Vols put Guess work into snapping

Junior grew into role as Cox's understudy

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Given his coach's heightened level of attention to special teams and to all the details, Nick Guess has a pretty important job.

And while that job might appear relatively simple and regularly get overlooked, every field-goal attempt and every punt will begin in the hands of Tennessee's new long snapper.

"I feel confident," the junior said after practice Tuesday. "I've been working really hard."

Working hard is something Guess has had to do, especially with UT coach Derek Dooley's emphasis on the kicking game.

"It's great because it makes all of us better," Guess said. "Dooley's been pushing me pretty hard, and it's gotten me a lot better, to focus and concentrate on what I'm doing."

The opportunity to be Morgan Cox's understudy for his first three years at UT also has helped the former Farragut standout.

Cox had a clean snapping record in his three seasons at UT before translating his ability to the next level, winning the long snapper job with the Baltimore Ravens.

"He's always (been) a good mentor," said Guess, who Dooley placed on scholarship prior to the start of preseason camp.

"I've always looked up to Morgan. The biggest thing he probably taught was to have a routine coming out here, getting your mind right."

Guess came to UT the same year as senior kicker Daniel Lincoln, who's been able to watch him transform from wandering walk-on into the Vols' long snapper.

"It's been awesome seeing Nick grow and work, become committed the program, become committed to his job," Lincoln said.

"I think the results are definitely going to show on Saturdays."

Fresh Start: Marsalis Teague caught a pair of touchdown passes in last season's opener against Western Kentucky.

The sophomore receiver-turned-cornerback knows the chances of a repeat performance aren't in his favor.

"It's a little harder to score on the defensive side of the ball," said the smiling Teague.

"I'm just looking at it as a chance to go out there and have fun, enjoy playing with my teammates and going against somebody else."

Teague is listed as a co-starter with redshirt freshman Eric Gordon at one cornerback spot, though Teague said the on-field competition between the two friends really hasn't changed since Teague's switch to defense at the start of fall camp.

"We're very competitive," he said. "Even when I was at receiver, me and him would come up here during the summertime and do one-on-ones with each other.

"Now pretty much we're doing the same thing, he'll line up at receiver and I'll work on my stuff, so we're still doing the same thing as far as competing."

Golden Arches: Whether the opponent is UT Martin or Alabama, UT linebackers coach Lance Thompson just wants consistency in preparation and performance.

"What champions do is they strive for consistency at a high level," said senior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz, "and that's what Coach Thompson always talks about."

And Thompson's got an unusual analogy to illustrate his point.

"If you're going to go get a cheeseburger at McDonald's out in Los Angeles or here in Knoxville, it's got to be the same," Reveiz said.

"It's got to be high quality and exactly the same consistency. That's what we're trying to be, we want to be the McDonald's.

"That's his analogy, don't give me the credit for that one."

Veteran Returner: Senior Gerald Jones' return to the return game shouldn't hurt.

Jones, who didn't return kicks last season, averaged 10 yards on 15 punt returns two years ago. The Vols managed to return only 12 punts last season. Half of those were returned by freshman Nu'Keese Richardson, who is no longer on the team.

"I don't want to bash anyone, but that's what you get when you have a freshman back there," Jones said. "It's a different world (from high school)."

Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor. John Adams contributed to this report.

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 15

UTbassdrummer writes:

in response to jrod:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

On this rare occasion, I actually laughed out loud.

bigorange61 writes:

Let's change the analogy to "Chicken McNuggets". The talk of a cheeseburger makes me nervous.

10ECMATT writes:

Our Vols need a real dream to follow. A good mentor and friend is just as important as ability. You need both. I knew a lot of talent that never made it because of their past or no direction.

Orangelife writes:

Good to see a few local kids starting. Guess was the #3 long snapper out of high school. Looking forward to see him progress!

keepitreal4vols writes:

Did I just read an article about the long snapper? And which McDonalds around here is serving these "high quality" cheeseburgers?

10ECMATT writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes! That is what I'm saying.

txvolsfan writes:

Hope we have some cheeseburglers on D this year. We need some take aways

eefor10c writes:

I'll have my order to go! Special teams all the way to the end zone.

TKO writes:

Special teams has to be better for UT to have a chane at a winning season. They couldn't cover a corpse last year.

iadvol writes:

Start feeding G Williams 20 Cheesburgers a day..we need him to put on 30 lbs before the SEC schedule starts..GBO

gnm53108 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Did I just read an article about the long snapper? And which McDonalds around here is serving these "high quality" cheeseburgers?

Mcdonalds and high quality cheesburgers?

Never happen.

givehim6 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

Did I just read an article about the long snapper? And which McDonalds around here is serving these "high quality" cheeseburgers?

AGG, yea, coach Tompson I'd change that one. For some reason when I think of hi quality McD's not first to mind.

smoky50 writes:

in response to AF1A4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It seems our VOLS have been doing that for a while now. Glad to see a coach get in there and coach the "SMACKDOWN" philosophy.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

Hasn't it long been a saying at U.T., "If you stay you play?"

MemphisVol1485 writes:

in response to AF1A4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That philosophy should work fine unless we play UTM like phooey and take the same fight to everyone else...

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