Wideout search continues

Head coach Phillip Fulmer will continue his search for playmakers at the wideout position when the Vol football team returns to the practice field today after an off day on Wednesday.

Converted safety Mark Jones continues to impress as a receiver. He raced 65 yards on an end-around during the scrimmage portion of Tuesday's practice. Transplanted tailback Derrick Tinsley also shows occasional flashes.

Still, Tony Brown is UT's only proven receiver. He caught 39 balls last season, tying for the team lead with tight end Jason Witten. Brown averaged a so-so 12.2 yards per catch, however, and scored just one touchdown all season.

Montrell Jones chipped in 22 grabs for 13.9 yards per catch last fall. Tinsley, then playing tailback, averaged 12.8 yards on 20 catches.

One Vol who seems to be coming on is C.J. Fayton. After catching just six balls in 12 regular-season games last fall, he caught five passes in the Peach Bowl game. He seems to be building on that momentum this spring.

Two rising sophomores -- 6-4, 180-pound Chris Hannon and world class speedster Jonathan Wade -- have yet to prove themselves. Wade is missing spring practice to participate in track.

Fulmer sees occasional signs of progress but nothing that suggests the receiving corps is ready to contribute significantly. When asked recently if he is encouraged, he shrugged.

''Some days I think we're making progress, then we have a scrimmage (March 14) and we don't make any big plays,'' he said. ''There was a drop and four or five opportunities to make a play and we didn't make it. We're result-oriented.''


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