Kiffin says UT's offense stuck 'in the '60s'

Eight sacks for defense in scrimmage

For much of Tennessee's scrimmage Friday afternoon, Neyland Stadium morphed into something of a time machine.

The Vols' passing game at times looked like a lot like the one fans quickly became upset with last season. First-year coach Lane Kiffin, though, extended the anachronism back nearly a half-century.

"I feel like we're in the '60s right now with our offense," Kiffin said. "We've got to run the ball and throw play-action right now. That's about all we can do. It's pretty scary right now. We've got a lot of work to do."

Most of that work is concentrated around the line of scrimmage, particularly in pass protection.

Tennessee's defensive ends, led again by Chris Walker, ran wild during the first half of UT's 79-play full scrimmage.

All told, the defense recorded eight sacks, six of which came in the first 40 or so plays. Even more troublesome, UT's first-team offensive line - although largely effective in the running game - was still responsible for seven of those sacks.

When a reporter asked about junior Jarrod Shaw running with the first team at right tackle, Kiffin countered with a quick retort.

"Did you notice them running right around him?" Kiffin said.

For the defense, though, it was another day of highlight plays.

Walker, one of the biggest standouts this spring, had three sacks. Defensive tackle Montori Hughes added another, while end Ben Martin recorded defensive line coach Ed Orgeron's favorite play with a sack and forced fumble that the defense recovered.

"Before the scrimmage, Coach O came in the meeting room and told him he wants us to give him everything we've got today," said Walker. "I think that first part of the scrimmage showed that we came out and gave him everything we had, got after the football, got the sacks, got the tackles for loss and everything."

Those big plays mostly came early in the scrimmage, much like last Saturday's scrimmage in which the offense struggled early with ball security.

"We've got to move the ball," said receiver Gerald Jones, who caught three passes for 36 yards. "We can't have five plays and then get out. It was an awful sight to see the first half, but it was all about the protection and doing what we were coached to do."

UT's offense bounced back in the latter stages of the scrimmage, allowing just two sacks and moving the ball much more efficiently.

Jonathan Crompton, who was sacked and stripped of the ball on the first series after a short break, came back with a vengeance.

He completed six of eight passes on his last two drives, including a 15-yarder to Quintin Hancock, a 23-yarder to Jones and a 12-yarder to Austin Rogers.

Despite the fact that Crompton took seven sacks, Kiffin said the fifth-year senior showed poise under pressure. But the Vols are hoping to eliminate the amount of duress he faced Friday.

Tackles and tight ends coach James Cregg said his first impression without watching film was that one-on-one matchups at the line too often went the defense's way.

"What they're doing on defense is as hard as it gets," he said. "I don't really think today was more scheme. I think it was just winning the one-on-one battles."

UT's ends, particularly Martin and Walker, had a lot to do with that. And while they're running wild now, that could help when the games begin this fall.

"You have a weakness, they'll find it and they'll take advantage of it because they're well-coached," Cregg said of UT's ends. "You aren't going to get faster guys than that, I believe, in this conference."

There's plenty of work remaining in two more practices next week and then into offseason workouts and fall camp.

But the Vols don't appear to be facing the kind of gap offensively they did this time a year ago.

"I feel we're way past where we were last year," Jones said. "This time last year, we were still making mistakes all around. The receivers didn't know where to go. The quarterback didn't know where to throw the ball, and the linemen didn't know how to block."

That said, pass protection in particular remains a real concern with the end of spring practice a week away with next Saturday's Orange and White game.

"We've got to get better," Kiffin said. "Our pass protection, we couldn't play in a real game right now. We've got a long ways to go."

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

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Comments » 132

RockyTop writes:

We may be playing a lot of Freshmen this year.

lomas98 writes:

I hope the defense is as good as everyone thinks they are this year. I got a feeling we are going to rely on them a lot this year to score some points.

HartfordCTvol writes:

Finally...some change you can believe in!

ornglovinyankealum writes:

As much as it hurts, I am prepared for a so-so 2009, a much better 2010, but lookout SEC for 2011 and after.

Pullingguard writes:

The offensive line has been a weak link for last 2years.. could not block for running game.. Sorta surprising for this was area where /Fulmer had always concentrated on and took pride in developing good offensive line people, but evidently the cubbard is almost bare of talent...

Mansonlamps writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

rusty_shackleford writes:

If the O line isn't blocking, it really doesn't matter who is pulling the trigger at QB. It all starts (and ends) up front!

scvols writes:

I remember Clawson saying we had a hat on hat when we could not gain a yard or pass block last year. I remember back in the day we had a good O-line year in and year out. I hope they can find some players.

old_number1 writes:

I posted this on another article. This D was #3 in the nation last year! The O will struggle against them. H*ll, so did Fla last year! Our O will be ok. Coleman will be the man.

bigorangesob writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree

jsm67vol writes:

Even if the vols struggle early in the season this year, I'd be willing to bet we can expect more progress through the season with this staff than what we saw last year. IMO that was the hardest part of last season. It seemed that there was no progress at all , well at least until the KY game.

jsm67vol writes:

No offensive progress that is.

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

in response to bigorangesob:

I agree

Coming off of surgery to repair his torn ACL and having only 3 weeks to prepare I dont think he would have made a heck of a lot of difference. But what do I know?

the10sevol writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly, as I've said, this is more like the combine...

cobbwebb writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

The offensive line has been a weak link for last 2years.. could not block for running game.. Sorta surprising for this was area where /Fulmer had always concentrated on and took pride in developing good offensive line people, but evidently the cubbard is almost bare of talent...

aaahhhhh, the good ol' days,bubba miller, antone davis, charles mccrae, cosey coleman, fred weary! how in the world did we go from these studs to the sullins bros. and j. shaw? especially when coach fulmers expertise was o line, and being a top notch recruiter!

tennezz writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Boyd has serious knee injury that requires surgery, He will not play this year!

vol1994 writes:

lets face it guys. This just shows everyone how bad our recruiting has been the past few years.

Kiffin will continue to coach but you have to have talent to win. I think the coaches will have a game plan to allow the qb to manage the game but we will be in trouble if we HAVE TO PASS. I just do not understand why/how Crompton got so bad.

hotrodvol writes:

Bad Qb play, bad O-Line pass blocking, or just great D-Line play? It's also early in the spring, and the defense is always ahead of the offense. Give this offense the summer to work together and they should get somewhat better. Let us hope anyways.

therazbo writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gohawks1 writes:

Hmmmm... eight sacks. Is our defense that good, or is our offense that bad?

Gerald Jones said the linemen didn't know how to block last year. Sounds like that's still the case.

vol_chaz writes:

Tajh Boyd will sit out this year due to a bum knee.. He doesn't fit the system, i don't care how many stars he had...

hotrodvol writes:

in response to old_number1:

I posted this on another article. This D was #3 in the nation last year! The O will struggle against them. H*ll, so did Fla last year! Our O will be ok. Coleman will be the man.

Old-1, that's a good point and I hope Coleman is the trigger man. No way Crompton will be the starter.

volhallathunder writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Boyd's surgery went well. He would have been a non factor this year and apparently didn't suit Kiffin's idea for a starting qb. in other words, stop whining about a qb for Clemson who likely wouldve NEVER started here.

ballewville6 writes:

they will be alot of true freashmen get playing time on offensive side of ball by the time the season starts .i just hope the offenseive line and qb can improve by start of season our defense is going to be great our defenive back will be the best group in country and the front 7 will be very good too,our defensive ends will be the most improved on defenesive from last year they will put up better numbers sacks,tackles for loss and plenty of pressure the debacks were good last year but with the delines improvenent our dbacks are going to be awesome and defense will be dominate this year ,if offense can be descent and have few to we will win alot cause our defense will allow less than 15 points a game and have atleast 3 or 4 shut outs so if we can average 24 points a game we will win 9 or more

volhallathunder writes:

in response to Mansonlamps:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMGDMFAO AT Fulmersexual. Probably similar to the "posersexuals". That being the trolls who psot here cause they cant even get a nibble at truckstop.

GahLee writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who cares about the Florida game at this point....so tired of hearing about it. I'm excited about the Orange and White game and then fall scrimmages to see what these young fellas can do...September the 19th is a long way away.

The 63-6 predictions, UT fans saying we will win...it's all absurd at this point.

iowavol writes:

in response to Mansonlamps:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lossen up the straps there cowboy - you seem to wound a little tight there. All the dude is saying is with this kind of offensive line a mobile quarterback might have been a good thing. Since Boyd has a serious injury and no time to practice, it's irrelevant anyway. Anger management is a good thing.

GahLee writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope your right sir...but at this point is it even relevant? So many other things to look forward to other than one game.

Every article that pertains to football always revert back to who will win on September 19th, it has gotten very old, that's all.

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to Mansonlamps:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Boyd might not been the right fit-he should have sign another QB. As we all know verbals mean nothing-there were other QB's out there. For that matter lineman to. LK did not fill the pressing needs in this incoming class. Go Vols

GahLee writes:

in response to biggestutfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My thoughts exactly...

Vol_FAN_atic writes:

I have to say that I LOVE the fact that the green shirts are gone. If your Offense can get thing going against our high octane Defense then we can go places. Who would you rather practice against, an average "D" or one of the best? The better your competition, the better it makes you!

Addressing the Boyd issue; If he doesnt fit our system he doesnt fit. Considering the fact he couldnt play his first year likely anyway. Why would you bring him in and risk running of better talent at QB for 2010 because theres now more competition at that position?

murrayvol writes:

Wouldn't read too much into how the defense is making the offense look worse than whale dung.

No doubt there's work to do on offense but this D will make a lot of SEC offenses whiz down their legs this fall.

GahLee writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So you consider yourself a "really sweet guy"?

I think that you have Cusack syndrome, a crippling and incurable disease that has some frightening side effects that include; disillusionment, and self-absorbent behavior that may lead to being a GATOR FAN!
LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Wouldn't read too much into how the defense is making the offense look worse than whale dung.

No doubt there's work to do on offense but this D will make a lot of SEC offenses whiz down their legs this fall.

I'm guessing that the geezer Kiffin has got 'em bringing it.

10ECDave writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Forget about Tajh Boyd dude, he didn't fit our system and he had his knee operated on and won't be playing for Clemson, us, or anyone else. He will be holding a clip board and watching the games.

MillisaAnn writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You got that right.

ITA Coach K!

belayvol writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And if we liked sloppy seconds, we would like you too.

belayvol writes:

in response to ohbama:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Au contraire! Your lips on Bear Bryant suck much worse.

philfan writes:

in response to Nivram:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin has to be more than upbeat. He needs to keep his mouth shut and just have a good season this year. Otherwise, he will be the laughing stock of the SEC. Come to think of it, he already is the biggest joke in the nation.

belayvol writes:

in response to philfan:

Kiffin has to be more than upbeat. He needs to keep his mouth shut and just have a good season this year. Otherwise, he will be the laughing stock of the SEC. Come to think of it, he already is the biggest joke in the nation.

Looks like you have the job won hands down. Have a donut and troll the bathtub.

9krpms writes:

WOW, drives me crazy when people completely dog out Crompton... He's not the best qb in the nation, but even Peyton looks like a deer in head lights when there is no protection. If you've ever played qb before then you know how a good rush throws off your reads, timing, and how fast the game is moving around you.

I think we all need to get used to Crompton under center, he'll be our starter this year through thick and thin. Which pitch is easier to a 5 star qb; Our senior starter is graduating and he wasn't that great, so you should definitely come in and be able to secure the starting spot... OR, our starter is returning this coming year and you'll have to compete with them for the starting job next year. At the end of the day, if none of our qb's are studs (and I'm pretty confident that's the case) then Crompton is the start as it makes recruiting the position easier...

belayvol writes:

in response to 9krpms:

WOW, drives me crazy when people completely dog out Crompton... He's not the best qb in the nation, but even Peyton looks like a deer in head lights when there is no protection. If you've ever played qb before then you know how a good rush throws off your reads, timing, and how fast the game is moving around you.

I think we all need to get used to Crompton under center, he'll be our starter this year through thick and thin. Which pitch is easier to a 5 star qb; Our senior starter is graduating and he wasn't that great, so you should definitely come in and be able to secure the starting spot... OR, our starter is returning this coming year and you'll have to compete with them for the starting job next year. At the end of the day, if none of our qb's are studs (and I'm pretty confident that's the case) then Crompton is the start as it makes recruiting the position easier...

That analogy worked well for signing Brown and Oku right? I mean our running backs were terrible last year, right?

9krpms writes:

Also, that's the same reason he didn't go after Boyd. He knew he wasn't the long term answer and would just make it that much more difficult to get someone that fits his system in the next year or so...

Go4Two writes:

in response to biggestutfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Brain damage Fulmer 2000 2nd winninges decade since 1950.

belayvol writes:

For everyone thinking we should play a poor performing player this year just to sign a hot prospect for next year, you are not seeing the method CLK is using. It does not matter if we sign Jesus Christ himself for QB next year with 48 stars and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings each time he takes a snap. Whoever comes on board will have to COMPETE and show his skills to take the field. The best players will play. So all the 2nd and 3rd cousins of whomever need to stop touting (insert name here), and realize it is all about building a competitive team this year. It's called Scrap The $rap and rebuild Vol football again.

9krpms writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL, I never said I wanted that turbo, just said that's how it was going to be... There is a big difference.

the10sevol writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry, you lost me at "puerile", lol, what did you say, again, this time for us old non-english majors? I agree with most of the post, the part that talks about football, not fan nonsense. CLK with a workable QB this year, and the stud hurlers are lining up at the door

9krpms writes:

in response to belayvol:

For everyone thinking we should play a poor performing player this year just to sign a hot prospect for next year, you are not seeing the method CLK is using. It does not matter if we sign Jesus Christ himself for QB next year with 48 stars and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings each time he takes a snap. Whoever comes on board will have to COMPETE and show his skills to take the field. The best players will play. So all the 2nd and 3rd cousins of whomever need to stop touting (insert name here), and realize it is all about building a competitive team this year. It's called Scrap The $rap and rebuild Vol football again.

I agree, I think if a 5 star came in and was not our best, CLK wouldn't play him as that is not his style; however, if he can't differentiate between the 3 qb's he will play Crompton for the reasons I stated above. And! I proclaim, there is no game changing qb on our roster so Crompton will get the start. nuff said.

belayvol writes:

in response to 9krpms:

I agree, I think if a 5 star came in and was not our best, CLK wouldn't play him as that is not his style; however, if he can't differentiate between the 3 qb's he will play Crompton for the reasons I stated above. And! I proclaim, there is no game changing qb on our roster so Crompton will get the start. nuff said.

And nobody will know who the starter is until Fall unless somebody makes a huge stride.

caliGATOR writes:

Gators are the king of the SEC and we will reload.
Tim Tebow
Jeff Demps
Chris Rainey
Andre Debose
Deonte Thompson
Maurkice Pouncey
Mike Pouncey
Carl Johnson
Carlos Dunlap
Jermaine Cunningham
Lawrence Marsh
BRANDON SPIKES: CALLED YOU GUYS QUITTERS
Janoris Jenkins
Major Wright
JOE HADEN: ask crompton about HADEN
AHMAD BLACK
BRANDON JAMES: BRANDON JAMES: BRANDON JAMES:
SEPT 19 in the SWAMP

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