“You’ve got to try to put it behind you as hard as it is with 100,000 people screaming. We got off the bus for the Vol Walk, and I thought, ‘It’s a dream come true now. It’s time to show up.’”
Show up he did as one of 10 freshmen who played in Saturday’s 63-7 win over Western Kentucky.
Teague was the only one of the freshmen to start. He led the receiving corps with 86 yards on six catches and reeled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Crompton.
“I thought Marsalis was extremely impressive, especially for him to start and all the pressure with that,” Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said.
Kiffin told the Vols before the season they would all have a chance to earn starting positions and playing time — including the true freshmen.
Tailback Bryce Brown got his share of playing time, racking up 104 yards rushing and a touchdown. Fellow running back David Oku added two more touchdowns.
Receivers Nu’Keese Richardson and Zach Rogers, safety Darren Myles Jr., cornerback Mike Edwards, safety Janzen Jackson, linebacker Greg King, defensive tackle Montori Hughes and linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton also played.
Not everything went smoothly in their first game. Richardson fumbled his first punt return. Brown broke a 34-yard run up the sideline but stepped out of bounds rather than pushing for more yards.
“He ran out of bounds and did not finish it in the style that we play with here, so that was disappointing, but he’ll learn from that,” Kiffin said.
GREAT SCOTT!: Senior Chris Scott was named the Southeastern Conference offensive lineman of the week for his effort in the Vols’ win.
Scott recorded six knockdown blocks from the backside tackle position. UT’s 657 yards were its most since 1997, and its 380 yards rushing were the most since 1994. The Vols had five touchdowns by air and four on the ground and didn’t allow a sack.
Scott said Saturday’s effort has boosted the linemen’s confidence.
“I think it’s through the roof right now,” he said. “The teaching that we’re getting is pretty good, and we’re having a lot of success with it.”