Just one week into the 2014 campaign, Dave Serrano made it clear the test is far from over.
But as for the grade through the first seven questions?
"As of now we're passing the test," the Vols third-year head coach said. "But we haven't passed it yet."
Through the season's initial seven games, Tennessee dons an unblemished record as Sunday's 4-2 win over UNLV at Lindsey Nelson Stadium finished off a three-game sweep of the Rebels.
"I think we found out some stuff about our team — a lot of it's positive," Serrano said on Sunday. "We've got to go back and still work on some things to become better.
"It was a good weekend for us in many aspects."
In the first two contests, the Vols (7-0) pulled out narrow victories, squeaking past UNLV 8-7 on Friday and 5-4 on Saturday.
On Sunday, sophomore Andrew Lee (2-0) — in just his second collegiate pitching appearance following Tommy John surgery — overpowered the Rebels (4-3) for 6 2/3 innings, surrendering just four hits and two runs to go along with three strikeouts.
After allowing a second-inning single, the Morristown, Tenn., native retired 14 consecutive UNLV hitters before exiting in the seventh due to pitch count restrictions.
"I couldn't be happier, honestly," Lee said on Sunday. "I was throwing strikes early, and that's what our team is all about right now — throwing strikes, getting ahead and I was able to do that."
With the UNLV offense held in-check, the Vols required just a handful of offense and delivered in back-to-back frames.
In the third, Tennessee strung together three consecutive two-out hits, the final an RBI single from cleanup man Nick Senzel that scored two-hole hitter A.J. Simcox.
The following inning, however, it was the bottom of the lineup card that provided the ultimate blow as ninth-place man Will Maddox laced a run-scoring triple to left, pushing UT's lead to 3-0.
Maddox, who was hitless in the series coming into Sunday, finished 2-for-3 with a run to go along with his two RBI.
"It's always good to end with a couple hits," said Maddox, who later scored UT's final run on a sacrifice fly. "I hadn't had any previously, but I felt good at the plate and I was able to get a couple hits to fall today.
"We're winning, so that's all that matters."
That same approach was implemented in the series opener as the Vols blew open a tied game with a five-run seventh inning but spent the final frame wiggling out of a nearly-catastrophic UNLV rally.
"It was a wild finish and wilder than I would have liked," Serrano said on Friday. "It's a learning moment for our team. We have to learn how to win games and series."
Senzel headlined the late offensive outburst with a seventh-inning grand slam that extended UT's lead to 8-2, but the Vols' bullpen struggled mightily in a wild ninth. Despite the six-run deficit, the Rebels got the tying run to third base before UT closer Drake Owenby escaped the jam with a game-ending strikeout.
UNLV's late heroics nearly overshadowed the efforts of right-hander Nick Williams (2-0), who despite not cracking the initial weekend starting rotation against Purdue, proved a reputable replacement for injured starter Hunter Martin.
In six innings of work, the Knoxville senior allowed just three hits and two runs – one earned – with six strikeouts.
"Nick Williams was as good as he has been in my three years with him," Serrano said on Friday. "It kind of shows you his character. He wasn't in the starting rotation the first weekend as a senior — a guy that has put a lot of time into this program.
"He didn't put his head down, and he took advantage of the five innings last Sunday. He stayed with what was given to him and came out and gave us a masterpiece for six innings."
In Saturday's afternoon tilt, another UT hurler constructed a rather impressive work-of-art, only his brushes were originally stashed in the bullpen.
In his third appearance of the season, sophomore Andy Cox tossed 5 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball in relief of freshman Kyle Serrano, who couldn't get out of the third and struggled often with command.
"Today was about Andy Cox," Dave Serrano said on Saturday. "The tempo was not set early-on for us with Kyle, but Andy came in and changed the whole momentum of the game."
With the Vols owning a 4-2 advantage, Cox gave way to Owenby (1-0) for the save, but more bullpen struggles ensued as UNLV tied the score with four ninth-innings singles.
Serrano's squad, however, rebounded in the bottom half in dramatic fashion. After walks to Lee and Taylor Smart put UT runners on first and second, Maddox drove a deep fly ball to right field that both players tagged on.
The cutoff throw came into UNLV shortstop Matt McCallister, who, in attempt to get Smart at second base, threw the ball into short right field, allowing pinch runner Johnny Youngblood to score easily for the walkoff victory.
"It's a good test for us," Dave Serrano said on Saturday. "I've said that's why you schedule good people. ... I just hope I can last through the year with the tension each and every game.
"I love what these guys are bringing to the table. It's not perfect. It's never going to be perfect, but they're finding ways to win and that's important."