimr07 writes:

nafslov--do i note a touch of sarcasm there? i, too, am anxious to see how the season turns out. if it is bad, bye fulmer, if it is good, will all the haters say good season coach like theysaid to our basketball coach? will be interesting won't it?

jimr07 writes:

THE_VOL--i have seen you and others rant and rave about 4 and 5 star players. Crompton was a 5 star and listed as one of the top ten quarterbacks coming out of high school. but i suppose you wanted another peyton manning and there is only one of him.

jimr07 writes:

nafslov--you forgot to mention Heath Shuler. LOL

ManTNVol writes:

Austin Johnson was what?...a 3-star? And he was being penciled in as the #2 MLB, then moves to FB and gets props from coaches after 3 days on Off.. just goes to show what the stars mean, huh? Sounds like this kid is going to be a player.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

If Fulmer makes you guys so unhappy then stop following TN football until he is gone. It shouldn't be that hard. Just don't read the football articles and don't watch the games. It will lower your stress level and possibly add years to your life. That's what a sane, rational person would do.

We will welcome you back in 2012 when Fulmer is gone.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

What would TDTN do?

Or say?

Or react to?

objk1#231846 writes:

Does anyone know if the video from yesterdays scrimmage is out there anywhere?
In todays tech age some tech geek should upload the thing to the web.

TommyJack writes:

TDTN is in KNS hoosegow. Free TD!!

gohawks1 writes:

Is a hoosegow kind of like a pokey? Oh, brother TDTN, where art thou? Bring him back!

TommyJack writes:

IP: Exactly.
KingsportV: I'll pass on the present too.

arkyvol writes:

doesn't bode well. this admittedly mediocre defense is made to look like worldbeaters by the offense.

gohawks1 writes:

Kingsport - remind me to never go to a birthday bash given by TDTN. The party favors would give me nightmares.

Does Dupree play the banjo? I think I saw him in a movie once.

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