KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's offense continues to endure growing pains as it attempts to replace at least six likely NFL draft picks.
Quarterbacks Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman both struggled to move the ball Saturday in the Volunteers' second scrimmage of the spring. New Tennessee coach Butch Jones uses a complex scoring format for each scrimmage in which he awards points to the offense or defense for big plays and accomplishments. Jones' system had the defense winning the scrimmage 86-63.
"Offensively, I'm not pleased at all," Jones said. "I didn't think we were physical at the line of scrimmage. I was disappointed in the way our offensive line came off the football. I'm disappointed with our running backs, and obviously our receivers have a long way to go."
Having the offense far ahead of the defense represents a dramatic change from a year ago.
Tennessee averaged 36.2 points per game last season, but the Vols finished 5-7 because they gave up the most points (35.7) and yards (471.4) per game of any Southeastern Conference team.
But the Vols lost many of the top skill-position performers from last year's offense.
Quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter all decided to enter their draft after their junior seasons. Patterson and Hunter are potential first-round picks, while Bray is expected to get taken in the first four rounds. Tight end Mychal Rivera, wide receiver Zach Rogers and offensive guard Dallas Thomas also are likely to get drafted this month.
"We're going through a process, and I expect the defense to be a little bit ahead of the offense," Jones said. "But the thing that we're not going to sacrifice or compromise is a level of physicality, energy and leadership."
Those elements were missing from the offense Saturday.
"The defense came out and they had a great mindset," Worley said. "They worked hard all week. We came out and in certain situations we were slow to move and things like that. That hurt us."