Many observers figure Tennessee's wide receiver talent may be wasted this fall because of inexperience at quarterback. Robert Meachem isn't one of them. The former prep All-America receiver says the Vol QB situation is going to be just fine.
He should know. He's been catching passes from strong-armed senior C.J. Leak, junior Rick Clausen, walk-on Jim Bob Cooter, redshirt freshman Bo Hardegree, true freshmen Brent Schaeffer and Erik Ainge all summer.
''I have all the confidence in all of 'em,'' Meachem said. ''I have
confidence in everybody that's out there, from the walk-ons to the
scholarship players. I know that, whoever they put in there to do the job,
they're going to get the job done.''
Ainge has made an early impression with his strong arm.
Asked if Ainge's arm is as strong as Leak's, Meachem replied: ''It may be
STRONGER.... Ainge probably doesn't know the coverages right now but when he
lets the ball go, you know it's coming. If you ain't got your hands ready,
you might get your teeth knocked out.''
Ainge's arm is so strong that he purposely held back a bit in some early
''A couple of times we had to tell him to go ahead and throw the ball ...
don't hold back because of us,'' Meachem said. ''We caught him a couple of
times on curl routes holding back. We told him not to hold back because
he'll get picked off that way.''
Whereas Ainge has a superior arm, fellow freshman Schaeffer has shown
''Schaeffer's vision ... if he wanted to take off and run every time, he
really could,'' Meachem said.
Although the summer workouts have been without supervision and without pads,
Meachem has seen enough of the two freshmen to feel they're adjusting well
to their new surroundings.
''They're both adjusting quick to the program,'' he said. ''You got to
expect that. They're quarterbacks, so they've got to be smart anyway....
They've both got bright futures here, so it's going to be competitive.
That's what you want.
''They both bring so much to the table, it's kind of shocking that they're
freshmen (because) they've come in and done so good already.''
Frosh QBs's Impress
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