Worthy of note

Tennessee receivers coach Trooper Taylor thought his veterans would get a lot of snaps this season. He thought they would get open. He thought they would get some balls thrown their way as the 2007 season progressed.

He was right on all counts. Lately, however, the Vol wideouts are starting to get something their position coach never envisioned ... recognition. No wonder. Junior Lucas Taylor ranks among the Southeastern Conference leaders in catches per game (6.8) and receiving yards per game (103.0). Sophomore Austin Rogers and junior Josh Briscoe (28 catches each) also are proving to be more productive than expected.

"They've gotten better each week, and that's what you want as a coach – to see improvement," Trooper Taylor said. "Lucas and those guys have really gone out and made some plays. They've got to continue to do that."

Routinely pegged as the team's greatest weakness in preseason media assessments, Tennessee's wideouts worked like zealots in August to prove themselves capable. Their position coach hopes they'll continue to show such diligence now that the point has been made.

"I told them, 'You don't go to bed a circle and wake up a square.' I want to see the guys practicing the same way they have all year," Trooper Taylor noted.

As the wideouts' collective reputation has increased, so has their self-esteem. Instead of worrying about making mistakes, they're now focusing on making plays.

As Trooper Taylor said: "It's all about confidence."


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