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Ainge edges out Clausen for Vols’ starting QB job

Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Erik Ainge will start at quarterback in Tennessee’s opener, beating out senior Rick Clausen in a close competition.

But coach Phillip Fulmer said both quarterbacks will play Saturday at home against UAB. Fulmer added Ainge won’t automatically start for the third-ranked Volunteers in their second game of the season at Florida.

“Erik is our quarterback right now, but we have two quarterbacks,” Fulmer said Saturday.

Ainge and Brent Schaeffer got the nod last season ahead of Clausen and C.J. Leak. Schaeffer ended up starting the opener, but Ainge took over at midseason, leading the Volunteers to victories at Georgia and Alabama before separating his shoulder in November.

Clausen started the final four games of the season. He was named the offensive Most Valuable Player of the Cotton Bowl, a 38-7 victory over Texas A&M. Schaeffer has transferred.

Ainge, nephew of Celtics head of basketball operations Danny Ainge, was the 2003 Gatorade player of the year in Oregon.

Clausen is the younger brother of former Vols QB Casey Clausen.

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