NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tigers defense walked away with bragging rights after the first scrimmage in 2015. The offense was able to put together a couple of lengthy drives, but their counterparts would hold them to two field goals on the day.
The two hour Saturday morning session displayed depth in the running game, as well as on the defensive side of the ball. The 85-play scrimmage also featured the battle at quarterback between junior Ronald Butler and redshirt-freshman O’Shay Ackerman-Carter.
Sophomore Latrelle Lee struck first for the defense with a sack of Ackerman-Carter on the first series. The quarterback would answer on the next play as he hit Rodney Morris for 13 yards and a first down, the first of the day. The drive would stall, bringing on the second team.
The Butler ran squad dealt with mishaps, like the first group, but the third-year notched his initial first down on a 10-yard completion to Isaiah Jeffries-Freeman. Yet again, the defense would step up and put another stop to a drive as defensive end Marvin Maddox batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
With the second unit starting the second sets of series, the defense continued its stellar play as freshman Trevion Duncan would energize the defense with a big hit on running back Erick Evans. Butler would follow with a 20-yard run on a keeper, moving the offense across midfield.
Penalties and a fumble would set up a third and 32, but a late hit by the defense allowed the offense a fresh set of downs. The second squad would move down to the 15 on a defensive personal foul and a 10-yard run by Butler. The junior signal-caller chose his own number two plays later and broke free for a 15-yard touchdown, but a holding penalty negated the score, making the squad settle for a Lane Clark 34-yard field goal.
The first unit returned to the field with Telvin Hooks picking up a first down on two carries for 13 yards. Later in the drive, Ackerman-Carter ran for 26 yards to the 29 after escaping the rush.
The story of the day continued to be costly penalties as a holding call erased a 28-yard pass from Ackerman-Carter to Morris, which would have led to a first and goal from the one. The defense took advantage of the miscue and produced another stop as defensive tackle Dinsdale Jackson knocked down a pass attempt.
Butler guided the second unit down the field, picking up three first downs. The junior earned the first on the ground with a 16-yard run and connected with Jeffries-Freeman and Quindell Cousins through the air for the next two. The drive ended as Clark’s 48-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
On the day, Butler completed eight passes on 16 attempts for 72 yards, while Ackerman-Carter finished 7-for-12 and 67 yards.
The Tigers ran for just under 200 yards, led by Marcus Deanes who gained 78 yards on seven carries. The red-shirt freshman registered the longest run of the day with a 45 yard jaunt.
Arkeem Granger finished the scrimmage with 35 yards on five carries, Hooks carried nine times for 20 yards; Tom Smith ran for 10 yards on four attempts and Erick Evans 10 yards on two rushes.
The Tigers returned to the practice field Saturday evening with a concentration on special teams. The Big Blue will enjoy a day off on Sunday and return to the field on Monday at 9:15 a.m.
Senior, Offensive Lineman James Lewis -
“Overall we did a lot of good things, but there is still things we need to improve. I thought we started out slow on offense, but we started to pick it up at the end, started to make some big plays, especially in the run game. All in all, we did a lot of good things, but we can always get better at our craft. Overall it was a decent practice.”
Junior, Linebacker Vantavious Williams -
“I circled everybody and told them we are the rock of this team. I felt like we came out today and we dominated. We are only get better day-by-day. We have two more weeks until the first game and we are going to take advantage of that.”
Scrimmage Photo Gallary
Sunday, Aug. 16 - OFF
Monday, Aug. 17 - 9:15-11:30 a.m. (Full)
Tuesday, Aug. 18 - 7:30-9:30 a.m. (Full), 5:15-7:15 p.m. (Shells)
Wednesday, Aug. 19 - 9:15-11:30 a.m. (Full)
Thursday, Aug. 20 - 7:30-9:30 a.m. (Full)
Friday, Aug. 21 - 9:15-11:30 a.m. (Helmets)
Saturday, Aug. 22 - 7:30-9:30 a.m. (Shells), 5:15-7:15 p.m. (*Scrimmage*)
Sunday, Aug. 23 - 2:00 p.m. (Helmets)