Brawn vs. Skill: White team wins out, 24-7

Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal (20) celebrates scoring a touchdown for White during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011.  White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal (20) celebrates scoring a touchdown for White during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011. White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

Derek Dooley talks after the Orange and White game

Mike Strange recaps time as celebrity head coach

Derek Dooley didn’t hand out grades, but he still was able to turn Neyland Stadium into a classroom.

If Tennessee thinks it is just going to trot out a fine collection of offensive skill players and win football games with finesse, the coach picked up some strong evidence to the contrary on an afternoon that otherwise wouldn’t have meant much.

In a split-squad exhibition, one side — the Orange team — trotted out the starting quarterback and running back, the top returning receiver and three first-team linemen, and got pushed around in a 24-7 loss in the Orange and White Game on Saturday, strengthening Dooley’s case about the importance of physical football.

“It was a great example that it doesn’t matter what kind of game it is, spring game, SEC game, you name it — the team that can win at the line of scrimmage and run the football has the best chance of winning,” Dooley said. “Today was evidence of that. It doesn’t matter how many fancy guys you’ve got at the skill positions, you better be a physical football team.

“The White came in a heavy underdog, Orange was confident and talking smack, had all the skill — and the White went blue-collar on them and punched them right in the mouth. It was fun to watch.”

On the flip side, the Orange team often made it look painful to move the ball as quarterback Tyler Bray struggled from start to finish during a dreadful 5-for-30 outing through the air.

The sophomore didn’t throw an interception, led all passers with 122 yards and added a 54-yard touchdown to wide-open tight end Mychal Rivera to make the game competitive in the third quarter. But with Bray’s accuracy consistently lacking, his decision-making questionable as he forced at least one pass into quadruple-coverage and his frustration evident as the game wore on, the Orange offense struggled to find a way downfield.

And with the White pounding away with 22 carries for 113 yards between Rajion Neal and Toney Williams, the contrast in styles was clear.

“You know what I said Thursday — if Tyler would have gone 27-of-30 for 300 (yards) I would have said, ‘Yeah, we’re doing good,’ ” Dooley said. “If he would have gone 5-for-30, which is what he did, ‘It’s just the spring game, it doesn’t matter.’

“There were a lot of reasons he wasn’t on, and it starts with him. I think he went in a little bit confident, feeling good about the matchups, and when you’re not on edge, you’re never going to perform. There were some serious mismatches in protection that I think affected him early, and then once it gets going bad early you’ve got to get that run-game settled in.”

The Orange had that option at times with Tauren Poole running hard and showing off a couple of impressive moves on the way to 60 yards on nine carries, but it was mostly out-manned up front and struggled to control the line of scrimmage.

The White had no such issues offensively, with Neal putting his ability to accelerate on display and Williams coming out of nowhere to grind his way to more than five yards per carry.

And when needed, backup quarterback Matt Simms was able to balance the attack by completing six of 13 attempts for 93 yards, including a 43-yarder for a score to Neal. But just like last year’s unbalanced Orange and White statistics that favored Bray when Simms was considered the starter, the Vols again don’t appear to be putting too much stock in one day — good or bad.

“Of course there’s going to be a little frustration when things aren’t going your way, but we just tried to battle the whole time,” Rivera said. “Kind of in the back of our head we knew it would be hard with everybody separated, but we still tried to compete as hard as we could.

“I know Tyler Bray is a great quarterback, and you guys will see that in the first game. It doesn’t change anything for us.”

Dooley had stressed going into it that the exhibition wasn’t going to send the Vols scrambling to rearrange the roster no matter what happened. But it appears to have given the players on it a reminder of how he’d like them to play.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 47

nfdeng13 writes:

I was there. It was COLD and WINDY! That being said, Bray looked bad. Worley looked much more accurate today. Simms was throwing high and Palardy hooked everything. Including a missed short field goal attempt. We have a lot of work to do....GBO

tree_em_smokey writes:

At least Tennessee won!

dvols writes:

70,000 at the A game........

tn 4th in the east

TennVol01 writes:

In plain English .... did second string whoop up on the first string?

77VolFS writes:

I froze my tail off - everyone got up at the half I thought to go get something warm to drink. Half of them never came back.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Sounds like we have a lot of work to do, and I am confident that all or most of the issues will be worked out before opening day.

I was surprised that the white won because I thought for sure that the orange would win, but you never know.

This was the worst weather ever for the Orange and White game..COLD AND WINDY!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

As expected, the talk will be about doom and gloom over a spring game. Other schools have had less than great games and it's just not unexpected to see a disjointed at times game with the way it's set up.

Some unhearalded guys step up, other more accomplished ones have an off day etc. And true to form, trolls think who has the most fans in a game of this type is going to mean a national championship for somebody.

What to me at least means the most is when everyone gets healthy, wears the same color shirt, plays together on the same page and gets serious in the fall about football.

Oh and by the way, a big thanks to the Vol fan who directed us to the dish network so we could see the game, those who didn't get there to personally see it. It'll be okay Vols............don't over react to this game, one way or the other.

VOLtage writes:

The good news is the Vols won 24-7. The bad news is the Vols lost 7-24.

vol88 writes:

in response to dvols:

70,000 at the A game........

tn 4th in the east

And they are all third cousins. Ouch. Sorry couldn't resist. GBO!

proud2btnvol (Inactive) writes:

Hunter won't take a hit and we still can't count on a field goal.

toldyouthatspsuckedfor3years writes:

Who was the other field goal kicker. He looked alot better than Palardy.

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Jealousy will get you nowhere. 92,300 at game because they love football. But go ahead with cheap jokes. You just make a fool of yourself.

Atuss writes:

How do you go 5 of 30 in the air? I believe Bray has all the tools to be one of the best in the league, but I honestly do not think I have ever seen that few of completions in that many attempts.

givehim6 writes:

Well many of the starters know what to work on over the summer. Was proud to see Tomy Willams get his stride back.

taylorsvolfan writes:

I thought Tyler looked bad and Poole did not run well until the second half. Sims and Worley both played well and Neal ran well the whole game. It is obvious a lot of work needs to be done over the summer and in the fall before the first snap. Go Vols !!

MothershipChip writes:

Did Goins play?

RashaadSalabeb writes:

There's nothing wrong with competition amongst teamates. Battle it out fellows....you're all UT Vols!

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

At least Tennessee won!

FUNNY

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to proud2btnvol:

Hunter won't take a hit and we still can't count on a field goal.

you are right about kicking.it's been bad for sometime now.

CarbonCopy (Inactive) writes:

If the favored side (orange) killed the second string ( white) half you guys would be crying about a lack of depth.
I think this means we are finally getting some quality backups and all in all that's a great positive for the long run.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

Matt Simms for HEISMAN???

Govolsinmemphica writes:

in response to Atuss:

How do you go 5 of 30 in the air? I believe Bray has all the tools to be one of the best in the league, but I honestly do not think I have ever seen that few of completions in that many attempts.

Well Eric Ainge was on the sidelines......

elbtenn#502977 writes:

Well, I live in Alabubba and went to Tuscalooser to watch the BaseVols sweep the Bammers. Go Vols!

RichmondKyVol writes:

I'm sure the General is smiling tonight, wherever he is. The team with the best linemen and best defense usually wins. Forget the fancy and fleet of foot, as well as the long spiral passes. None of that matters unless you first win the battle in the trenches.

VolnTex writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Several people died in tornadoes in AL this week. I don't think making a joke out of is funny at all. Maybe that many showed up because they have a great team and devoted fans.

VolnTex writes:

in response to PrideOfTheSouthlandBanned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Alabubba" & "Crimson Turd". Really, you sound like a 3rd grader. Can we please drop the stupid name calling? It only makes Vol fans sound like immature idiots.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

5 of 30? Sounds like Matt Simms in the UAB game.

elbtenn#502977 writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Jealousy will get you nowhere. 92,300 at game because they love football. But go ahead with cheap jokes. You just make a fool of yourself.

Couldn't u pack it out---no admission fee; just walk right in. I live about 50 mi from Tuscalooser and went down to see the BaseVols wih both games today---even stopped by Bryant Denny Chizik stadium. I counted maybe 85 thou.

Southland writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Jealousy will get you nowhere. 92,300 at game because they love football. But go ahead with cheap jokes. You just make a fool of yourself.

I despise bama because they are a great team so a bit jealous No sense in the tastless joke. It made no sense and no truth to it. Bama fans are super excited and UT fans will be again Bama was down for a while and are back. We are down and coming back Looking forward to some good football not classless comments from either side. I hate it when people make jokes about Southern people no matter which state they are about

traderjoe writes:

5 for 30??? Who was that other quarterback who peaked in his freshman year? You know, the one in rehab? Didn't he peak in his freshman year? I hope we don't have another one. 5 for 30? How long has he been playing ball? Has the coaching ruined him? 5 for 30? It's pitch and catch isn't it? I thoght he was getting better; being given more of the playbook? 5 for 30? Come on....

Southland writes:

no one should be boasting about our baseball team even if they beat bama today the program is an embarrassment and one weekend didnt change that Raleigh should be fired before the season ends

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

in response to VolnTex:

"Alabubba" & "Crimson Turd". Really, you sound like a 3rd grader. Can we please drop the stupid name calling? It only makes Vol fans sound like immature idiots.

As to the tornado comment, I agree-tasteless. But Crimson Turd-that's funny and just a little junk talking amongst rivalries. Besides I don't recall Pride going on the Sabanite Site and talking junk-just responding to one of them on our site. GO VOLS!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to PrideOfTheSouthlandBanned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMAO, kinda what I was thinking myself.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Personally, I would like to see them line up the #1 offense and go. Even if it was against the #2 defense. I think the fans deserve it, and I think the players deserve it after a hard camp. This is the 2nd O/W game under Dooley where I was not very impressed. I think the players get thrown off when they mix the roster up. Some can say it doesn't matter. I watched Arkansas and they were clicking. Perhaps if we would have had our starting units playing together we would have looked decent. Maybe not. But we will never know because they throw them all in a pot, mix it up, and send them out there. So as of now IMO we are coming out of this O/W game looking about like we did last yr. Don't get me wrong, i actually think we have more talent overall this yr. But boy we are GREEN! We have young talent and it stood out today.

OH YEAH.... I would like to thank Mike Hamilton. I think charging your fans (even though it was just $5) to sit in SUB 50 degree 15-20 mph Tennessee River wind gusts was pretty low as well. Yeah, the $10 to get in and $14 for 2 drinks and a pretzel, WTF?!? And I just drove from cross town. Many people came from far away to support Hamilton and his pathetic cause. It wouldn't hurt me if Hamilton was fired this second.

Mtnbiker writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Personally, I would like to see them line up the #1 offense and go. Even if it was against the #2 defense. I think the fans deserve it, and I think the players deserve it after a hard camp. This is the 2nd O/W game under Dooley where I was not very impressed. I think the players get thrown off when they mix the roster up. Some can say it doesn't matter. I watched Arkansas and they were clicking. Perhaps if we would have had our starting units playing together we would have looked decent. Maybe not. But we will never know because they throw them all in a pot, mix it up, and send them out there. So as of now IMO we are coming out of this O/W game looking about like we did last yr. Don't get me wrong, i actually think we have more talent overall this yr. But boy we are GREEN! We have young talent and it stood out today.

OH YEAH.... I would like to thank Mike Hamilton. I think charging your fans (even though it was just $5) to sit in SUB 50 degree 15-20 mph Tennessee River wind gusts was pretty low as well. Yeah, the $10 to get in and $14 for 2 drinks and a pretzel, WTF?!? And I just drove from cross town. Many people came from far away to support Hamilton and his pathetic cause. It wouldn't hurt me if Hamilton was fired this second.

1st team O vs 2nd team D? While it may "look" better, what do you gain from One intra-squad game?
A little continuity? Maybe, but going against your 2nd teram D isn't going to help you improve, their 2nd team for a reason you know. Want to be the best you have to go against the best day after day. Pro's practice against others that push them to be better.

The way Dooley runs the O & W game is just fine by me. The players enjoy it and is a great way to finish up spring practice. Team building is also a plus.

Only thing I hated was the WIND, kind of makes me wonder if Bray is going to be a fair weather QB...something to think about. 5-30 is bad, but it WAS very windy and his targets didn't catch some passes that should have been caught.

Hunter is going to be ate alive on the middle this year....hope we find someone unafraid to take those hits.

stevefrommemphis writes:

Fire Mickey Dearstone. Bring back Adams!!!

VOL1972 writes:

I'm not sure how you grade a QB when the receivers can't catch. Justin Hunter had 16 passes thrown his way. He caught one. The other 15 weren't all drops, but most of them were. Bray didn't look good, but I would be more concerned about my receivers' performance (or lack thereof). Even the DB's couldn't catch the ball. There were zero interceptions -- out of 65 passes thrown.

We better have a good ground game.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

in response to Govolsinmemphica:

Matt Simms for HEISMAN???

you gotta be kiddin me,sims wouldnt make a pimple on a heisman QB's rearend,but now he is the best clipboard holder ive ev er seen

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

in response to RichmondKyVol:

I'm sure the General is smiling tonight, wherever he is. The team with the best linemen and best defense usually wins. Forget the fancy and fleet of foot, as well as the long spiral passes. None of that matters unless you first win the battle in the trenches.

The General may be smiling about the line play, but he is scratchin' his head over the kicking game.

HtownVol writes:

Here we go again. Some Bama kid gets on a UT site and so many UT fans sep down to the "trolls" level and flood this board with immature comments.

There was a pretty big "game" yesterday. Lets stick to comments about the practice or game or whatever you call it.

I dont understand how Bray struggled so badly. He should be one of the top QBs in the SEC for the next 3 seasons but he comes out and takes two steps backward. I know the O-W game means nothing, or some will say that. We all know that it will have a effect on Tyler (for a short time). With the worst numbers that Bray could have imagined it will shake his confidence.

I did not watch the game so all I can comment on it the stats I see and from what I see there is nothing to be impressed about.

Lets think about the players on this team. I know the defense is not where it needs to be but I see absolutly no reason that the UT offense is not at worst in the top 5 in the SEC. Would anyone disagree?

UT has 2 very good QBs (Bray and soon Worley), a great RB group, a very, very good WR group (not much experience but a lot of FR WRs put up great numbers so the 2 top WRs being So's have not much excuse), the UT O-Line is loaded with 4 star recruits and at least 3 of them were High School All-Americans (US Army AA game) And the TE position is the weakest on the Offense but we are not horrible with a couple of top 30 TE recuits in their class.

Do we agree that there is zero reason that the UT Offense will struggle as they did last year? I am not saying we will have Arkansas numbers but I will be disappointed if UT finishes in the bottom half in the SEC in total Offense.

GO VOLS!

jcp201 writes:

I love my VOls but it was a boring game. I found more interest in watching the Napkins blow up in the air above the stadium.

CCLC writes:

...it's just a spring game. Sometimes a qb has an off day ...even the better ones.
just sayin'

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to CCLC:

...it's just a spring game. Sometimes a qb has an off day ...even the better ones.
just sayin'

CC,

Exactly. Many passes were tipped, some dropped, wrong routes run, oft times not a lot of blocking..............not a big deal at this point.

How is Sturdivant?

abnermc writes:

in response to dvols:

70,000 at the A game........

tn 4th in the east

And Al. 4th in the west just like last year?

EMBuckles writes:

Speaking of the General, I have wondered why Tennessee hasn't scheduled Army (US Military Academy) on a more frequent basis. Tennessee used to play them and, although I respect and admire the Cadets and their service to our nation, in recent years a game against Army has been an almost guaranteed win for most teams they play.

tnbigg writes:

Dang

VolGrad writes:

in response to TennVol01:

In plain English .... did second string whoop up on the first string?

No.

Blue collar guys beat up on the white collar guys.

As Dooley related afterwards (paraphrased), football is won in the trenches and by running the football. The Orange team was heavily favored by most everyone because of all the big names at the skill positions. The White team had the advantage in the trenches and "went all blue collar" on the Orange team.

GBO!

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