Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin liked what he saw from his Vols during Saturday’s game-like situations at Haslam Field. UT concluded its second week of spring practice, but not before making the first-year coach take notice on occasion.
“I thought Jonathan Crompton played extremely well at quarterback today and (Montario) Hardesty ran the ball well; and Chris Walker is unblockable right now,” Kiffin said. “I’m proud of where we are and we have to get back to work next week.”
Crompton was as crisp passing football as Hardesty was running, and the senior duo has the first-team offense clicking with six workouts in the books.
“The o-line is run-blocking really well,” Kiffin said. “We’ve got to get better pass-blocking - especially on third down - but I think they are blocking extremely well against a very good d-line.
“The first week, the offense ran the ball really well but the defense wasn’t moving around very much. But the defense ran a number of hard looks this week for them, so it was great to see our guys in extremely hard situations.”
Tennessee’s quarterback situation has been a point of emphasis, but so far Crompton’s efforts have been nothing but a positive for Kiffin.
“He’s making really good decisions with the ball, with very few turnovers. He’s getting the ball where it should be and handling the offense. When he’s in there, he seems to have very good control of what’s going on with the offense and I think the guys are responding to him.”
Among those responding well to the new defensive system has been Walker, a junior from Memphis who had 15 tackles last season including four for lost yardage and three sacks. His enthusiasm has sparked the entire team and made for lively days in the football complex, and Saturday was no exception.
“I thought the guys really came out with great juice,” Kiffin said. “We treated it like game day in our meetings and they really responded well for our first shot at a game experience as much as we could make it. I’m really proud of the guys.”
“They really battled all day. At one time, the defense was taking over but they went back and forth all day. I thought it was very competitive and thought they did a good job.
Head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh reports that sophomore offensive tackle William Brimfield is being slowed by a hamstring injury, while junior defensive back Brent Vinson is battling a sore left shoulder.