Prentiss Waggner showing his versatility

Tyler Bray after Saturday's scrimmage

Prentiss Waggner, one of the leaner players on Tennessee's football roster, is officially listed at 185 pounds.

That, the junior defensive back joked after Saturday's scrimmage at Neyland Stadium, is all that's holding him back from lining up at linebacker or defensive end.

Mentally, Waggner said he has a handle on the entire Vol defense, and he's used it to his advantage while battling for a variety of positions in the secondary.

"I take pride in just learning football," Waggner said. "I just love football, the game of football. I love the schemes.

"I'm comfortable wherever they put me."

Cornerback, nickel, safety: Waggner has played them all through the first three weeks of camp.

While a player such as offensive lineman Alex Bullard was somewhat hampered by his versatility because he wasn't able to spend enough time at one particular position, Waggner has thrived during his double- and triple-duty.

Coach Derek Dooley said that Waggner has been UT's "most consistent" cornerback. That's where Waggner lined up during a first-team, 11-on-11 drill during an open portion of Saturday's scrimmage, but it won't be the only one.

He said he still receives repetitions at safety and has been working with Janzen Jackson, Brent Brewer and Marsalis Teague at the nickel.

"He's still got that ability to go to safety if something happens or just depending on who we play," Dooley said. "Prentiss has been playing the best, most consistent play out there."

With Waggner locked in at one of the starting cornerback positions, the competition between Teague and freshman Justin Coleman continues. Teague, because of his relative edge in experience, had been considered a front-runner to start, but Coleman has consistently impressed since his lock-down performance at the Orange and White Game.

"He's pretty ready," Waggner said. "The older guys are pushing him to get the little things done. He basically knows all the checks and the plays. He's just got to play consistent every snap. I think he'll get there with experience."

Though UT is deep enough at cornerback to move two to wide receiver before Friday's practice, bona fide experience is hard to find. Waggner is one of the few who can boast a full season's worth of on-the-job training.

Now it's just a matter of displaying all that he's learned from it on the field — wherever that is.

"I think I'm settled in at the defensive back position. I know the playbook in and out," Waggner said with a smile. "I'm still out there floating around. From corner to nickel to safety, I'm just out there having fun."

Take My Breath Away: Junior-college defensive tackle Maurice Couch has dealt with asthma throughout his entire career. It remains an on-going battle.

The beginning of camp was difficult for Couch, who was extremely limited because of his asthma through the first few practices. Now, though, Couch said it's mostly under control.

"It's a genetic thing," Couch said. "They always tell me to be careful with it, so I make sure that I take all my meds and stuff. Everything's OK."

Asked what triggered Couch's asthma attacks, Dooley deferred to head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh, but offered up a theory of his own.

"For some reason, it always happens during individual when we're hitting the sled, so it might be sled-induced asthma," he said. "Or when we do pursuit drill, for some reason, we haven't found a medicine that cures the asthma during that drill yet."

Walking Wounded: Running backs Rajion Neal and Tom Smith, linebacker Greg King and defensive tackle Malik Jackson all sat out Saturday's scrimmage because of their respective knee injuries.

Wide receivers Zach Rogers (triceps), Matt Milton (abdominal muscle) and Antonio Jones also did not participate.

Spread it Around: During UT's 16-play drive that ended with a touchdown Saturday, the Vols converted "four or five" third downs, Dooley said.

What made it even more rewarding was that a different receiver — Mychal Rivera, Justin Hunter, Vincent Dallas and Brendan Downs — made the catch on those chain-moving plays.

"It hasn't been 'Throw it to Gerald Jones,' " Dooley said, referring to the departed senior who was a top option out of the slot on third downs last season.

"I think it's better when you can throw it to anybody. It's profound, I know."

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Comments » 24

tree_em_smokey writes:

Waggner is a beast. He will be playing on Sunday's. Hope he stays for his senior year. GBO!!!

greatdaysahead writes:

"I think it's better when you can throw it to anybody. It's profound, I know"

Truly a moving statement coming from CDD. The fact that this is not the solitary statement of confidence in the last 3 weeks from him is immensely encouraging.

greatdaysahead writes:

PS - I can't help but think of how good we're getting! I've been containing my excitement for this season for about 8 months now, 14 days cannot come quick enough! GBO!!!!

LiveFaith writes:

in response to greatdaysahead:

PS - I can't help but think of how good we're getting! I've been containing my excitement for this season for about 8 months now, 14 days cannot come quick enough! GBO!!!!

14 days can come fast enough for the Grizzlies!

VolinCalif writes:

Well the Griz's are a pretty good team in their conf. They are use to winning. That makes a big difference when you are playing a game. So the vols need to take early control and keep the pressure on those cats. I think that DD is aware of that and will keep the team moving the chains for td's.I can't wait for the 3rd.

MidTennVol writes:

I love this coach's work ethic, his no-nonsense straight talk, and his hilarious, sardonic sense of humor. The guy's a walking night at the Improv.

Now all we need to do is win some games...

kcbigorngX writes:

The man is very close to his players, he is always giving them the rub. The inspiration of a coach can affect a young man's life more than anyone he will ever know, including his own family.

Now all we need to do is win some championships...

TURN EM LOOSE, DOOLEY.

iowavol writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

I love this coach's work ethic, his no-nonsense straight talk, and his hilarious, sardonic sense of humor. The guy's a walking night at the Improv.

Now all we need to do is win some games...

I'm with you on this comment. He calls it like it is and doesn't mince words. I liked his comment on another article where it was a long night for the coaches - just imagine the heat in that session. He holds everyone accountable. Maybe one of the key reasons for CPFs demise. I like what I hear.

gatorhator4eva writes:

oh man, u can smell it in the air, but not quite time yet.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

Waggner is a beast. He will be playing on Sunday's. Hope he stays for his senior year. GBO!!!

I hope he has a great year. He is good but "beast" my be overdoing it. Go back and watch the first play from scrimmage in the LSU game and watch Waggner.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Waggner was an INT machine last year with I think 3 for TD's if I'm not mistaken..He always seemed to be at the right place at the right time..Hope that carries over in to this year!!!

Smokey says bring home some more INT's for TD's, Prentiss....

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

I hope he has a great year. He is good but "beast" my be overdoing it. Go back and watch the first play from scrimmage in the LSU game and watch Waggner.

would agree------"beast" has become overused and inappropriate discription all too often------185 pounders may be good but hardly beasts

taylorsvolfan writes:

I hope we will be converting a good bit on 3rd down when the season gets here.

keviningeorgia writes:

I haven't read any troll comments on this article yet. So, before you guys chime in this one's for you:

Blahhh blahh bablahh blahh UT bad, Dooley bad. Blahhh bablahh, Fulmer, blahhh UT bad blahhh blahhhhhhh….

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

I hope he has a great year. He is good but "beast" my be overdoing it. Go back and watch the first play from scrimmage in the LSU game and watch Waggner.

Everyone misses some plays from time to time. He has the accolades to prove he is good and he was a sophmore last year. His versatility is invaluable. He will only get better and better. GBO!!!

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

would agree------"beast" has become overused and inappropriate discription all too often------185 pounders may be good but hardly beasts

Dynamite comes in small packages! Haha. I mean he is a solid player, not huge. CB's can be beasts but if they were 300 lbs they would be no good. GBO!!!

CroKev writes:

"Spread it Around: During UT's 16-play drive that ended with a touchdown Saturday, the Vols converted 'four or five' third downs, Dooley said."

I guess that means that they converted a 4th down along the way, somewhere in the 'red zone' I would imagine.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually, the Grizzlies are probably looking forward to this game against us. They are the obvious underdogs and have absolutely nothing to lose. They will come into Neyland loose and ready to play. It is a great stadium and provides an awesome atmosphere for college football. I think their coach is telling them to soak it all in and have fun.

As others have stated, we will need to smack them in the mouth early and often.

Go Vols!!!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Will we ever go a day without some yokel making remarks about Fulmer? Get a life!!

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Will we ever go a day without some yokel making remarks about Fulmer? Get a life!!

For real hayes.

tree_em_smokey writes:

A lot less trolls on the boards lately. They know what's coming. Almost time to put that talk into action!
8-4 this year baby!
GBO!!!

Vol43 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Will we ever go a day without some yokel making remarks about Fulmer? Get a life!!

Believe it or not, we do have a life, but the memories of UT football prior to a certain coach's dismissal are hard to forget. In fact, I refuse to forget those miserable days when it made me sick to watch a game. What we have here is hope. You won't see Volunteer football players disrespecting Coach Dooley. It aint gonna happen. What we have here is respect and discipline. It's about time. And while I'm with you on trash talking about previous coaches, it's worth remembering what brought us to this point. The sky is the limit: trust me on this one.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Actually, the Grizzlies are probably looking forward to this game against us. They are the obvious underdogs and have absolutely nothing to lose. They will come into Neyland loose and ready to play. It is a great stadium and provides an awesome atmosphere for college football. I think their coach is telling them to soak it all in and have fun.

As others have stated, we will need to smack them in the mouth early and often.

Go Vols!!!

I hope their fans have a great time in Knoxville. An atmosphere 2nd to none in college ball. I remember some Oregon fans telling me that same thing in the bookstore last year.What we have known for as long as we have been fans. Either 1 year or 41 years it is GREAT to be in Knoxville on a Saturday in the fall.

Griz's will not be prepared for September humidity in the south though. By end of 3rd Q they will be depleted by humidity if nothing else.

888657 writes:

Wide receiver Corey Smith has given his pledge to the Vols. Off topic, but I knew the pay site would be the only one to post it. ESPN has Tennessee at 16, and climbing.

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