UT position previews: Receivers

Injuries to veterans will offer some early chances for others

Coach: Frank Wilson, James Cregg (tight ends)

Lettermen Lost (3): WR - Josh Briscoe, Lucas Taylor, Austin Rogers (injury); TE - None.

Projected Starters

WR - Gerald Jones (Jr., 6-0, 199)

WR - Quintin Hancock (Sr., 6-3, 207) or Denarius Moore (Jr., 6-1, 190) or Brandon Warren (Jr., 6-2, 216)

TE - Jeff Cottam (Sr., 6-8, 260) or Luke Stocker (Jr., 6-6, 245)

Watch For: The injury report. Rogers is out for the year with a torn ACL, while Moore (foot) and Jones (wrist) could be out for part of September. Any more injuries could be trouble, especially early.

Key Stat: The Vols had just one receiver record a 100-plus yard game last season (Lucas Taylor vs. UAB). The next highest single-game total was Jones' 68 yards against Georgia.

When it comes to bad luck this offseason, Tennessee's wide receivers have borne the brunt.

Within a span of a few days, the Vols found out their most experienced receiver, senior Austin Rogers, would be out for the season with a torn ACL. Then junior Denarius Moore, perhaps UT's best deep threat, underwent surgery on his foot that should keep him sidelined until September at earliest.

More bad news followed with junior Gerald Jones, UT's most dynamic threat at wideout, who is healing more slowly than expected from offseason surgery on his wrist and would likely be limited through much of fall camp and perhaps into the season.

For first-year UT coach Lane Kiffin, though, what appeared to be a case of bad luck in triplicate is simply more opportunity for the rest of Tennessee's receivers.

"We look at that in a positive way," Kiffin said. "That gives a chance for our young guys, guys that were buried on the depth chart, a chance to come in and contribute right away and play.

"By the time we get rolling, maybe to game three or game four, we may be a stronger receiver unit because of that."

Despite those injuries, though, the Vols still have some contributors at receiver.

Coaches raved about senior Quintin Hancock, the Vols' biggest target at 6-foot-3, throughout spring practice. Hancock was a key role player in a run to the SEC championship game in 2007, catching 16 passes for 165 yards - including a pair of touchdowns in a five overtime win against Kentucky. But last season, despite making his first career start in the season finale against Kentucky, Hancock finished without a catch despite playing in all 12 games.

Still, UT's coaching staff named Hancock the most improved player on offense coming out of spring practice and has high hopes for him this fall.

"I think Quintin's done a fantastic job for us," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said in the spring. "From the first practice in 6 a.m. (workouts) to right now, that young man has been into exactly what we're trying to do as far as effort and physical play. He's done a marvelous job. We can turn on that tape every day, and he indicates by his actions that he understands what we're trying to get done."

Brandon Warren, a freshman All-American tight end at Florida State, spent the spring at wide receiver. He'll get even more work there this fall.

"He's lost some weight," Kiffin said. "Really had a good spring out there. Had a good spring game, did a number of things. He could be one of those guys, because of injuries, that he even gets to play more. We're excited about him."

The Vols are also excited about a pair of newcomers, including Nu'Keese Richardson. The 5-10 speedster was a late defection from Florida on the recruiting trail and was already a major factor in the Vols' plans this fall. But he'll get even more work early because of those injuries.

"He was going to get a great opportunity to play anyway," Kiffin said. "This gives him more of a chance to play. In the reports downstairs from him working out, he's had a great off-season.

"We look for big things from Nu'Keese. Even if those guys were healthy, we were looking for that. This is more of an opportunity for him stepping up."

Same goes for highly sought athlete Marsalis Teague, another recruiting coup for the Vols. Teague, who initially committed to Florida, will begin his career at wide receiver in large part because of the recent injuries.

Tight ends Luke Stocker and Jeff Cottam could also see more passes this fall as well. Stocker in particular impressed coaches with his ability to get open this spring, while Cottam is strong run-blocker when he's healthy.

While injuries mean opportunities, they can sometimes mean a drop off in production. But Moore, like his coach, is looking at the bright side.

"I'm really confident in them," Moore said of his fellow receivers. "They've got the mind-set. It's just really exciting."

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 47

CaliVol2009 writes:

Teague will electrify.

Ironcity writes:

Our receivers will be as good as the QB's allow them to be. IF JC or NS suddenly become accurate, will find that our receivers will look real good. If JC and NS look like they did last year, it will not matter how good our receivers play unless they block well.

qspr91iz writes:

Matt Milton would be a great addition for our WR corp. I hope he commits this weekend.
GO VOLS!!!

cc623 writes:

I just want them all to be on the same page and all have the correct play before we worry about them not having an open WR or if they get a shaky pass.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Our receivers will be as good as the QB's allow them to be. IF JC or NS suddenly become accurate, will find that our receivers will look real good. If JC and NS look like they did last year, it will not matter how good our receivers play unless they block well.

Agree,but I'll go one further.Our qb position will improve as much as our OL play will allow.

It starts up front,then everything else will fall into place.

micbrooks#212023 writes:

in response to qspr91iz:

Matt Milton would be a great addition for our WR corp. I hope he commits this weekend.
GO VOLS!!!

If you would, please tell us a little about this player..I am not familiar with him..don't think I have ever heard his name

Pdiddy10 writes:

GO ERIC BERRY!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to cc623:

I just want them all to be on the same page and all have the correct play before we worry about them not having an open WR or if they get a shaky pass.

After last year if they are in the same book it would be a drastic improvement.

MemphisVol1485 writes:

I think we will be ok at receiver this year. Not stellar by any means but it will be enough to compliment the run game.

tngivem6 writes:

hmmm..glad Ambles saw the playing time written on the wall.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to micbrooks#212023:

If you would, please tell us a little about this player..I am not familiar with him..don't think I have ever heard his name

Rivals has his page. Just type in his name in your search engine. Out of Illinois. 6'6" and 192 lbs they say. Has some big time schools after him with Coach EO recruiting him to the Vols.

RoadTrip writes:

It only takes a couple of good receivers combined with thunder and lightening running the ball to make a defense sweat bullets. By the second half of the season they will all find their timing and off we go!

gohawks1 writes:

I predict Hancock will have a big year this year. He will shine under the new regime. Brandon Warren is also very talented. New guys Richardson and Teague will move in as soon as they adjust to the size and speed of the SEC.

DennisVols writes:

There will be a BIG difference in this years passing game. Instead of a bunch of complicated reads, with a OL that has to play Leap Frog on every play, this offense is based on timming. This summer there has been 100% player participation in the "player only" practices. Both JC and NS have had more time to work on the timming needed in the passing game for this offensive system to make it successful. Last summer the players didn't even understand the system they were in.
This year when the opponents defense thinks pass we will run, when they play the run we will pass. Predictable Phil is no longer in charge.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

It would be nice to see the pig arrive to an at least slightly open WR.

Heck, I'd take a nice spiral to a 90% covered receiver.

Can you imagine a pass play of 14 yards on 3rd and 7 instead of the other way around?

Maybe I'm asking too much on the spiral thing.

givehim6 writes:

If our passing game can be good enough to take the pressure off the running game we will be fine! GO VOLS!

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

The George Dickle is telling the old Whiskey Wizard that when Coach Kif gets the big recievers like had at Southern Cal in a yr or 2, he'll be able to run the offense he wants. Look for OKU and Nu'keese in the slot from time to time. B Brown and Montario in a split set backfield. If B. Warren can play and if the line can give one of the QBs some time, We may can be more productive than what people think on offense.

UCFgradVOLatHEART writes:

Nothing helps improvement more than actual game snaps. This only helps our program in the long run

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

in response to UCFgradVOLatHEART:

Nothing helps improvement more than actual game snaps. This only helps our program in the long run

No doubt. BBrown, Oku, Nu'keese, ain't never seen the speed, the size, and the athletic ability of what they are about to face. Sometimes, The Tullahoma Tea clouds the Wizards Mind. Would you be happy with an 8 win season plus a bowl victory? I sure as heck would be. A win over either Bama, FLA, or GA would be icing on the cake.

CoverOrange writes:

I'm planning on Hancock erasing my memory of him standing there while the LSU CB cut in front of him for the Ainge pick in the SECCG.

Does anybody think the lackluster play of our QBs last year was amplified by the lackluster play of our WRs due to the departure of one Trooper Taylor?

HallowedHill writes:

in response to logansdad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Unfortunately, Barry White is no longer with us... Let's play some football. Go Vols!

pdb73216#339474 writes:

Anyone heard if James Green ever made it on campus?

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

in response to HallowedHill:

Unfortunately, Barry White is no longer with us... Let's play some football. Go Vols!

Maybe I should have clarified earlier by saying Brandon Warren....He was a Freshman All American at Free Shoe University....LOL. He's got the size, speed, and ability. The question is, are the brain's there? Vols fans can only hope.

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

One more thing. I thought Brent Vinson got kicked off the team a while back. Is that true?

ThaiVolFan writes:

I have to say it again, no matter if we are talking about the receivers, the running backs or the qb's, it all starts up front. This years much improved line play because of a simplified scheme will result in better output from the running backs. The better results from the backs will ease the qb play in the passing game, which will result in better numbers and success with this years receiving corp. But it all begins upfront with the play of our offensive line. I am confident that their play will be drastically improved and therefore I am gleefully optimistic about this season. What say ye boys?
GBO!

dkdkdk writes:

look for a more ball control passing gm.if we r abile 2 run the ball to atract 8men fronts and RUN blitzes we hav enough weapons to take advantage.WE MUST FOUND A DEEP THREAT AND GOOD RUN GM TO C KIFFINS OFFENSIVE MIND AT ITS BEST

gnm53108 writes:

in response to ThaiVolFan:

I have to say it again, no matter if we are talking about the receivers, the running backs or the qb's, it all starts up front. This years much improved line play because of a simplified scheme will result in better output from the running backs. The better results from the backs will ease the qb play in the passing game, which will result in better numbers and success with this years receiving corp. But it all begins upfront with the play of our offensive line. I am confident that their play will be drastically improved and therefore I am gleefully optimistic about this season. What say ye boys?
GBO!

Agree...It all starts with the OL.Everything else will improve with better OL play.

Whiskey_Wizard writes:

in response to ThaiVolFan:

I have to say it again, no matter if we are talking about the receivers, the running backs or the qb's, it all starts up front. This years much improved line play because of a simplified scheme will result in better output from the running backs. The better results from the backs will ease the qb play in the passing game, which will result in better numbers and success with this years receiving corp. But it all begins upfront with the play of our offensive line. I am confident that their play will be drastically improved and therefore I am gleefully optimistic about this season. What say ye boys?
GBO!

I've switched over to beer. I agree. The trenches are key. D-Line and O-Line. We have a center with 35 games worth of experience plus both our offensive guards are back (I'm not sure about the OT's). TE's look good. Not real sure about the FB's. Starting DL is good but no depth. With the exception of Rico, LB isn't a strong point unless a freshman can step in and play (Which is rare). DB's are good but loosing Morley doesn't help and i'm still not sure about B. Vinson. I'm optomistic for a 8 win season. In year 2 under CLK, 9 wins. Year 3, 10 or 11 if we have a QB who can compete.

ThaiVolFan writes:

in response to Whiskey_Wizard:

I've switched over to beer. I agree. The trenches are key. D-Line and O-Line. We have a center with 35 games worth of experience plus both our offensive guards are back (I'm not sure about the OT's). TE's look good. Not real sure about the FB's. Starting DL is good but no depth. With the exception of Rico, LB isn't a strong point unless a freshman can step in and play (Which is rare). DB's are good but loosing Morley doesn't help and i'm still not sure about B. Vinson. I'm optomistic for a 8 win season. In year 2 under CLK, 9 wins. Year 3, 10 or 11 if we have a QB who can compete.

"Liquor before beer never fear" but I digress. Since you brought up the D Line as well, I want to make another point. I think that this years improved line play will not only have a domino effect on the backs, qb, and receivers, but will also improve the defensive unit. Just as it is important for the defense to get those important 3 and outs, it is also imperitive that the offense make long sustaining drives that eats up the clock and keeps the defense fresh. Last year our offense had more 3 and outs than I would like to remember, which resulted in the wearing down of our defense, particularly the D line. This years improved O line play will allow us to drive the football and give our defense the rest it needs(particularly the D line) to play through the SEC schedule at a high level. And yes...I've switched to KOOL-AID.... GBO!

OrangeAppeal writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I looked up a few words in the dictionary too:

UT Poser - noun; a.k.a. Naffy; changes identities often; really a Florida idiot.

Racist - noun; Naffy; hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Naffy - noun; coward; troll; his mommy gave him a bedroom in the basement; racist idiot who makes defamatory comments about former white UT football players (esp. Manning, Rogers, Battle, and Bartholomew)

newtonrail writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

GVX Dictionary: "Racist against all White players at my Alma Matre, The University of Tennessee"---- Naffy, the hater, Ellison.

BillsBrother writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm surprised to see you posting. I thought you were having a beer tonight with the President.

xvolx writes:

tenn. off. problems last year were the result of the clawfense and fulmer's (I'm afraid I'll fail) attitude. Crompton was the #2 rated qb in the country. He didn't just turn bad. He had help. The off. line didn't know who to block. The receivers ran a different route than qb expected. Running backs could't find a hole because of confused blocking. Even though foster couldn't play dead anyway. all this was result of clawson and fulmer. good riddance.

SHAWVOL writes:

The recievers will be fine if the QB's can do there job. Nuke and Teague will step up and help Hancock and Warren. Brown Hardesty and Oku will take alot of presure off the QB unlike Foster did last year and with recievers who can catch we should be fine

SHAWVOL writes:

the defense will be the same or better better than last year MK is a way better D cordinator than chaviz will ever be

DC_Vol writes:

in response to BillsBrother:

I'm surprised to see you posting. I thought you were having a beer tonight with the President.

That is hilarious!!!

1974Vol writes:

Pro-Style Offense – in football offensive sets and plays that put team’s talented athletes in positions to make plays.

Clawson Offense – in football an offense designed for second tier schools to be competitive as they may have smarter more disciplined kids but lack sufficient athletic talent to match up with larger schools. See related topics “Triple Option” and “Military Academies”.

Pound the Rock – in football a physical style of play featuring running plays inside the tackles; or in the last days of the Fulmer regime a euphemism for “we have no offensive plan”.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DennisVols:

There will be a BIG difference in this years passing game. Instead of a bunch of complicated reads, with a OL that has to play Leap Frog on every play, this offense is based on timming. This summer there has been 100% player participation in the "player only" practices. Both JC and NS have had more time to work on the timming needed in the passing game for this offensive system to make it successful. Last summer the players didn't even understand the system they were in.
This year when the opponents defense thinks pass we will run, when they play the run we will pass. Predictable Phil is no longer in charge.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

Good points, but the word you are looking for is "TIMING" not "TIMMING". I long ago gave up correcting ordinary posts on here, but you are writing a blog about UT sports that goes out all over the country. I would hate for THAT word to go out in one of your blog entries. I repeat my offer to proof-read your blogs before you post them. You have some good ideas and info and even a decent style, but spelling, usage, and grammar DO count when you are writing for the public, if you expect to be taken seriously.

johnlg00 writes:

As for the topic at hand, it looks like we will see real soon how well our freshman receivers live up to their billing. I expect Hancock and Warren to carry a heavy load this year, but we need Nuke and Teague, and possibly Oku, to step up quickly as well.

As for the TEs, I am less concerned about Stocker getting open than I am about him MAKING THE CATCH. Some of his drops last year were REALLY embarrassing. Maybe he was just tight from trying too hard and will be more relaxed this year now that he has had some real game experience. We can always hope! GO VOLS!!!

GAVol21 writes:

The more details I read about our team, the more optimistic I become. Sounds like to me that our receiving core will not be bad at all, even with injuries. I believe depth there and at OL/DL will be biggest concerns. However, I also believe that the less complicated blocking schemes will reduce chances of injuries.

I am most excited about two things that I have particularly hated for the past 16 years. 1 - I don't believe the offense will be as predictable this year. We may be run heavy, but that doesn't mean predictable. LK seems to be a little more creative and a lot quicker/confident (right or wrong). 2 - I am a big JC fan as DC, but always HATED when we got any lead bc I knew PF would put us in a prevent D (translates into give THEM 6). I think Monte will put the screws to them til the end!

Go Vols!

johnlg00 writes:

Agree completely. Let's hope--crosses fingers, prays fervently!--that the worst of our injury bug is behind us. Let's also hope that better conditioning and a somewhat more straightforward scheme will give our guys the health, stamina, and confidence to get through the season more or less intact.

FranklinCo_VOL writes:

This is my first post here. We can absolutely surprise some teams this year and our best chance could be Florida. Here is my thinking on this. They have better overall athletes, but this is only one aspect that can win a football game. Game planning will be crucial. Kiffin will have tons of film to watch on the Gators. However, Meyer will only have two games worth of film to scout us. If the defense can do enough to confuse Tebow, (and I believe that they can considering Monte could disguise coverages and confuse NFL quarterbacks that are much better than Tebow) and create turnovers we would have a great shot. It will also be critical that our offense concentrates on ball control to keep the defense fresh. This is just my take, but not outside the realm of possibility. As for the reciever situation remember what Bryce Brown did in the All-Star game. Go Big Orange!

OrangePride writes:

I thought that the problems with the recieving corps last year was more a problem with quarterbacks getting them the ball than the quality of the atheletes. And one of the quarterback problems in getting the ball on target and on time was the fact that they were always under pressure and always hurried. The OL was just awful. They had the atheletes also, but the coaching and blocking schemes were never mastered. So.....all of that said, I am anxious to see if this year's OL and quarterback situation will improve enough to get the balls to those receivers. If so......then great things might well come as the season progresses. They are talented. GO VOLS!!

AllVol1 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

It only takes a couple of good receivers combined with thunder and lightening running the ball to make a defense sweat bullets. By the second half of the season they will all find their timing and off we go!

TFZ: I don't know if you coined it, but I am diggin on "Thunder and Lightning". Seems like this must have been used for a dynamic RB duo before. If not, then it is perfect for Bryce and Oku. I also like the B&O Railroad--someone else put that on here a few months back. Despite all of these, I am really hoping that Hardesty romps this fall. Unite in the Swarm!!

tree_em_smokey writes:

Nukesse will impress us all i think. I am stoked about this next season. Go Vols!!!!! Oh by the way interlopers suck. Except the one's who can discuss things instead of making stupid comments only.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Whiskey_Wizard:

The George Dickle is telling the old Whiskey Wizard that when Coach Kif gets the big recievers like had at Southern Cal in a yr or 2, he'll be able to run the offense he wants. Look for OKU and Nu'keese in the slot from time to time. B Brown and Montario in a split set backfield. If B. Warren can play and if the line can give one of the QBs some time, We may can be more productive than what people think on offense.

Good call;Brown was an excellent receiver in high school and has wide out speed and great hands..Hopefully our coaches will use that advantage((big time mismatches with slow linebackers))I can't wait to see the new offense and how they use Brown and Oku..I say play them early ready or not!! Last years offense broke records (( In lack of production; we had to celebrate first downs like they were touchdowns )) Don't think Richardson will due much as a freshman; Guys like AJ Green are rare indeed

OrangeMagic writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's a shame stupidity doesn't hurt, if it did maybe you wouldn't do it so much.

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