Vols' receiver issues limiting quarterbacks

University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones talks with wide receiver Jason Croom between plays at a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2013 in Knoxville. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones talks with wide receiver Jason Croom between plays at a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2013 in Knoxville. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee football Volunteers practiced Tuesday without receivers Jacob Carter (sprained right ankle), Paul Harris (hamstring) and Vincent Dallas, which made a thin group that does the most running during practice of any position group even shorter on bodies.

"It just took people stepping up," said Jason Croom, who made a leaping grab on a fade route in the end zone over cornerback Daniel Gray when the Vols suddenly stopped their stretching period to run a two-point-conversion play. "Walk-ons had to fill in spots for people that were out due to injuries. I felt like they did all right, but there were a couple mistakes we all made."

Some of the mistakes the receivers made in Saturday's scrimmage were more damaging, and coach Butch Jones turned his answer toward some dropped passes when asked to re-evaluate the scrimmage performances of quarterbacks Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman.

"I can see them progressing," Jones said. "I think our quarterbacks are getting better. There's so many things that I think the naked eye, when you watch a scrimmage, all eyes are on the quarterback, but a lot of times what people don't see is a missed assignment by a receiver, a receiver not winning at the line of scrimmage, not beating our one-on-ones, maybe a missed assignment up front in the line of scrimmage by the offensive line.

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Comments » 20

UTvols33 writes:

Any word on Eric Gordon? Is he back?

tomatosoup writes:

Oh no....after reading this article and listeningto the Sports Animal this morning...I'm sure hoping Woody (the volley ball player that's coming) can step up at Tight End???? I have all faith in Coach Jones but realize we are still pretty thin and am hoping that 2014 brings an awesome recruiting class! Go Vols!!!

kazoo writes:

Our offense will be bad because our passing game will be bad. It's bad enough having inexperienced QBs, but we've also got receivers who have not played at all. That's a recipe for offensive futility.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to kazoo:

Our offense will be bad because our passing game will be bad. It's bad enough having inexperienced QBs, but we've also got receivers who have not played at all. That's a recipe for offensive futility.

Good point, but UT had experience at the skill positions last year and struggled in big games to move the ball between the 20's..I think this offense will move the ball better, mainly because it's timing and systematic in nature. If the WR's get close to their assignment they will be open in space..Opposed to the slow developing pro-set Dooley ran, that was easiliy defended by taking away Bray's initial read.

tomatosoup writes:

in response to tomatosoup:

Oh no....after reading this article and listeningto the Sports Animal this morning...I'm sure hoping Woody (the volley ball player that's coming) can step up at Tight End???? I have all faith in Coach Jones but realize we are still pretty thin and am hoping that 2014 brings an awesome recruiting class! Go Vols!!!

I forgot to mention that while I do think we'll end up with a better record than last year (major swing games in November) I do have a feeling that we may end up getting blown out of more games this year than last. I'm not being negative...we need a huge 2014 recruiting class, work like heck this year, and EVERYONE support Coach Jones! I'm scared to death that after the Oregon and Florida game...folks who often post negativity on this board will be out in full force but everyone needs to remember, Coach Jones us undertaking a HUGE event trying to right this ship that has been wrong for sooooo long and FRIENDS, this will take time!!! Oh yeah, let's see if we can get 3 or 4 more verbals by the time the Orange and White game comes around. Go Vols and again....avaiod those pulled hammeys!

givehim6 writes:

Last years run game was better than 2010, but hope our backs are ready to carry the offence this year. I do not think the passing game will be what it has the past few years.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

Coach Butch, do a fade toward that Buick Fulmer Edition parked on Johnny Majors Drive..John Adams, you act like you're a football player and just simply fade (away).. Jimmy Hyams, you go deep and leave the Knox News for the floundering Sports Animal. Ok on 3.. BREAK

DonK37920 writes:

You win by running the ball in this league! Sure our WRs will take a step back. They are young! Our OL and RB are very experienced though and that's what will make or break us. I'm not sure I agree with people blaming last years WRs and QB in big games. IMO, if we could have run the ball in short yardage situations we would have been better off. Getting into shootouts like we did with Georgia, Troy, South Carolina and Missouri is a recipe for disaster in this league. Our offense put up near record numbers last year yet our defense couldn't stop anyone and we couldn't convert in short yardage to keep the chains moving. Even when Bama had Julio Jones, they relied on a strong running game to set up the pass.

Mansonlamps writes:

I just hope we're all ready for a 6-6 season at best. I don't see how anybody can expect anything more given the rotten state our program has been in for the past decade. It would be nice to get back to a bowl game and then keep up the momentum in recruiting to put us back winning consistently.

kazoo writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Good point, but UT had experience at the skill positions last year and struggled in big games to move the ball between the 20's..I think this offense will move the ball better, mainly because it's timing and systematic in nature. If the WR's get close to their assignment they will be open in space..Opposed to the slow developing pro-set Dooley ran, that was easiliy defended by taking away Bray's initial read.

I will agree that the //slow-developing pro set// has a been a problem for UT for years. It works when you have great skill players--and we had good skill players last year--but when you don't your are in trouble. Last year we moved the ball very well most of the time, and threw it a lot because we had good skill talent and we were always behind owing to our pathetic defense. But we couldn't score late when we needed to--kind of choked. It's hard to see us having a decent passing game this year, but maybe we'll surprise. The OL should be solid and we've got pretty good backs.

PHAT_VOL writes:

I'm gonna miss the defensive coachs this season. Especially Curly.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to Mansonlamps:

I just hope we're all ready for a 6-6 season at best. I don't see how anybody can expect anything more given the rotten state our program has been in for the past decade. It would be nice to get back to a bowl game and then keep up the momentum in recruiting to put us back winning consistently.

If someone offered me a guaranteed 6-6 season, with a win in Ktown over VU, I would take it without a second thought.
6-6 would allow us the opportunity to play a (hopefully) fairly weak opponent in the bowl game. If we finish 7-6 this year, that is progress.

On a different note, does it not speak volumes to anyone else that Worley has zero separation in the QB battle? I am hopeful Peterman wins the job for two reasons.
1.) Haven't ever seen anything from Worley that tells me he is an SEC QB.
2.) If we have 3rd and 4, at least Peterman has a chance to use his legs for the first down.

Go Vols

62vol writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

If someone offered me a guaranteed 6-6 season, with a win in Ktown over VU, I would take it without a second thought.
6-6 would allow us the opportunity to play a (hopefully) fairly weak opponent in the bowl game. If we finish 7-6 this year, that is progress.

On a different note, does it not speak volumes to anyone else that Worley has zero separation in the QB battle? I am hopeful Peterman wins the job for two reasons.
1.) Haven't ever seen anything from Worley that tells me he is an SEC QB.
2.) If we have 3rd and 4, at least Peterman has a chance to use his legs for the first down.

Go Vols

It may be too early to speculate on the QB but I agree with you that either of them or some new guy should be able to play behind our good line to get the 7-6 or better season that will put us on-track to good football again at U.T. Stupidity on the defensive side of the ball was another factor last year and our new coaching staff is doing a good job of sitting down those guys in favor of the solid -coachable guys. Those guys rushing inside when the play was going outside were doing so out of lack of football I.Q. Assignment football is coached at the Peewee level. Anyone notice the changes at linebacker this spring?

pingkr62 writes:

I think a 6 or 7 win season is possible. If we can avoid too many injuries to key players, we have a chance. If we can make it to a bowl game, the extra practice will be HUGE! G.B.O.!!!

golfman1975 writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

I'm gonna miss the defensive coachs this season. Especially Curly.

what about Mo and Larry?

Geofffourmyle writes:

I think we win 8 games.

Walt

UT '81

VolsFan82 writes:

Does anybody have an ETA on when Paul Harris, Vincent Dallas and Jacob Carter will be back? This situation as bad as it is does give other WRs a chance to step up and show the coaches that they're worthy of playing time.

tturley#297658 writes:

This feels like 2000 all over again... when Joey Matthews started, played one half of football, and was retired to the bench for AJ Suggs, until about the fifth game when Casey Clausen took over.... this time it will be Worley > Peterman > Hubbs. Let's hope for one big upset this year. If anybody can lead us out of this funk, BuTch can!

Lizardgrad89 writes:

This is the time of the year for optimism, so I'm not going to burst anyone's bubble. Yet.

NYCApple writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

This is the time of the year for optimism, so I'm not going to burst anyone's bubble. Yet.

You might pinch some dudes bottoms though....littlegrad89 likes him some sweaty dudes, stuffed, pounded, etc...

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