KNOXVILLE - The first bragging rights of Tennessee's spring practice went to the defense.
But there wasn't much winning from any of the Volunteers in the eyes of coach Derek Dooley.
"You always have some early conclusions when you scrimmage, and the first one is we’re really a bad football team," Dooley said after the Vols' first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium.
"I was really disappointed in the first half how the offense came out. It was a total dominating first half by the defense, and it was strictly because of more effort, more toughness, more enthusiasm, more spirit – all the intangibles."
Backup tailback Rajion Neal had the most impressive afternoon according to the stats released by UT's sports information department. Neal ran 14 times for 152 yards and three scores, outproducing starter Tauren Poole (nine carries, 21 yards).
Quarterback Tyler Bray completed 11 of 27 passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Former Calhoun High School star Da'Rick Rogers caught a pair of scores.
Strong safety Brent Brewer had six tackles to lead UT's defense, which registered five sacks and six quarterback hurries. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson had five tackles, including three for loss and a sack. Linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton had two sacks and an interception, and cornerback Anthony Anderson returned an interception 81 yards for a score.
More coverage online and in Sunday's Times Free Press.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...