Young wideouts due a chance

Two of the most talented receivers on Tennessee's roster -- freshmen <a target='_new' href='http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=7&p=8&c=1&nid=313913&yr=2002'>Jonathan Wade</a> and <a target='_new' href='http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=7&p=8&c=1&nid=313796&yr=2002'>Chris Hannon</a> -- aren't playing much this fall because of their inexperience.

Two of the most talented receivers on Tennessee's roster -- freshmen Jonathan Wade and Chris Hannon -- aren't playing much this fall because of their inexperience.


But that's about to change.


The progress being made by Wade and Hannon -- coupled with a lack of progress from some of the veteran receivers -- could mean significantly more playing time for the speedy freshmen in the weeks ahead.


''We've worked those freshmen really hard,'' head coach Phillip Fulmer said, adding that Wade is slightly ahead at this stage because he played receiver in high school, whereas Hannon played mostly quarterback.


''They need to be in the mix because they're talented guys,'' offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said.


The coaching staff had hoped that some of UT's veteran receivers would come through this fall. To date, however, only Kelley Washington and Tony Brown have produced. Sanders is losing patience with the others.


''It's getting to the point that some of them are either going to step up or they're not,'' he said. ''We're going to have to do what we have to do. If those young guys pass some of them up, you'll see a lot more of Jonathan Wade and Chris Hannon than you do of some of the older guys.''


Brown leads the Vols in catches (17) and receiving yards (174). Washington missed Games 1 and 2 but caught seven balls for 102 yards in Game 3, giving him the team's best yards-per-catch average (14.6).


Montrell Jones (6 catches, 64 yards) has shown some signs of emerging as a receiving threat but Leonard Scott (4 catches, 39 yards), Jomo Fagan (3 catches, 37 yards) and C.J. Fayton (3 catches, 32 yards) have not performed up to expectations thus far.


Head coach Phillip Fulmer was genereally displeased with the play of the receivers against Florida, noting that: ''Other than Kelley and Tony on a couple of plays, they really didn't make anything happen.''


Making matters worse for the receiving corps is the fact Washington is slowed by a knee sprain and Brown is slowed by a sprained ankle.


''We really missed Tony Brown being full-speed (against Florida),'' Sanders said. ''The first couple of series he was pretty healthy but as the game went on his ankle started bothering him more and more. The second half he may have been half-speed, so he didn't play a whole lot.''


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