First Vols' situational football scrimmage has some real drama at the end

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee football coach Butch Jones talks with offensive linemen during Saturday’s practice and first scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee football coach Butch Jones talks with offensive linemen during Saturday’s practice and first scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Tennessee football scrimmage on March 16, 2013

The score was so close on Saturday that instant replay might have been helpful in determining the winner.

With the “game” on the line on the final play, Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley found tight end Brendan Downs in the corner of the end zone for an apparent game-winning touchdown for the orange-clad offense. But the elation turned to disappointment when coaches and officials determined that Worley — wearing a non-contact jersey — had in fact been “sacked” before releasing the ball.

The white-jerseyed defense was instead declared the winner, by a final score of 90-89. Or something like that.

“There’s a method to the madness,” said first-year coach Butch Jones with a smile when told by a reporter afterwards that it was impossible to keep up with the scoring system.

The first real football won’t come for another five and a half months, but Saturday’s scrimmage at Neyland Stadium — the first of the Jones era — certainly felt real enough.

There were real hits, a few scuffles and a down-to-the-wire finish — whether manufactured or authentic — that had players fighting for victory.

And all of this came on March 16, only the fourth spring practice of the season.

“I think you have to find out about individuals when their blood pressure goes up and how they perform when there’s something on the line,” Jones said.

The scrimmage was situational, meaning the ball was placed on a certain yard line with a certain scenario for each unit to respond to. But the tackling was live (except for the quarterbacks) and the intensity was fearsome for this early in spring ball.

Jones also estimated there were more than 500 people in attendance between media, visiting recruits and family members of current players on hand for Family Day.

“I would say that it gives us an audience,” said offensive tackle Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, who has been limited this spring after offseason surgery. “Especially with you guys (the media) being here and seeing what all we do. Some guys get stage fright, especially the young guys, so it’s good to be able to get out.”

Some of those young guys acquitted themselves well, including receiver Cody Blanc who caught several nice passes in both the scrimmage and drill format. Quarterback Nathan Peterman threw an interception, but also directed some quick scoring drives. Worley, his rival for the starting job, also appeared to have a good day.

“You definitely have to be on your ‘A’ game day in and day out, especially with Nathan,” Worley said. “Both of us are trying our hardest and giving it all we have to win this spot so we have to come out and show it.”

On defense, Riyahd Jones, in his first year on the team via junior college, worked largely with the first team and continued what appears to be a solid spring camp. He scooped up a fumble and scored a touchdown when Peterman and running back Alden Hill botched a handoff. Reserve defensive back Geraldo Orta had the game’s lone interception.

The tempo of practice — and the tempo of Jones’ offense — remained at supersonic speed. Jones even threw a wrinkle into practice when he grabbed the mic and declared a “sudden change,” throwing out the practice script and abruptly jumping to a later portion of the scrimmage.

“If you’re not in shape, it would be a challenge,” sophomore Alton “Pig” Howard said of the fast pace. “But it’s just about being in shape, knowing your assignment and just executing the plays.”

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 34

GoVols_16 writes:

I know this is SUPER early, but I think the Vols have finally found a COACH!!

Can't wait 'til Fall, Y'all!!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

change in the air def feels good

ACWLY writes:

in response to GoVols_16:

I know this is SUPER early, but I think the Vols have finally found a COACH!!

Can't wait 'til Fall, Y'all!!!

I have the same GOOD feeling about our new "bring it on" coach and assistants, sounds like the Players do to! VFL

VolinCalif writes:

I'm as optimistic as any Vol fan alive. again 8-4 will be our run. But less we not forget that being able to fire up the players in routines isn't coaching a game. This staff has a little experience at game time. But all in all maybe I should revise that 8-4 call. Say about 8-4 plus a bowl

The_Power_T writes:

I love every bit of it and I can't wait for the future with this guy! It's gonna be a sweet rise to the top. Go Vols!

That_One_Fellar writes:

Butch Jones is one of those coaches you build statues of...

atnvol#283282 writes:

Yes, it is wayyyyy to early to even be talking about statues.....but I do think we are definitely headed in the right direction....and recruiting also is a witness to this.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

Yes, it is wayyyyy to early to even be talking about statues.....but I do think we are definitely headed in the right direction....and recruiting also is a witness to this.

Your first statement is oh so true. Everything else, well, the Vol nation is living that everyday until game day. We'll see.
Go VOLS.

SouthPaVol writes:

Notwithstanding the northern accent, I am so glad CBJ don't sound like a lawyer when he talks. The last three years of the former dude's "talking down to people" lawyer-speak got a little old.

CBJ gets it. From communication with the media, welcoming former players, addressing key contributors, and chatting with fans: seems like this entire coaching staff gets it. Looking for wins 'cause I'd like to see these guys hang around Knoxville a while. Go Vols!

NoogaVol55 writes:

in response to That_One_Fellar:

Butch Jones is one of those coaches you build statues of...

wow.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I said it before..CBJ has an intoxicating energy that is spreading through the fb program and affecting everyone that is exposed to it. You can't help but be impressed with his ability to motivate, coach, and recruit. All of these things will equal success, sooner than later..GBO!!

EDDIE_2 writes:

Man,I am liking this.But a no nonsense coach is what is needed.I hope by season start,we can turn into more victories.Maybe 8-4.

k.hardeman1#1413041 writes:

butch jones reminds me of another coach tennessee used to have...... the one leading the baller vols!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

How many days?

Navaloranges writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

How many days?

Toooooo many!

6972 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I said it before..CBJ has an intoxicating energy that is spreading through the fb program and affecting everyone that is exposed to it. You can't help but be impressed with his ability to motivate, coach, and recruit. All of these things will equal success, sooner than later..GBO!!

You are impressed. I am impressed. But alas, my friend, I am afraid the twin goobers are not impressed. Still laugh about the twin goobers thingy. Classic!

That_One_Fellar writes:

in response to NoogaVol55:

wow.

Bold statement on my part huh?? Just remember... You heard it here first

kevin151 writes:

90-89? Sounds about right for this defense...

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I said it before..CBJ has an intoxicating energy that is spreading through the fb program and affecting everyone that is exposed to it. You can't help but be impressed with his ability to motivate, coach, and recruit. All of these things will equal success, sooner than later..GBO!!

What you mean is that he has accelerated the speed at which bamboo grows to the hypersonic range.

Walt

UT '81

UTvols33 writes:

Different and exciting. GO VOLS! BEAT FLORIDA!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to kevin151:

90-89? Sounds about right for this defense...

Good one. It is hard to think of the defense winning when the final score was 90-89. Hopefully the defense won't let an offense score 89 points when they're scoring the traditional way.

tmcretired writes:

Well I hope that we have a great season !! Coach is starting good I like what I read.There are to things for sure he is an improvement over Dooley and I think the Vol nation is behind him.Now all he has to do is show us a winning season go coach Jones Go Vols

calvol writes:

in response to That_One_Fellar:

Butch Jones is one of those coaches you build statues of...

premature exaltation

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Good one. It is hard to think of the defense winning when the final score was 90-89. Hopefully the defense won't let an offense score 89 points when they're scoring the traditional way.

I;m almost certain that every play/drill is scored a win/loss and that explains the huge amounts of scoring.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

What you mean is that he has accelerated the speed at which bamboo grows to the hypersonic range.

Walt

UT '81

That's clever, but when are you going to let this fascination with Dooley go??

SummerfieldVol writes:

Sounds like the ol termology of summer football camp. Time to find out who can get the job done. Who is going to suck it up and put his all into football practice.

smokeygrowl writes:

I just hope Jones is not a rah rah guy in way over his head. Love the energy but I'm taking a wait and see approach. I think hes gonna be good but I'm scared. We as a fan base have been burned more than Sunseri's defense. what a terrible notion that Jones may just be a cheerleader saying all the right things who can't get it done on Saturdays. I think he will get it done just scared boys.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to smokeygrowl:

I just hope Jones is not a rah rah guy in way over his head. Love the energy but I'm taking a wait and see approach. I think hes gonna be good but I'm scared. We as a fan base have been burned more than Sunseri's defense. what a terrible notion that Jones may just be a cheerleader saying all the right things who can't get it done on Saturdays. I think he will get it done just scared boys.

Well, 5 recruits committed in one week should give you an inkling that CBJ knows what he's doing..However, if you're not convinced he can coach, take a look at his record in the MAC and compare it with Urbie and Nick when they coached in that league..

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

I agree that ut4life05's prediction is bold and/or premature, but here is what I would definitely agree with;

I WANT to erect a statue of Butch Jones in front of Neyland in about 25 years. He IS the kind of coach I would want to have success here, he has all the characteristics of a coach we can be proud of. So if he stays here for 25 years, that means UT will be in good hands.

And at that point, I sure as heck would like a statue of him in front of the stadium.

smokeygrowl writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Well, 5 recruits committed in one week should give you an inkling that CBJ knows what he's doing..However, if you're not convinced he can coach, take a look at his record in the MAC and compare it with Urbie and Nick when they coached in that league..

I feel good about him. Hope your right. Its just this is The SEC not the MAC Your right he is recruiting like a man on a mission. Lets hold Strong as VFLs

VolzsFan writes:

The NCAA Tournament TV deal is $775 million per year.

The BCS games TV deal is $125 million per year. Expected to grow to $250 million on the playoff.

The gate for the Final Four Championship game is about 75K.

The gate for the BCS championship game is about 72K.

The TV audience for the Final game for the Final Four is about 50 million.

The TV audience for the BCS football championship game is about 22 million.

However, the folks in the Southeast and just the Southeast, are the only region that is not sophisticated enough to know this.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to smokeygrowl:

I feel good about him. Hope your right. Its just this is The SEC not the MAC Your right he is recruiting like a man on a mission. Lets hold Strong as VFLs

VFL holding strong as ever..GBO!

pcorange writes:

in response to That_One_Fellar:

Butch Jones is one of those coaches you build statues of...

We might need to see five years from now if that's the case, but you may very well be right. I certainly hope so, because I think he sees UT as a destination job, which is something many coaches that we could have hired did not. Gruden, had he come, would have always been in danger of being snatched up by an NFL team. Jones seems to be right where he wants to be, having turned down other jobs just hoping he would get a call from UT. I think we are lucky to have gotten him, and I hope the very best for him going forward.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

The NCAA Tournament TV deal is $775 million per year.

The BCS games TV deal is $125 million per year. Expected to grow to $250 million on the playoff.

The gate for the Final Four Championship game is about 75K.

The gate for the BCS championship game is about 72K.

The TV audience for the Final game for the Final Four is about 50 million.

The TV audience for the BCS football championship game is about 22 million.

However, the folks in the Southeast and just the Southeast, are the only region that is not sophisticated enough to know this.

Ok, that's a bunch of hooey.

NCAA tournament is 67 games and about 140 hours of TV for 5.3 million per hour. BCS is 5 games for about 20 hours or 6.25 million per hour.

Considering the basketball and football title games are held in different venues each year, saying one gets more attendance than the other is ridiculous. Both sell out, the issue is merely capacity.

Championship game ratings are about 18 million at their BEST. More watch the football title game. I looked it up.

Oh, and you also forgot one little thing. Football games bring in 4-5 million in gate proceeds per home game, and another 30 million per your in TV. Basketball brings in a tiny fraction of that. Kentucky is the only SEC team that brings in as much basketball revenue as football, and that's because their football STINKS.

Oh, and one last thing. Basketball tourney revenue is spread equally between the 300 or so Division 1 teams. Football is spread only among the 120 Div 1-A teams, and that, unequally.

You need to review your sources, I think.

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