Trooper's refrain: "Next!"

Playing wide receiver for Trooper Taylor is a lot like sitting down in a barber's chair. You get your turn, then it's time for someone else. Taylor believes this assembly-line approach is necessary as he tries to whittle 11 wideout candidates to five key contributors.

"They understand we're doing business like the barber," Taylor said, pausing briefly before exclaiming, "Next!"

Seniors Jayson Swain and Bret Smith appear to have locked up spots in the five-man rotation, along with junior Robert Meachem. Eight players are vying for the other two spots – senior Stanley Asumnu, juniors Casey Woods and Bill Grimes, sophomores Lucas Taylor, Austin Rogers and Josh Briscoe, redshirt freshman Slick Shelley and true freshman Quintin Hancock.

Hancock's brilliant work in preseason scrimmages has virtually assured him a spot in the top five. Taylor's big-play potential may land him in the top five, as well. Briscoe may have blown his bid when he dropped a pass and lost a fumble in Scrimmage No. 2. Rogers played his way onto the bubble with some good work in the preseason scrimmages. Asumnu, Woods, Grimes and Shelley appear to be longshots.

Trooper Taylor posts each player's catches and drops in the meeting room, along with each one's performance grades. This has proved to be a pretty effective motivational tool.

"The competition has made all of them better," Taylor said. "When they come in the room and see the number of drops and catches they have, and their grades are up there for everybody to see, it puts pressure on them. And they understand that."

Although Swain, Smith and Meachem have the most experience, Taylor vows to play the "hot guy," even if it's one of the younger wideouts.

"No question," the Vol aide said. "If you've got somebody with a rhythm or some momentum, I'm going to play those guys."

Even with 11 receivers available, Taylor says only five will play in most games.

"Yeah, that's the plan," he said. "Look at the pros. How many times do you see Peyton Manning throwing to somebody other than Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne? Not often."

Tennessee may not have a Marvin Harrison or a Reggie Wayne but the Vols have some guys who are capable of being productive receivers.

"I want to make sure those guys go out and compete every down," Taylor said. "If you're not getting it done, put another guy in."

In other words … NEXT!


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