Tennessee receiver Jason Croom likely to make debut Saturday

Tennessee wide receiver Jason Croom runs drills during practice at Haslam Field on Monday, August 6, 2012. 

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee wide receiver Jason Croom runs drills during practice at Haslam Field on Monday, August 6, 2012. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Tennessee football practice on Sept. 5, 2012

Freshman receiver Jason Croom will make his Tennessee debut Saturday against Georgia State, coach Derek Dooley said Wednesday.

Croom’s return from a lingering hamstring injury could help ease the Vols’ depth shortage at receiver. Another freshman receiver, Alton “Pig” Howard (foot), is perhaps a week or two away from returning.

“We’re expecting (Croom) to play,” Dooley said. “I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent, but we feel like he’s back.”

The Vols (1-0) play the Pantherson Saturday (TV: PPV, 4 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium.

* The Panthers were routed 33-6 by South Carolina State in their season opener last week, but Dooley has resolutely avoided any question that the Vols might be readying backups and younger players for extended playing time on Saturday.

“I’m not even worried about that,” Dooley said. “We need to go out there and play our best, no matter who our opponent is. If we ever get in that situation, we’ll do it (worry about playing reserves).”

* Dooley said first-game communication with his new staff wasn’t an issue at the Georgia Dome. More broadly, he thinks his coaches — despite the heavy offseason turnover — are all on the same page.

“I think it’s fair to say that there’s no member of our staff that isn’t committed to the same purpose, the same goals and doesn’t believe in how we’re doing things and what we’re doing,” Dooley said. “Staff unity leads to team unity, so that’s important.”

* Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said the Vols’ defense created so many turnovers that he kept getting poked by other coaches. They had to keep reminding him, “Hey, you’ve got the ball again.”

On a serious note, Chaney said he would support a new NCAA rule requiring all future Tennessee opponents to have at least four turnovers per game.

* The no-huddle offense may be in vogue in college football nowadays, but Chaney said it’s nothing new.

Chaney said he used the no-huddle occasionally when he was at Purdue and can even remember using it in the early 1990s when he was at Cal State Fullerton.

“We aren’t inventing anything new here,” Chaney said. “We just think it helps us, and we’re going to try to do it better.”

* Chaney said the revamped offense’s only requirement for quarterback Tyler Bray is that he talk less, something that was easy for him to handle.

“He doesn’t have to get in a huddle and verbalize a lot, which he would rather not do sometimes,” Chaney said. “He just has to look for a signal and look for an open guy. It simplifies the game for 11 people, not just the quarterback.”

* Not much attention is being paid to Georgia State’s personnel this week, but the Panthers’ quarterback situation is unsettled going into Week 2.

GSU coach Bill Curry said Ben McLane, a redshirt freshman who won the starting job, was only “sore” after being banged up in the opener.

Curry has yet to announce whether McLane or backup Kelton Hill would start against Tennessee.

* GSU kicker Christian Benvenuto has been reinstated from his suspension for an offseason bar incident. Benvenuto’s replacement struggled in the opener.

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

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Comments » 103

2Geezy writes:

Good news!!! Hope he starts with a bang just like Patterson did,

615VOL writes:

Can't wait to see if he is the next big time receiver in line! What is the deal with Drae Bowles?

VolInIndy writes:

in response to 615VOL:

Can't wait to see if he is the next big time receiver in line! What is the deal with Drae Bowles?

Bowles has been reported as having a longer learning curve than most in getting with the offense.

VolinCalif writes:

Keep coaching them up. Freshmen love to play and Sr. in high School watch how many get the chance in Colleges around the country.Can't do anything but help to teach them as fast as possible.
Vols 41 Fl 17

mdvol writes:

Wide Receiver U is back!!! Welcome to the party, Jason.

Pandemonium Reigns - Sept 15th
Seriously.....get ready.

615VOL writes:

in response to VolInIndy:

Bowles has been reported as having a longer learning curve than most in getting with the offense.

Gotcha. Thank you sir (or ma'am)

abnermc writes:

Does anyone know what happened to Nash Nance?

615VOL writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Keep coaching them up. Freshmen love to play and Sr. in high School watch how many get the chance in Colleges around the country.Can't do anything but help to teach them as fast as possible.
Vols 41 Fl 17

Sure hope you are right; I'll be in the student section!

troubleinc writes:

Tennessee - 38, Florida - 20
Pandemonium will reign again.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to abnermc:

Does anyone know what happened to Nash Nance?

Didn't he go to Peabody?

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to abnermc:

Does anyone know what happened to Nash Nance?

No not Peabody. He went to Hampden-Sydney in Va.

SavTnVol writes:

Wow, what a great sounding kid..best of luck to you Nance..
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

Hope Eric doesn't teach him "everything"

Rookie2 writes:

Saw Croom on the sidelines at the NC State game. He's a big dude. I see TE in his future.

givehim6 writes:

Da'Rick who?

trubleoj#657755 writes:

Hope all the healthy backup WRs get at least a half of work in this week.

Nash got the start last week at HSC.
Passing CP-AT YDS TD INT
Nash Nance 16-39 169 1 2

Orangepuddinskin writes:

I would like to see alot of the younger receivers this weekend. Preferably after our starters are up 35 to zip after the first quarter. I would hate to see any of our starters get hurt before laying the smack down on the Gators the following week.

TheVolSnake writes:

I would have bet that Croom was going to be a TE, he has size (However needs to weight a little more) Hands and speed.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Nash Nance is a great kid from down the road from Chattanooga. That is unlike his former teammate from there. I am glad NN is getting to play. As for Croom, we are ready for him to step up and also for some other younger guys to get playing time. I was glad Dallas got a catch and was in on one play throwing a good block against NC State. Looking forward to days ahead especially when the PIG shows up. I understand he is another potential speedster. GO BIG ORANGE!

BigBadVol writes:

in response to givehim6:

Da'Rick who?

After I saw Patterson burn Amerson the first time, I thought the same thing. Now I'm glad that cancer is gone.

Cousin_Eddie writes:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to givehim6:

Da'Rick who?

Da'Rick likes DaWeed.

volunteerintexas writes:

Vols looked much improved against NCS last Saturday.

It's difficult not to reflect on how much better they'd be if all the talent that has revolved through the program over the past couple of years was still wearing Orange. Ah, but to reminisce on the beauty of "what could have been"...

When I imagine what TN's offense would be like with a 255 lb Bryce Brown (Sr.), a developed David Oku (Sr.) as a utility player, Cameron Clear at TE, Da'Rick as a 3rd receiver split wide... even old NuKeese Richardson would be a senior (that kid had such potential). And how many high-potential kids am I forgetting that are no longer with the team? Have all this wasted talent still on the sideline and you are talking a top-5 team. It drives me crazy....

Then you get to the defense... Another offseason of a focused and maturing getting bigger, stronger, faster, smarter... lethal.

I've got to quit doing this to myself... these knuckleheads who throw it all away for a couple of puffs on the bong just drive me bananas.

Sorry guys.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

You're stating this after ONE game....against BG, none the less. About 90% of the defenses in the nation are in the top 5 after one game. Tell me about your "top 5" defense after UT hangs 35+ on them and torches them deep 2-3 times during the game....besides, from what I saw of the FLA offense on Sat, 21 pts will be enough for a UT win....

volunteerintexas writes:

in response to volunteerintexas:

Vols looked much improved against NCS last Saturday.

It's difficult not to reflect on how much better they'd be if all the talent that has revolved through the program over the past couple of years was still wearing Orange. Ah, but to reminisce on the beauty of "what could have been"...

When I imagine what TN's offense would be like with a 255 lb Bryce Brown (Sr.), a developed David Oku (Sr.) as a utility player, Cameron Clear at TE, Da'Rick as a 3rd receiver split wide... even old NuKeese Richardson would be a senior (that kid had such potential). And how many high-potential kids am I forgetting that are no longer with the team? Have all this wasted talent still on the sideline and you are talking a top-5 team. It drives me crazy....

Then you get to the defense... Another offseason of a focused and maturing getting bigger, stronger, faster, smarter... lethal.

I've got to quit doing this to myself... these knuckleheads who throw it all away for a couple of puffs on the bong just drive me bananas.

Sorry guys.

Vols looked much improved against NCS last Saturday.

It's difficult not to reflect on how much better they'd be if all the talent that has revolved through the program over the past couple of years was still wearing Orange. Ah, but to reminisce on the beauty of "what could have been"...

When I imagine what TN's offense would be like with a 255 lb Bryce Brown (Sr.), a developed David Oku (Sr.) as a utility player, Cameron Clear at TE, Da'Rick as a 3rd receiver split wide... even old NuKeese Richardson would be a senior (that kid had such potential). And how many high-potential kids am I forgetting that are no longer with the team? Have all this wasted talent still on the sideline and you are talking a top-5 team. It drives me crazy....

Then you get to the defense... Another offseason of a focused and maturing Janzen Jackson getting bigger, stronger, faster, smarter... lethal.

I've got to quit doing this to myself... these knuckleheads who throw it all away for a couple of puffs on the bong just drive me bananas.

Sorry guys.

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

Top 5 defense. Yeah that is what must have kept UF in the game until the fourth quarter against a MAC team..

jobrando#216494 writes:

TN 42 GA State 7
TN 28 Florida 24

Vols4life77 writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

Had a top 5 defense. Will be way lower after they get beat down by Texas AM. Just sayin... Their passing game may look like tenn run game last year too. Did ya see their Qb's in action. They made tebow look like Dan Marino..

mancell1871 writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

Uuuughhmmmm.......... You need to check NCAA stats again. Fla. does not rank in the top 50 of any category in defensive statistics that I saw. Tennessee does though Tied for fourth in turnover margin.

mancell1871 writes:

I do apologize Fla. is ranked 46th in total defense.......against mighty Bowling Green.

dvhill100 writes:

It will be interesting next week. Is UT really that good, or is NCSU not as good as projected? That's why they play the game.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

NCS was not rated poorly. Their Secondary was What? #4 I think. We will score many and often. We are ready for this year.
Vols 41 Fl 17

VolinCalif writes:

in response to dvhill100:

It will be interesting next week. Is UT really that good, or is NCSU not as good as projected? That's why they play the game.

NCS is every bit as good as projected. The Vols were sky high for that game. I think some of the Vol mistakes was caused by them being just too high. We will see a very settled Vol team this week and we are more than ready for the Gators. I for one don't think this coaching Staff could begin to keep this crew down. We will have a field full of reserves in during the 4th qtr.

VolinCalif writes:

PS Vols 41 Fl 17

DonK37920 writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

I get that feeling also. I think the younger UT fans, students etc... are full of confidence and tend to read too much into week one of the season. I've seen a lot of crazy predictions in the last few days.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Gators are favored. They have won 7 in a row in the series. Their defense will end up top 5! And they have lots of young talent. I think we can win, but it will be close(less than a touchdown difference).
Hopefully our players don't get as overconfident as our fans seem to be!

volpreacher writes:

in response to mancell1871:

I do apologize Fla. is ranked 46th in total defense.......against mighty Bowling Green.

Granted Bowling Green ain't no Alabama but they did go to a bowl game last year. Let's take it one game at a time. And lets work hard for a win. There are no guarantees in college football.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

UT 3 Fl 2

McMinnVol writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

TN 42 GA State 7
TN 28 Florida 24

Not that close in either game. 4-0 heading into Athens, Ga. GO VOLS!

mrvol2u writes:

in response to Cousin_Eddie:

Some of y'all seem a little too confident on the amount of points we're going to put up against Florida, who has a top-5 defense in the nation.

Just remember the metal plate in his head.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to mrvol2u:

Just remember the metal plate in his head.

Clark, that there is an RV.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

TN 42 GA State 7
TN 28 Florida 24

I don't see FL putting up 24 pts against UT Defense....maybe 10 pts.

UT - 34
FL - 10

CroKev writes:

in response to givehim6:

Da'Rick who?

Look, Dooley made the right decision in letting Da'Rick go, but don't think for a second that this 1st team all-SEC player (and could have been an All-American this year) won't be missed on the field. It won't be as noticeable if there are no major injuries, but just imagine what that 3-some could have done to SEC defenses, especially if we cannot get the run game going.

I know, I know... Da'Rick is gone and I'm glad for it due to the chemistry of the team (including the coaches). We just need to remember that Da'Rick was a huge loss in terms of on the field skills.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

TN 42 GA State 7
TN 28 Florida 24

Really? You think it will be that close? I have been the first one to remind folks that Florida is still Florida the past few years. This year, I truly believe that we absolutely destroy Florida.
UT-35
UF-17

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Orangepuddinskin:

Really? You think it will be that close? I have been the first one to remind folks that Florida is still Florida the past few years. This year, I truly believe that we absolutely destroy Florida.
UT-35
UF-17

I think "We cant beat Florida can we" keeps it close. Traditionally we have made many mistakes perhaps trying to hard to make it happen. The best thing to happen would be to have score 24-21 with 3 minutes left in the game and hang that last score on them. So 28-24 would be good. Then next year at their house beat them down good 35-7. The domination begins. Just dreaming.

volzcrushm writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

volzcrushm writes:

UT 35
GSU 3 ...at the half.

UT 35
FLA 17 ...FINAL

wildmed writes:

in response to volunteerintexas:

Vols looked much improved against NCS last Saturday.

It's difficult not to reflect on how much better they'd be if all the talent that has revolved through the program over the past couple of years was still wearing Orange. Ah, but to reminisce on the beauty of "what could have been"...

When I imagine what TN's offense would be like with a 255 lb Bryce Brown (Sr.), a developed David Oku (Sr.) as a utility player, Cameron Clear at TE, Da'Rick as a 3rd receiver split wide... even old NuKeese Richardson would be a senior (that kid had such potential). And how many high-potential kids am I forgetting that are no longer with the team? Have all this wasted talent still on the sideline and you are talking a top-5 team. It drives me crazy....

Then you get to the defense... Another offseason of a focused and maturing getting bigger, stronger, faster, smarter... lethal.

I've got to quit doing this to myself... these knuckleheads who throw it all away for a couple of puffs on the bong just drive me bananas.

Sorry guys.

Saw Oku the other night playing for Alabama State, only in on a couple of plays and he did not produce in his limited appearance. I'm afraid his ptential has been tapped and he's not big time.

wildmed writes:

in response to volzcrushm:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not PC but funny as hell.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Gradually work in a couple of these young guys. I'd like to see us red shirt a couple of them as well. Throw the ball to Jacob Carter more. That young man has good hands. Things are looking up.

Go Big Orange!

615VOL writes:

in response to volzcrushm:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ha! Pretty funny...

BeRealistic writes:

in response to DonK37920:

I get that feeling also. I think the younger UT fans, students etc... are full of confidence and tend to read too much into week one of the season. I've seen a lot of crazy predictions in the last few days.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Gators are favored. They have won 7 in a row in the series. Their defense will end up top 5! And they have lots of young talent. I think we can win, but it will be close(less than a touchdown difference).
Hopefully our players don't get as overconfident as our fans seem to be!

Agree. UT has gimme Sat. UF will be tested against A&M. UF will come in thinking they own UT, I don't think so this year.

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