Trooper on new receivers

Tennessee's veteran receivers have an edge in experience but the Vols' first-year wideouts have a significant advantage in speed. Position coach Trooper Taylor has noticed.

"They are really fast," he said of the newcomers. "I teased 'em the other day and said, 'These guys would outrun a spotted ape.' One of the guys said, 'Coach, I've never seen a spotted ape.' I said, 'That's because they've never been caught on tape. That's how fast they are.'"

The new cast of wideouts includes juco transfer Kenny O'Neal, prep school grad Brent Vinson and recent high school grads Gerald Jones, Ahmad Paige, Tyler Maples, Anthony Anderson and Darnius Moore. The key for them is this: Can they learn as quickly as they move?

"We understand how fast these guys are but here's the thing: If you're fast and you don't know where you're going, that means you're way out of position," Taylor said. "And I don't need that. Speed can hurt you if you don't contain it when it's supposed to be contained.

"For instance, we run five steps on the hitch. You can't go out there and run seven because you think you're so fast you can get to that depth. That can't happen. A lot of fast guys try to compensate with speed but you've got to put it ALL together – getting off press coverage, reading coverages and route-running."

Because they already have experience beyond the high school level, O'Neal and Vinson seem to have a significant advantage over the other first-year receivers. Taylor says there's a disadvantage attached to that, however.

"There's two sides to that coin," the Vol aide said. "One, they've gotten the experience of being away from home and playing in a college atmosphere. That's helped 'em.

"But the flip side is that they've been taught by another college coach, so now we've got to reprogram them to do things the way we want. That's not to say the programs they were in were not good places but they're here now and they've got to do it the Tennessee way.

"When you've got habits and you've got to retrain those habits, that's tough to do. That's what those two (O'Neal and Vinson) are struggling with right now. They want to call things what they've called them before but they have to speak the same language Erik Ainge and the coaches are speaking. Otherwise, we won't be on the same page."


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