Dynamic Dallas

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He didn't touch the ball in Friday's Tennessee football scrimmage, yet sophomore receiver Vincent Dallas had a hand in the biggest play of the day. In fact, he had two hands in it.

Dallas made the key downfield block that sprang tailback Devrin Young for a 35-yard catch/run. Vol coaches were so pleased with the block that they designated Dallas as one of the players to meet with the media after the two-hour workout at Neyland Stadium.

Clearly, the staff mantra that everybody has to block for a play to work wasn't lip service. Dallas proved that even a 5-foot-11, 186-pounder can make a key block if he puts his mind to it.

"That's most important," he said moments after the scrimmage ended. "We (receivers) come to work on that (blocking) every day. It's just effort really."

Star wideout Da' Rick Rogers also failed to record a catch in the scrimmage but also drew praise for his blocking.

Vincent Dallas comes down with his second career catch as a Volunteer at Arkansas.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
With Rogers and Dallas blanked, tight end Mychal Rivera led all scrimmage participants with 4 receptions for 45 yards. Walk-on receiver Jacob Carter added 4 for 38 and mid-term freshman receiver Cody Blanc contributed 4 for 27 yards. Young (3 for 59 yards) and wideout Zach Rogers (3 for 35 yards) had productive afternoons catching the ball, as did tight end Cameron Clear (2 for 20 yards) and tailback Rajion Neal (2 for 16 yards).

Asked who made the big plays on offense, Dallas replied: "Jacob Carter stepped up at receiver today. And we (as a group) made a couple of good blocks."

Wide receiver might be the most inexperienced position on Tennessee's roster. Zach Rogers is the only senior. Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter (sidelined following ACL surgery) and converted cornerback Nyshier Oliver are the only scholarship juniors. As a result, the veteran wideouts stay busy mentoring the younger ones.

"We're all brothers, the receivers," Dallas said. "We all work together. If somebody doesn't know what to do, we just correct 'em."

A two-time all-state pick at Cedar Grove High in Ellenwood, Ga., Dallas had a quiet freshman season at Tennessee last fall. He caught three passes for 37 yards but played in all 11 games before breaking his hand and missing the season finale at Kentucky. Overall, he was somewhat satisfied.

"I learned to do what I needed to do, filling the spot I needed to fill," he said.

The return of Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers, along with the arrival of heralded junior college wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, projects to give Tennessee three of the premier receivers in college football. Asked where he sees himself fitting in with all of this talent, Dallas shrugged.

"I don't really worry about that," he said. "I just come out here and work hard every day, play my part on the team."

Dallas believes that hard work is paying dividends. He can sense improvement in all phases of his play.

"I'm progressing real good," he said. "I just play the speed and give all I can give."

And make the occasional big play-springing downfield block.

InsideTennessee spoke one-on-one with Dallas the first week of spring practice. Check out what he had to say by clicking play below:

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