Gameday recap: Tennessee 15, UCLA 19
Those prized freshman wide receivers Tennessee was counting on this season were almost nowhere to be seen Saturday against UCLA.
If Nu'Keese Richardson played a down on offense, he must have been hiding on the far sideline. Marsalis Teague played a few downs, but not many. Zach Rogers probably had the most snaps, but mostly was used for his blocking.
Oh, yeah. Rogers did catch one pass. It was a 6-yarder early in the second quarter from Jonathan Crompton, but by the time the Vols stumbled to a 19-15 loss to UCLA at Neyland Stadium, Rogers' catch was long forgotten.
Even UT coach Lane Kiffin wasn't quite right about when Rogers made the only freshman catch.
"I think the first catch of the game was Zach Rogers, a freshman," Kiffin said. "But we didn't get it to them (the freshmen) much. We rotated a lot of guys in there, and the balls tended to go to the older guys more.
"Unfortunately, we made some critical drops. We didn't make many drops in the first game. We caught everything."
Teague, slotted as the co-starter with junior Gerald Jones on the depth chart, was expected to be one of Crompton's top targets this season.
Not on Saturday. He didn't get a pass thrown his way. Was he disappointed?
"No, man," he said. "When you have a certain game plan when some things are working, everybody has a role on the team and in different types of situations. This was one of those games we had to keep grinding it out and keep running the ball, so you've got to do your job in the running game as well as the passing game."
Jones, hampered by an ankle injury in the preseason, was a non-factor against UCLA. Jones was the team's leading receiver last season with 30 catches and four touchdowns.
Crompton wasn't sure why Jones didn't get any passes.
"You'll have to talk to coach about that," Crompton said.
Bohannon's Day: Tennessee defensive end/tackle Willie Bohannon can almost hear it in his sleep: "Sack-fumble! Sack-fumble!" It's what Tennessee assistant head coach/defensive line coach Ed Orgeron yells at Bohannon and his cohorts every day in practice.
Late in the first quarter, Bohannon charged around the Bruins' line and pulled the ball loose from quarterback Kevin Prince while making a 7-yard sack. UT's Gerald Williams recovered at the Bruins' 11-yard line.
Montario Hardesty scored from there on the next play, and Daniel Lincoln's PAT kick gave the Vols a 10-3 lead.
"It's just something that we practice every day," Bohannon said. "We practice as individuals for about 30 minutes long. All we do is work on pass rush and then we go to the run, but one thing we always emphasize is sack-fumble, which is getting around the corner, try for the quarterback and at the same time you reach for the ball.
"We practice it so much and drill it so much, it's just a habit to get my hand in there."
Bohannon, a redshirt freshman, is listed as an end, but said he probably played more snaps at tackle Saturday because he's used more in third-down passing situations.
"I played 22 (snaps) in the season opener," Bohannon said. "I probably played more today. I'm not sure. We actually went more third down (Saturday) because we had so many three-and-outs so fast last week."
No Oku: Freshman running back David Oku, slotted at third on the depth chart, didn't get a carry against UCLA. He had eight carries for 42 yards against Western Kentucky.
"I would have thought we would have come out of the game with David Oku touching the ball a couple of times, but unfortunately we didn't," Kiffin said.
Fumbled Snap: Senior center Cody Sullins took the blame for the fumbled snap that was recovered by UCLA in the second quarter. The Bruins' Jerzy Siewierski recovered it at UT'S 35, and seven plays later UCLA scored a touchdown and tied the game at 10-all.
"The call was on two and the defense was showing a blitz look," Sullins said. "I snapped it on the first hut. It was completely my fault.
Brown Down Again: UT senior defensive tackle Wes Brown, who has battled knee injuries throughout his career, was helped off the field with 30 seconds left in the half. Brown's injury appeared to be to his right knee. He didn't return to the game, but limped onto the field to encourage the Vols before the fourth quarter began.
"Wes was going to try to come back in, and just couldn't do it," Kiffin said. "I don't know any more than that (about the injury)."
Pick-off Man: UCLA sophomore free safety Rahim Moore, who had three interceptions in the season opening win over San Diego State, had two more against Crompton. His first interception, with 5:04 left in the half, didn't cost the Vols, who stopped the Bruins on downs.
Moore's second interception and return led to a 39-yard field goal by Kai Forbath and a 13-10 UCLA lead.
Bowl Reps: Representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and the Capital One Bowl were at Saturday's game.