Severity of Waggner’s injury unknown; safety still gets reps

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) runs a drill during the Vols' practice on campus Tuesday, March 22, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) runs a drill during the Vols' practice on campus Tuesday, March 22, 2011.

Prentiss Waggner sent out a message on his Twitter account Sunday that put a scare into Tennessee fans, as the junior defensive back indicated that he was in pain and his hand likely was broken.

And that may very well be the case. Waggner, who wore a red, non-contact jersey and a giant, puffy club on his left hand at Tuesday’s practice, won’t know until the swelling goes down and he undergoes another set of X-rays on Friday.

That didn’t stop his teammates and coach from giving him a hard time about it.

“I told him he didn’t hit anybody anyway, so really he’s still live. We’re just actually blowing the whistle when he gets near the runner,” coach Derek Dooley said. “Most of his work that he needs is pattern-match, covering, and he can still do all that.

“I don’t think we’re missing much, and I’m sure he’s happy because he doesn’t have to put his screws on anybody.”

Said Waggner: “(My teammates) are just telling me it messes up my swagger.”

Waggner said he didn’t initially think the injury was serious. He only felt “a little pain” after landing on the Neyland Stadium turf when he attempted to tackle wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers at Saturday’s scrimmage. The hand swelled Sunday, Waggner said he iced it and UT’s medical staff told him it likely wasn’t a big deal and it would heal on its own.

On Monday, Waggner had the hand X-rayed, which revealed “something,” Waggner said, but it’s uncertain whether or not it’s actually broken or whether he’ll require surgery.

“Either way it’s going to be OK, but it’s kind of the unknown,” Dooley said. “We clubbed him up and got him reps.”

Waggner, who has primarily worked at safety this spring because of Janzen Jackson’s absence, said running with the club slowed him down even during simple running exercises. Trying to intercept passes also was out of the question, though he said he might ditch the club for today’s practice and just be completely non-contact.

“I just like being out there with the guys,” Waggner said. “Whatever I can do, position drills, feetwork drills, I just want to be out there doing something to improve my game and get better with anything I can get better on.”

Fugate In Red: Fullback Channing Fugate also was in a red, non-contact jersey Tuesday because of a concussion he sustained Saturday, Dooley said.

Fugate, a sophomore who started five of the last six games in 2010, is UT’s only fullback on the roster with any experience at the position.

“We’re going to have to watch Channing because he’s a tough, physical player, and he doesn’t tell you when he’s hurt — which you like them like that,” Dooley said. “The downside is it’s harder to manage those guys because you don’t know when they’re a little banged up, whether it’s shoulder, chest, head, probably everything else.”

Upon Further Review: Dooley said quarterback Tyler Bray, who completed just 11 of his 27 passes and threw two interceptions in Saturday’s scrimmage, has “more going through his mind than ever went through last season,” which has caused the sophomore to miss a number of easy throws.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said last week the UT offense was 90 percent installed and that Bray had 50 percent more on his plate than last year.

“When that happens, sometimes the simple throws become difficult,” Dooley said. “That’s common, very common. Same thing with a kicker, a punt, all these mechanics and this and that, the read, then you can’t do something real simple.”

Dooley said he’s not worried about Bray’s or any of the other UT quarterbacks’ respective confidence, just so long as they’re getting better at something, no matter how small, every day.

“As long as we’re seeing a path of climbing and growing and we don’t get too caught up in the results — that’s what we’ve got to do,” Dooley said. “You’ve got to trust it a little bit.”

Schedule Update: The Vols practiced at Neyland Stadium on Tuesday, as Monday’s heavy rains left Haslam Field in a less-than-desirable state. They will practice again today and Thursday before their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 14

VOLliven2it writes:

"...when he attempted to tackle Da'Rick Rogers at the scrimmage on Saturday..." Did he make the tackle?
All jokes aside, I hope he is okay and gets his Swaggner back soon. Maybe it will not require surgery. We will need Prentiss and others from last year especially if JJ decides to call it quits on us for whatever reason. GO BIG ORANGE!

kantanuuv writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

jack_2222#231746 writes:

in response to kantanuuv:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Better to keep your thoughts to yourself and have some think you're a pathetic child than write them and remove all doubt.

richvol writes:

I have read several times now where tackling is mentioned and that Dooley is focusing on and tackling drills are done every practice. That's great news to me as several games we lost over the past several years could have been won if we had just tackled better.

Dooley is focused on fundamentals and details...something that was really missing the past 10 years. My man.

easleychuck writes:

It is all about making progress. The remainder of the spring and the summer months will be huge for Bray to continue to learn.

Please don't feed the trolls.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tweet and fellow Vols,

Thank you for saving a lot of us the time we'd spend addressing this troll.........

Have a great day.......VOLS, that is

tn_rockytop writes:

here is a thought vol lovers dont respond to the trolls that makes them madder.they feed on our responces.

SavTnVol writes:

in response to richvol:

I have read several times now where tackling is mentioned and that Dooley is focusing on and tackling drills are done every practice. That's great news to me as several games we lost over the past several years could have been won if we had just tackled better.

Dooley is focused on fundamentals and details...something that was really missing the past 10 years. My man.

I agree 100%..it just seemed to me that the past two coachs (Phil and the POS) were more interested in installing a complex offense and defense scheme that they forgot about the fundamentals. I could be wrong but it sure looked to me that they seemed to have forgotten how to execute a proper block and a proper tackle. I just saw too many missed blocks and way to many missed arm tackles. Then throw in some of the idiot mental mistakes (like hitting someone late or out of bounds) that cost you a game or gives the other team another chance, and that does go back on the coaching the majority of the time. No discipline..Coach 'Em Up CDD

NorthwestVol writes:

Bray seems to have the natual physical ability to be very good, however he also seems to like to party. A successful season could hindge on where he places his priority over the summer.

Probably won't be easy. I remember what was important to me when I was his age (beer and women, and I wasn't too good with the women). Hopefully he will mature faster than I did.

Smokey_Chow writes:

in response to NorthwestVol:

Bray seems to have the natual physical ability to be very good, however he also seems to like to party. A successful season could hindge on where he places his priority over the summer.

Probably won't be easy. I remember what was important to me when I was his age (beer and women, and I wasn't too good with the women). Hopefully he will mature faster than I did.

Northwest, I completely agree with you about Bray having raw, natural talent at the QB position... however where did you see anything about him liking to party. I've not read one thing that has ever given me that impression.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have absolutely no clue as for the reason Jackson is home.You are most stupid. You will pay for what you do and say and believe me, you owe a large debt.

If you want to be so negative about all things Tennessee,then you should simply post at a team site you do like.

You evidently have a very bad case of hate or a very sick mind.Which ever, I recomend council for your sickness.I post this to you not out of hate but because you need help and to let you know help is available,and in some cases free of charge.Get help before it is too late.May God have mercy on you.

You may be posting for attention or you may actually believe what you say.I really don't know. I do know you sure need professional help.Get that help NOW.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to SavTnVol:

I agree 100%..it just seemed to me that the past two coachs (Phil and the POS) were more interested in installing a complex offense and defense scheme that they forgot about the fundamentals. I could be wrong but it sure looked to me that they seemed to have forgotten how to execute a proper block and a proper tackle. I just saw too many missed blocks and way to many missed arm tackles. Then throw in some of the idiot mental mistakes (like hitting someone late or out of bounds) that cost you a game or gives the other team another chance, and that does go back on the coaching the majority of the time. No discipline..Coach 'Em Up CDD

I'm not going to say that UT has never had issues with tackling, but under those former coaches you mentioned, I only remember a couple of years that the defense wasnt that good and one was due to injuries and players gone pro. the defense under Fulmer/Chavis was good almost every year. In 08 Fulmer shouldve gone with a more traditional offense instead of installing a whole new system, but I'm sure he thought he wouldve had more than 3/4 a season to get it worked out before he was fired though. From a discipline standpoint, I dont see any difference in Dooley and Fulmer.

kantanuuv writes:

CVDjr provides some valuable advice that all Vole fans should consider: "Don't get caught up in results."

Completed passes, touchdowns, and especially wins. Don't expect a lot of that "so long as they’re getting better at something, no matter how small."

Deflated expectations are a coach's best friend.

This guy is smarter than he looks.

VOLS_and_REDSOX_4ever writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really? One person cost a whole team a win?
NO this is a team sport, win as a team and lose as a team. You don't understand the sport yet you act like you do. You are a fool. Quit acting like you are some wise man, you have no credibility with statements like that.

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