He's Moore than capable

Tennessee's football coaches are thrilled. They were expecting less; they got Moore.

Specifically, they got Denarius Moore, who may be the most pleasant surprise of the Vols' preseason camp. Routinely overshadowed by heralded Tatum (Texas) teammate Lennon Creer in high school, the 6-1, 185-pound freshman has been turning heads since he arrived on the UT campus in June.

Moore caught a 27-yard touchdown pass against the first-team defense and a 21-yard non-scoring pass against second-teamers in Saturday night's full-scale scrimmage. He also had a spectacular 95-yard kickoff return nullified by a penalty. Moreover, his grasp of the game has impressed Tennessee's coaches.

"He's a solid player that has some savvy," offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said. "He's really fast He's got the physical tools. But what I like most about him is that he's got some understanding of how to play football. He's making strides in every direction because of that."

Head coach Phillip Fulmer agrees, recently referring to Moore as "a very mature athlete, ahead of his years."

Even being ahead of his years, Moore has not yet grasped Tennessee's entire offensive package. Nor have the other rookie receivers. That's why the Vol staff is going to try a "menu" approach, selecting a few items (plays) for each of the freshman wideouts to digest for the time being.

"We're going to obviously have to," Cutcliffe said. "We're still fighting a battle of people not being where they're supposed to be. We're going to find a way hopefully to get the ball to some guys we think can make plays."

One guy who already is making plays this preseason is sophomore Austin Rogers. He led all receivers in catches (four) and receiving yards (56) in Saturday night's scrimmage.

"Austin's a good football player," Cutcliffe said. "I'd like to have seen him make that catch there at the end (broken up by Nevin McKenzie). It was a tough catch but we've got to have guys make those plays. Austin is a good football player who can do a lot of things for us at receiver."

Rogers and Moore weren't the only wideouts who did some good things Saturday night. Juniors Josh Briscoe and Kenny O'Neal showed up on occasion.

"Josh Briscoe and Austin Rogers showed some flashes," Fulmer said. "Denarius Moore is going to be good. It was good to finally get Kenny O'Neal the ball a time or two. Those guys give us a chance to make plays."


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