Linebacker Jerod Mayo had seven tackles, three sacks and a tackle for a loss and defensive end Jason Hall had four tackles and two and a half sacks to pace a strong showing by the Tennessee defense in Tuesday night's scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.
"To even have a chance to win a championship, you've got to be darn good on defense," coach Phil Fulmer said. "I think we're headed in that direction.
"With our speed and our depth, I'm really pleased right now. If we can carry the kind of attitude we have so far into the season and play that way, we'll find a way to get enough points to help us win."
Fulmer said he thinks there are big plays to be had by his offensive unit, although those big plays have been at a premium over the last two scrimmage sessions.
"I thought we were much more sharp and consistent running the football, even though you couldn't always tell with the tackling," Fulmer said in reference to the no full-contact rules in place for the defense Tuesday night.
"We got what we intended to get out of the scrimmage and that was to extend them some with different situations, make it like a ballgame. We wanted to have kicking situations, substitutions, the 25-second clock -- and with all those things I was really, really happy."
Offensively, it is hard to judge how ball carriers do without much contact allowed. Gerald Riggs Jr. saw extensive action for the first time with 16 carries added 36 yards on 16 tries. Arian Foster tallied 53 yards rushing on 10 attempts with a touchdown.
Erik Ainge completed 9-of-19 passes for 132 yards and was intercepted by Roshaun Fellows. Rick Clausen was sharper, making good on 14-of-16 attempts for 91 yards.
Bret Smith caught four balls for 41 yards. Robert Meachem hauled in three passes for 60 yards.
Held out: Rico McCoy (foot), Jarod Parrish (knee), David Ligon (ankle), Kirk Swearingen (ankle), Montario Hardesty (quad bruise), Ja'Kouri Williams (knee), Jonathan Wade (hip flexor), Matt McGlothlin (head), Richie Gandy (knee) and Jared Hostetter (knee) all sat out the scrimmage.