Stone’s snap doesn’t worry Dooley

Freshman will ‘be a really good center’

The center position appears to be getting younger for Tennessee.

Meanwhile, the snapping style should look considerably older with James Stone handling the role.

The Vols true freshman is officially a game-time decision to make his debut start at center on Saturday (TV: CBS College Sports, 8 p.m.) against Memphis, with the coaching staff keeping a close eye on Stone’s exchanges with new quarterback Tyler Bray before making a final call. And considering his old-school approach with the left hand at the back of the ball and a straight-back motion that doesn’t rotate the football, it bears watching for anybody not accustomed to a technique that’s generally more common in option offenses.

“We went back and watched some Bears tape from 1937,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney joked. “It looks like that’s what they were doing and they won the championship, so we figured we’d give it a whirl.

“Actually, none of us have been around a left-handed center, at least I haven’t. … It was interesting in the way the ball comes up. We thought, people have been doing this for years on pop-up snaps. I thought what the heck, let’s take a look at it and James feels more comfortable doing it and the quarterbacks feel more comfortable with him doing it. Let’s go with it. Who really cares as long as the quarterback gets the ball?”

That’s obviously a critical first step for any play the Vols (2-6, 0-5 SEC) will run against the Tigers (1-7, 0-5 Conference USA) this weekend, and for the most part UT hasn’t had many issues handling snaps with previous centers Cody Pope or Darin Gooch at center this season.

And if Stone’s throwback style doesn’t look like it will break that trend, his size and intelligence combine to make him the ideal candidate to take over and anchor the offensive line for Bray — who only has to make a slight rotation of his hands to account for the different angle of the football.

“These guys have been taking snaps their whole career with their right hand up,” Vols coach Derek Dooley said. “All they have to do is tilt their hands just a little bit, it’s just a slight adjustment.

“Look, is there risk? There’s risk. But it’s not because of the way he’s snapping, there’s risk because he’s never snapped. If we were doing it the old way, we’d have just as many fumbled snaps, I’m convinced of that. What you need is experience, and I just feel like we’ve got to get out there and do it. If we’re having a problem, we put Gooch in the game. I don’t know any other way to say it. (Stone) is a good football player, and he’s going to be a really good center. So we’ve got to go learn to snap it at some point, and I don’t want to wait until March.”

Right Spots, Right Times: Nick Reveiz isn’t putting up Eric Berry-like return yardage.

But the Tennessee linebacker has become an improbable team leader with two interceptions after nabbing one last Saturday against South Carolina. The next step is finding a way to improve on that zero in the yardage column.

“I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have the greatest hands or anything like that, but if I get around it, I’ll try to take it down,” Reveiz said. “The two picks I’ve had have just been a blessing. Quite honestly both times the quarterback has just thrown it to me and I’ve tried to not look like a complete idiot and just make sure that I caught it.”

Missing in Action: For the second time in a little more than a week, cornerback Art Evans missed practice for undisclosed personal reasons.

Associate athletic director of communications Jimmy Stanton said Evans’ status with the team is unchanged and that he will be back for the Memphis game if he “gets these personal issues taken care of.”

The junior was absent from a workout on the Wednesday before the South Carolina game, though he did come off the bench and see limited action in the loss. Prentiss Waggner is expected to start in front of him for the second consecutive week.

Bumps and Bruises: Cornerbacks Marsalis Teague (turf toe) and Naz Oliver (knee) are not expected to play. Kicker Daniel Lincoln (quadriceps) is out as well.

Another cornerback was in a red, non-contact jersey during Thursday’s workout, but Eric Gordon (concussion) is expected to play. Linebacker Herman Lathers (back spasms) took his red jersey off for the first time this week.

Andrew Gribble contributed to this report.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 22

britt writes:

small question here. dont see cody pope listed in the injury status. is he still having stinger issues or is it just lack of heart?

cloudodust writes:

Oku is harder to find than Waldo...

SEC1 writes:

in response to FirstAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Only bowling the vols will be doing this year will be at the local bowling alley....strike!! spare!!

jrobi124 writes:

I am encouraged about playing stone at center. I beleive he will be a beast in two yrs. We are going to have one hell of a OL in two yrs and a real good QB, hope I can believe in!!

theoldbear writes:

Well, it wasn't quite that long ago, but I played center, snapped left handed, one handed, with no spin. And the team I was on won the 1960 KFL championship. And we played some single wing, so it was like snapping to the QB in the shotgun. Only punts and extra points were two handed snaps in those days. And I later snapped one handed on deep snaps in some intramural games. That team won the championship, too.

Now you know: left handed center,snapping one handed equals guaranteed championship.

The old bear lives in the woods.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to SEC1:

Only bowling the vols will be doing this year will be at the local bowling alley....strike!! spare!!

Get those jabs in while you can as it will be short lived.
Back on topic, James Stone can and will be good at any position he is put at.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to FirstAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nah.. Nah. We have a pretty good OL right now. Just no depth. I think we'll be very good next year and we should pick up a couple of good recruits that will help right off the bat. What I'm saying is that I think that next year will show real improvement.

BigOrangeinCharge writes:

Snapping with two hands is going to make it a little slower for Stone to get into his blocks. Not necessarily a killer, though.

At least the Vols are getting the young guys plenty of experience and building depth this year. In 2-3 years the offense should be very solid if all these freshmen pan out. 4-6 of those guys look like they might have All SEC potential.

BigOrangeinCharge writes:

Wait... doesn't this mean we're now starting 4 true freshmen on the OL, a true freshman QB, true freshman FB, and rotating in 3 true freshmen at TB and WR, respectively? Wow! It looks like Dooley has really decided to go with a youth movement in hopes that it builds the program up.

I hope the youth movement pays off, but let's not kid ourselves that some of these guys won't be starting in 2-3 years. They'll get displaced, injured, kicked off, or choose to transfer or quit (Bryce Brown, anyone?).

richvol writes:

If Stone makes the pros the first thing they will change is that snapping technique. Do him a favor and change it in the spring.

voiceofreason writes:

"and I’ve tried to not look like a complete idiot and just make sure that I caught it.”

Based on this quote I think we can say that we've now found our punt returner.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to voiceofreason:

"and I’ve tried to not look like a complete idiot and just make sure that I caught it.”

Based on this quote I think we can say that we've now found our punt returner.

I like your thinking.

I'm with ya...give Nick a shot.

msinva writes:

I would like to go way off topic for a comment/question. Looking at the remaining schedules of our SEC East rivals, I noticed that FL is playing Appalachian St. between USC and FSU. In my opinion, this is the epitomy of a trap game, and I'll be the first (on here) to say FL loses this game. Thoughts of others?

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Nah.. Nah. We have a pretty good OL right now. Just no depth. I think we'll be very good next year and we should pick up a couple of good recruits that will help right off the bat. What I'm saying is that I think that next year will show real improvement.

Nah, our Oline problem is more than lack of depth. Inexperience and youthful bodies are the problems. They get beat bad on pass protection and short yardage. Firstandgoal is right. In 2012 we will have a great line to go with Bray or Worley, but not now.

Ayres_Hall writes:

We are now 8 games into the season and have played 5 ranked teams, 3 in the top 5. The freshman OL should be ready for the remaining schedule of lesser teams. We have a great opportunity to win-out and earn a bowl game with the additional weeks of practice.

TLepage writes:

i agree with the coaching staff's decision here.... We are 2-6 right now and it is beginning to look like we will not be playing in a bowl game... Because of that we will not be able to practice during the month of december... By moving Stone to center now, he will have the entire month of november to work on his snap exchanges and get reps with the first team.... that will make a huge difference going into spring practice and make this team more experienced and ready for next year... I hate to say it, but we all need to look to future... Go Vols!!!!

Mobbdeep4life writes:

in response to SEC1:

Only bowling the vols will be doing this year will be at the local bowling alley....strike!! spare!!

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha (in my best Joker voice).

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to SEC1:

Only bowling the vols will be doing this year will be at the local bowling alley....strike!! spare!!

you must be really proud of that post to repeat it. So I'll repeat mine. Your knowledge of bowling alleys would indicate where you work or just hang out....when you're not obsessing about the Vols that is....

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to navarrebeachvol:

you must be really proud of that post to repeat it. So I'll repeat mine. Your knowledge of bowling alleys would indicate where you work or just hang out....when you're not obsessing about the Vols that is....

Navarre,

Good post my friend. My guess is SEC1 is probably a pin boy at one of those 50 year old bowling alleys....
When he isn't trolling here.

hueypilot writes:

in response to theoldbear:

Well, it wasn't quite that long ago, but I played center, snapped left handed, one handed, with no spin. And the team I was on won the 1960 KFL championship. And we played some single wing, so it was like snapping to the QB in the shotgun. Only punts and extra points were two handed snaps in those days. And I later snapped one handed on deep snaps in some intramural games. That team won the championship, too.

Now you know: left handed center,snapping one handed equals guaranteed championship.

The old bear lives in the woods.

Dang bear. I didn't know you were still around. I guess Alabama really did dig you up.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TLepage:

i agree with the coaching staff's decision here.... We are 2-6 right now and it is beginning to look like we will not be playing in a bowl game... Because of that we will not be able to practice during the month of december... By moving Stone to center now, he will have the entire month of november to work on his snap exchanges and get reps with the first team.... that will make a huge difference going into spring practice and make this team more experienced and ready for next year... I hate to say it, but we all need to look to future... Go Vols!!!!

I'm sure we all hoped the team would do better this year, but just a cursory look at the schedule before the season showed that it would be a tough slog. The Vols played all the more-experienced guys early to give us the best shot possible against that "murderers row", but now it's time to look to the future. After all the program has been through in the past two and a half years, there is no shame in frankly going into rebuilding mode. The key now is to finish strong while continuing to search for difference-makers further down the depth chart.

johnlg00 writes:

Living in NC, I have seen a good deal of Appy State in the last few years. They play a really good brand of football and are lots of fun to watch. That said, beating Florida in G'ville is WAY too big a chore for them. The game may be closer than Gator fans will be comfortable with, for a half anyway, but the Gators should win easily.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features