A few struggles with some new protection schemes for Tennessee's offensive line, a few new blitzes from Monte Kiffin's defense and a few bad decisions all combined to make Thursday a pretty rough day for the quarterbacks.
"Unfortunately, a really horrendous day by the quarterbacks," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "Four interceptions."
Safety Prentiss Waggner had at least two interceptions. Derrick Furlow grabbed another, and Dennis Rogan snagged one in the early part of UT's 11-on-11 work on Haslam Field.
All three quarterbacks - Jonathan Crompton, Nick Stephens and B.J. Coleman - got into the act, which should make for an interesting scrimmage this morning inside Neyland Stadium.
"We've got to come out tomorrow and take care of the ball," Lane Kiffin said. "A day after no turnovers, really proud of the defense and the way they got after the ball after not getting any turnovers the last time we were out here, really did well today."
The defense, which didn't force a turnover on Tuesday, got started early.
Defensive coaches were throwing barbs at their offensive counterparts during a staff meeting Thursday morning. A few hours later, their players backed it up on the field.
"They kind of came after some of the offensive coaches in the staff meeting and told them how it was going to be today," Lane Kiffin said. "They called it right because they came out and backed it up. They were getting on them in stretching. The defensive coaches came out with a lot of confidence today and the players fed off it."
The mistakes seemed to snowball for the quarterbacks, and one of the low points came when Stephens threw an interception immediately following one on the previous play by Crompton.
"Anytime you make back-to-back mistakes, it's definitely troublesome," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "Nobody likes to compound one mistake with another."
And while the quarterbacks' mistakes were the most visible Thursday, the offensive line struggled at times with some protections against new blitzes from the defense.
"We struggled with protection up front, and it just manifested itself into some decisions in the backfield that weren't very good," said Chaney, who also coaches the offensive line. "Quite honestly we've got to clean up things up front, in my opinion. That's first and foremost. That showed up big-time today."
The Vols worked in shoulder pads and shorts Thursday because of today's scrimmage, and Coleman, for one, thought the Vols lacked intensity as a result.
"We had just helmets, no shoulder pads, no lower half," he said. "I think we got a little bit lackadaisical."
Whatever the cause - and there are plenty of possible culprits - Crompton wants to make sure the quarterbacks rebound quickly.
"It's frustrating, but it's something to learn from," he said. "Nobody's going to be perfect every day. We're going to go back in here and watch this film and learn from it, and try not to make the same mistakes again."
Spring practice, though, is a time for making mistakes without the consequences of wins and losses.
The Vols have had just 11 full practices to run a brand new offense, and days like Thursday come with the territory.
Not that the offensive coaches take much solace, though.
"I'm not happy at all with how the thing went," Chaney said. "But what the hell? You're going to go into the next day and try to get it better. It isn't the end of the world. A lot of the things we were trying to do today was the first time out, so we're going to go in and try to get better at it.
"Rome wasn't built overnight. We're installing a whole new system. We expect some mistakes, and those are tolerable. What upset me today was some effort issues. We'll take care of those."
Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.