Jones started ahead of Briscoe and Rogers in those first two scrimmages. He justified this promotion by catching five balls for 64 yards in the first, then six balls for 82 yards in the second. That's a total of 11 receptions for 146 yards.
Interestingly enough, that's more receptions and more yards than the combined total of Taylor (1 catch, 11 yards), Briscoe (4 catches, 91 yards) and Rogers (2 catches 21 yards) in the same two scrimmages. Their cumulative stats as a trio come to seven catches for 123 yards.
Clearly, Jones is a good fit for the new West Coast attack first-year offensive coordinator Dave Clawson brought with him from Richmond. Jones also believes his teammates are starting to get comfortable with the new attack scheme.
"I think we did real well," he said of last Saturday night's second preseason scrimmage. "Towards the end we started throwing picks and fumbling the ball but, minus the turnovers, I think we got better from last scrimmage. We actually put the ball in the end zone – we didn't do that last scrimmage – so I think we showed improvement."
Hampered by a pulled hamstring, Jones was ticketed for a redshirt as a true freshman in 2007. He looked so impressive in practice, however, that the coaching staff decided to burn his redshirt and play him the last half of the '07 season. Even in limited action he compiled 11 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Also utilized as a direct-snap tailback, he rushed eight times for 58 yards and two more TDs.
If you polled Tennessee's players, the guy tabbed "Most Likely To Have A Breakout Year" undoubtedly would be Gerald Jones. The 6-0, 185-pound sophomore is thriving in the West Coast scheme, based on his sterling work in preseason scrimmages.
"We try to make it feel like a game," he said. "That's why we've got the 40-second clock. We just try to put ourselves in situations that will happen in the games and not make it like a practice."
If Gerald Jones plays in the games the way he's playing in the scrimmages, Vol opponents will have their hands full ... and the Big Orange just might have itself a new go-to receiver.