Eric Gordon wasn't hiding his displeasure following Tennessee's first preseason scrimmage Tuesday inside Neyland Stadium.
"I feel like the defense had a couple good moments," said the Vols' redshirt freshman cornerback, "but overall as a whole it wasn't a good day."
The offense earned the first set of team bragging rights with its performance Tuesday, leaving neither Gordon nor UT coach Derek Dooley all too pleased.
Tauren Poole's 49-yard scamper on the first play set the tone.
"It was a typical first scrimmage," Dooley said. "I think if there's a lesson coming out of this, it's that if you're not mentally ready to play, you're going to get your tail whipped.
"The defense wasn't (ready). It showed the first play of the game."
Gordon said the mistakes the defense made only serve as further motivation.
"We're going to hit the film room, hit the weight room, practice field - we ain't going to stop until we're great," he said.
Gordon hasn't officially played a down as a Vol after a redshirt last season, but Art Evans' shoulder injury and Dennis Rogan's early departure thrust Gordon into a starter's role during spring practice.
He hasn't slowed down since.
"Eric Gordon's had a great camp," Dooley said. "(He's) one of the guys we've needed to have a good camp. He's probably had more pass break-ups than anybody in the (secondary). He's got a lot of things to work on, but he's competing."
A former two-way star at Nashville Hillsboro High School, Gordon found himself in an unfamiliar place last season - not on the field.
"Not playing last year," he said, "it was very difficult for me, not starting, not playing. Words can't describe how I felt. I talked to my family, teammates, guys like (former Vol) Inky Johnson telling me just keep my head up and stick in there."
But it only made the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Gordon work harder to put himself in the position he's in now.
"I'm glad I redshirted. I was able to learn and understand more of the game, so I feel like I've grown from that and now I'm a better player," Gordon said.
Gordon's demonstrated that improvement on the practice field, where's he stood out as one of the Vols' most physical defenders.
"It's starting to get a little slower to me, but you can't be satisfied as a corner," Gordon said. "You've got to go out every day like you ain't gained nothing.
"I'm very eager. I'm just ready to have a big year."
More Scrimmage Chatter: Defense wasn't the only part of Tuesday's scrimmage that disappointed Dooley.
"I was disappointed in the intangibles we played with - the effort, the toughness, the discipline, the competitive spirit," he said. "We've got to get that part right (first)."
Dooley kept the scrimmage basic for evaluation purposes.
"Let's get out there and play. We need it, we got a lot of pups."
Status Update: Safety Janzen Jackson (hamstring) didn't scrimmage, though Dooley expects him back Thursday.
Linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton (muscle strain) and fullback Kevin Cooper (headache, precaution) also sat out Tuesday's scrimmage.
Evans was slightly limited after twisting an ankle.
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.