Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson says 'instinct' helps him makes plays

Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson tries to avoid the tackle of Troy defensive back Bryan Willis on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson tries to avoid the tackle of Troy defensive back Bryan Willis on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

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Once Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has the football, don't blink. Amazing things are about to happen.

But getting that ball to Patterson has proved much more difficult than it sounds.

The Vols have used him on handoffs and end-arounds, kickoff and punt returns. But opportunities for Patterson to catch passes have been scarce.

Then Saturday happened.

Facing a beleaguered Troy defense in a matchup that turned into a video-game-style offensive shootout, Patterson made up for lost time, displaying all those pent-up highlight-reel moves in one afternoon.

Patterson finished with 219 receiving yards, the fourth-most by any Tennessee player in a single game in the Vols' best offensive day in their history.

"I guess it's just instinct," said Patterson, who has been consistently amused by questions about his ability to make defenders miss. "I don't want anyone to tackle me, so I just try to get off the tackle and get to the end zone. Just going back and looking at (the highlights) put a big smile on my face."

The Vols (4-5, 0-5 SEC) finish the season with three consecutive SEC opponents, starting with Missouri (4-5, 1-5) on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium.

Patterson's career in major college football is only nine games old. If he decides to go pro after this season, it might not last much longer. So he views the early weeks of the season as if they were years ago. For him, they were.

"I think I've improved a lot," Patterson said. When I go back and watch film from the first couple weeks (compared to) watching now, it's a big change just in running my routes and getting down field and getting open."

Coaches have long professed an eagerness to get Patterson more involved in the offense, but it hasn't always worked. In the five games before his outburst against Troy, Patterson caught only 10 passes for 127 yards.

In fact, since he burst onto the scene with a 67-yard touchdown run and a 41-yard catch against North Carolina State in the opener, Patterson's numbers had been fairly ordinary.

But Patterson said he never got frustrated.

"Not at all," he said. "We have receivers like Justin (Hunter), Zach (Rogers), and everybody out there, just getting their touches. To get frustrated means you're being selfish, and I'm not a selfish person."

Patterson was so worn out by

some of his zigs and zags against Troy that he missed the start of the third quarter while he was given fluids through an IV.

"I think I maximize everything," Patterson said. "Doing all that cutting and stuff just ran me out of gas."

Will he have enough gas left in the tank for an encore this week against Missouri? Running back Marlin Lane said Patterson is difficult to stop. The trick, as always, is getting him the ball.

"I think he's probably one of the best open-field runners in college football," Lane said. "If someone tries to tackle him one-on-one, I don't think it's going to happen. I saw Saturday that 11 people can't tackle him."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 30

abnerPeabody writes:

Patterson may not be the best, but he is way ahead of whoever is in second place.

tedstryker1980 writes:

The kid is amazing. If Dooley had not found him and given his coach a job, he would probably already have been fired.


The "IT" factor, whatever "IT" is; CP has "IT".

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

IT is natural ability to make people miss. IT is something that can't be coached. That's why IT is so exciting to watch CP every time he touches the ball.

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

Patterson is freaky good. The year has been a little disappointing but the team is very entertaining to watch

Fight on Vols!

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

Hope he sticks around for another year.

Vol1983 writes:

Patterson will have a great career in the NFL; Bray--not so much. Bray will have a Casey Clausen career.

nocleats writes:

Would love to see him come back after going through spring ball and actually know the offense and how to run perfect routes........

lomas98 writes:

in response to Vol1983:

Patterson will have a great career in the NFL; Bray--not so much. Bray will have a Casey Clausen career.

Bray hasn't had a Casey clausen career in college.

BruisedOrange writes:

No receiver gets a career in the NFL if they can't read D and run routes exactly as the QB anticipates.

When a team with a QB arm like Bray's is struggling to "get the ball to" such a physically gifted receiver... that raises the suspicions of General Managers.

From what I've seen, as crazy as it sounds, if the League was drafting only for the receiver position tomorrow, I think Rodgers would be taken before the immensely talented Patterson. That's if it was tomorrow.

Mr. Patterson still has to prove himself as a dependable route runner before jumping to the next level--and I think he will. Talent has gotten him attention, but his work ethic will eventually get him that big offer.

An extra year against the SEC should be worth a lot of money for #84.

ambrown64 writes:

He is very creative with the ball. He sees angles that normal guys just don't see and has an incredible sense of anticipation and timing. This makes him fun to watch, and he tries stuff and sees opportunities that most guys wouldn't even conceive of. His reversal of field is nuts to watch and the way he tries to milk every bit out of a run is a blast.

ambrown64 writes:

I also wish everyone would lighten up on Tyler. He's a good QB. Though he frustrates me at times, he's grown light years with regard to resilience, not staying in a funk/pouting. He'll slip into it here and there, then he apologizes, and most of all...seems to come back with his head screwed on. Give the kid a break - he's got a beautiful arm and genuinely seems to have the respect of his teammates. Also I believe he is learning to have more of a winner's demeanor.

orange_eVOLution writes:

CP is a fave. LOVE this guy's moves. One more year and he will have NFL written all over him.


Olddogsrule writes:

Watch Cordarrelle run! Smile all day! I sure hope he decides to stay because I like to smile. I'm selfish I guess. If he and Tyler and Justin are back, and with all the new receivers, Alton "Pig" Howard and all, only one Sr. on the O-line, by golly ... just imagine, they're setting all time Volunteer records this year, how much better they'll be next year. Whoooooeeeee! Fix the D an they'll be in the SEC CG with a good chance to take it home! Go you Volunteers!!!!!"

thevoice writes:

Kid's got mucho talent. Hope he's not selfish by declaring for the draft.

crappieking writes:

One of the FEW bright spots on this team. Just think how good he could be with a real coaching staff.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

The two best JUCO players in the nation this weekend. Sheldon Richardson for Mizzou and Corderelle Patterson for the Vols. It is going to be a good one. Our crappy D versus their crappy O, and Our stellar O versus their stellar O. This game is going to be fun to watch.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

Their stellar D. LOL. Duh.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

CP you'll probally never see this post,but you are a heck of a player,I wish you had a better coaching staff and a qb that could get you the ball a lot more in big time games against quality SEC opponents.A piece of advise go on to the NFL you will be a top 2nd or possibly 1st rounder,dont hang around here and get hurt.I would love to see you back in Orange and White next year under a new leadership,but it would be hard to adjust in just one off season.So go on make that money and work with some of the best talent in the world.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

Glad we have him, if only for 1 year. He's lucky to have such God given athletic ability. My end stinks too butt it never helped me make plays.

tulelakevol writes:

CP is like a Jedi knight. The force is strong with him.

terrytennessee writes:

There are probably Troy defenders who are still looking for their jock straps.
Go Vols!

GOJO writes:

in response to WONT_STAY_AROUND_LONG:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)


If wanting to show your skills & be your best is selfish, give us a few more. If one can deliver, it "ain't brag."

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Best athlete in the open field this team has seen since Pickens.

Good luck in the pros.


in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Best athlete in the open field this team has seen since Pickens.

Good luck in the pros.

Eddie Brown was pretty dang good..Just sayin'

BeRealistic writes:

CP have another big game this week, we'll need it. MIZZOU was 17.5 underdog last week at FLA & lost by 7. C'mon VOL defense.

RaineyVol writes:

CP is special.

WelovePat writes:

in response to CantStandCantStandSaban:

Hope he sticks around for another year.

PLEASE stick around....he is a very SPECIAL player!!!

ollias#273315 writes:

Patterson reminds me what could have been the greatest back we ever had......the inimitable Chuck Web. How soon we forget.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ollias#273315:

Patterson reminds me what could have been the greatest back we ever had......the inimitable Chuck Web. How soon we forget.

Now that is really a name to conjure with! Both CW and CP had a knack for crossing their feet while going full speed so you couldn't predict where their feet were going to land next and thus couldn't get the correct pursuit angle on them. Then when they got in the open field, nobody could catch them.

The weird thing about them having such similar running styles is that they are built totally different. CP is tall and rangy at 6'2", 205, with long legs while CW was about 5'9" and 190 at most with comparatively short, bowed legs. Both are unforgettable to anyone lucky enough to see them in their prime.

That comparison was bang-on, ollias!

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