Swain on tempo

No area of Tennessee's 2005 football team underachieved more so than the receivers, and no area of the team is more pumped up about the hiring of David Cutcliffe for a second stint as offensive coordinator.

"We're excited about the opportunity we have this off-season and spring to have somebody new, to make new impressions," wideout Jayson Swain said recently. "We've seen what Coach Cutcliffe did with the offenses in previous years – with Peerless (Price) and those guys – so we're really excited to have him and we're ready to work."

Swain wasn't following Tennessee very closely during Cutcliffe's previous rein as coordinator (1993-98) but he knows from talking to the man that things will be different than they were the past few years.

"I know practice is going to be a lot different," Swain said. "The tempo is going to be a lot faster. He's talking about putting up 30 points (per game) minimum. That's a great goal for us. That's what we want to do, too."

Cutcliffe's quarterbacks in his previous UT stint included Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning. He later coached Eli Manning at Ole Miss. The Mannings were picked No. 1 in the NFL Draft following their senior seasons and Shuler was the No. 3 pick following his junior year. That suggests Cutcliffe knows a thing or two about quarterback play.

"That's real encouraging," Swain said. "As a receiver, you want to make big catches and make plays. If the quarterback is on top of his game, you have no trouble being on top of yours."

Tennessee's QBs were nowhere near being on top of their game in 2005.Their play was almost as poor as that of Vol receivers. Both groups must improve if Tennessee is to upgrade its 5-6 record of '05.

"With all of the receivers coming back – Bret (Smith), (Robert) Meachem, (Josh) Briscoe and all – we're real excited to work with Erik (Ainge) or whoever is going to be the quarterback," Swain said. "Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do."

Swain hasn't had much chance to talk with Cutcliffe to date but he was impressed during the time they've had together.

"I like him," the receiver said. "He says to say what mean and mean what you say. That goes a long way. Everybody's in the same boat. We're ready to work together and turn things around."

Asked what he thought was the problem with the 2005 offense, Swain replied: "One thing I think was lacking was the practice tempo. If you speed things up that'll make it a lot easier in the games. I think we'll be hard to guard."

Can Cutcliffe turn things around in one year? Swain thinks so.

"It's a new beginning," he said. "People have a fresh start. Energizing everybody is a plus but mainly it's tempo, getting everything on beat and moving faster."


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