WRs 'press' on without fanfare

This time last year Tennessee's receivers were getting a lot of negative press about being underachievers. That's not the case this spring. The 2007 wideouts aren't getting much press of any kind.

There's a simple reason very little is being written about the current crop of receivers: Very little is expected of them. Minus Robert Meachem, Jayson Swain and Bret Smith – the top three pass catchers of 2006 – the wideout corps is considered a non-factor for '07.

Never one to overlook a motivational tool, receivers coach Trooper Taylor is using this "pub snub" to fire up his troops.

"I tell those guys: ‘There's not going to be one thing written about how good you guys are. There's not going to be one of you put up for all-conference. Your job is to go out there and put yourself on the map.'

"I think they'll answer that challenge, I really do."

First, though, the returning wideouts will need to make significant strides in their areas of weakness. Taylor concedes that "Each one of them has something they need to improve on."

For instance:

"Lucas Taylor needs to be able to separate," Taylor said. "He can't be a guy who'll catch the ball and fall down. He's got to make the big play when he gets the opportunity. He made the long catch against Air Force last year, then he kind of faded away.

"Josh Briscoe has got to get tougher. I can't have a guy out there who catches the ball, then fumbles it or won't go across the middle. He understands that.

"Austin Rogers can't stay in the training room. You can't make the club in the tub. He's got to stay healthy.

"Slick Shelley has got to show up. He's got to come out there and make plays. He can catch the ball but I've got to have somebody who can do something with it after the catch.

"JaKouri Williams has to be a guy we can put at different spots. He has to learn the whole deal."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories