WRs feast on new 'menu'

For Tennessee's young receivers, the first three weeks of preseason drills was like visiting a 100-item buffet. There was simply too much to digest.

Conversely, recent workouts have been more like ordering a burger and fries at their favorite drive-through.

That's the so-called "menu" approach in a nutshell. After giving first-year wideouts the entire offensive package in Weeks 1, 2 and 3, Vol coaches have been paring the play list to a few assignments the youngsters can actually (A) remember and (B) execute.

Is the menu approach working? Yes. Junior college transfer Kenny O'Neal, along with true freshmen Brent Vinson, Denarius Moore, Gerald Jones, Todd Campbell, Ahmad Paige and Tyler Maples are having a lot more success now that they only have to memorize a few select pieces of the offense.

"They're just getting parts of it," wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said following this morning's kicking scrimmage. "This will help us against Cal (in the Sept. 1 opener). You're not having 30 checks or 40 checks to one play. Now you're more limited. Obviously, the less they have to learn, the better."

Basically, the UT staff has stopped asking the rookies to execute dozens of plays they half understand and is now asking them to execute a dozen or so plays they can fully understand. That has the first-year wideouts making fewer mistakes and more catches. As a result, they are more relaxed and more productive in practice.

"Probably the two guys who have (benefited) the most from it would be Brent and Kenny," Taylor said, referring to Vinson and O'Neal. "They have gotten so much better now that we've limited some of the things they have to do."

The preliminary Game 1 depth chart – though subject to change – shows sophomore Austin Rogers, junior Lucas Taylor and junior Josh Briscoe as the first-team receivers. Sophomore Quintin Hancock, freshman Denarius Moore and freshman Gerald Jones are listed as second-teamers. Junior Kenny O'Neal, freshman Brent Vinson and senior Casey Woods are listed as third-teamers. Freshman Ahmad Paige is the only fourth-teamer listed.

Jones was very productive in Tennessee's full-scale scrimmages but missed today's practice due to a sore hamstring.

"Hopefully, we'll have him back out there on Monday," Taylor said. "He ran a little bit today (Saturday) but hopefully he'll get back out there Monday."


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