KNOXVILLE — It wasn't Alabama, Florida or Georgia lined up across from Tennessee's offense during Saturday afternoon's Orange & White spring game inside Neyland Stadium, but it was the fast-paced attack that new Volunteers coach Josh Heupel promised.
A whopping 821 total yards were compiled in a contest that had a running clock after the first quarter.
"It's unbelievable," sixth-year senior receiver Velus Jones said afterward. "Me and my teammates are so blessed to have this coaching staff and them being able to bring this energy and a high-scoring power offense. It's a dream come true, and it feels unreal to be honest."
The rain that soaked east Tennessee for the first half of Saturday moved on before the 4 p.m. start, allowing for sophomore Harrison Bailey, junior Brian Maurer and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Hendon Hooker to combine on 31-of-45 passing for 542 yards and six touchdowns. Maurer was the first quarterback to get in the game and Hooker the first to produce a touchdown drive, but it was Bailey who had the best outing of the three.
Not that Saturday had any impact as far as the starting nod Sept. 4 against Bowling Green.
"It's wide open," Heupel said. "I've been through enough quarterback battles as a player and as a coach to know that there is so much time as you leave spring ball. We've had 15 spring practices, but we're going to have a lot more than that when we get to training camp.
"They get a chance now to kind of re-digest everything that has gone on this spring."
Bailey, who started the final three games of last season, had a 7-of-8 first-half showing and wound up completing 12 of 16 passes for 260 yards and four scores. Mauer was 9-of-15 for 171 yards and a touchdown, while Hooker was 10-of-14 for 111 yards with a touchdown and the game's lone interception.
Junior defensive back Warren Burrell snagged a Hooker pass midway through the second quarter and raced 34 yards for a score.
"As a group, they've come a long way in these last 14 days," Heupel said of his quarterbacks. "We've seen exponential growth in their command in what we're doing, getting their eyes in the right place and being accurate with the football. The last three or four practices have been all of their best practices. I thought they played really efficient today.
"There were a couple of times when they needed to get rid of the football maybe a little bit quicker if they had been in a live situation, but some of that is tough to judge."
Tennessee's first-team offensive line consisted of former walk-on Dayne Davis at left tackle, Jerome Carvin at left guard, Cooper Mays at center, Cade Mays at right guard and Darnell Wright at right tackle.
The Orange & White game lasted just an hour and 46 minutes, and no attendance figure was released. Saturday marked the final of the 15 spring practices allotted by the NCAA, and Heupel likes what he saw.
"I'm proud of this team this spring given the short amount of time we've been here as a coaching staff and the growth that they've shown and the accountability that we're learning how to have every single day," he said. "It's a group that is becoming connected and is playing for each other and is growing in the right way."