Surplus at wideout

The toughest job in Big Orange Country this fall may belong to Latrell Scott.

As the first-year coach of Tennessee's wide receivers, Scott must figure out which four wideouts will form the primary rotation at the position. The fact the Vols have so man quality candidates is making that quite a challenge.

"It is," Scott said recently. "When you've got six or seven guys that are capable of playing, it's going to be tough. But we're going to rotate four guys and, God willing, everybody will stay healthy. During the game it's going to be tough to get to 6 and 7. We're going to play the top guys, and we're going to get the ball in the hands of the guys that are making plays."

With the opener six days away, three players appear locks to be in the four-man rotation because of their success in 2007 – Lucas Taylor (73 catches, 1,000 yards), Austin Rogers (56 catches, 624 yards) and Josh Briscoe (56 catches, 557 yards).

The fourth spot appears to belong to Gerald Jones, who was the leading receiver in Tennessee's three major scrimmages with 14 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, there are some worthy challengers behind The Big Four:

- Quintin Hancock, the best blocker among Vol receivers, caught five balls for 59 yards in UT's final tuneup scrimmage, leading all wideouts in both categories.

- Denarius Moore averaged 15.1 yards per catch last fall, tops among Vol receivers.

- Ahmad Paige, a redshirt freshman who is the Vols' fastest receiver, showed flashes in preseason that he may be ready to live up to his advance billing.

- Tyler Maples, another redshirt freshman, caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown in the Vols' first preseason scrimmage.

- Todd Campbell is yet another redshirt freshman full of untapped potential.

Scott concedes that he has an abundance of quality players from which to choose a top four. That's why he hints that the top four may change from time to time.

"It's going to be a competition each week," he said. "One week 6 could become 4. That's what happens when you've assembled a great group of receivers like this. These (coaches) have done a heck of a job getting these guys on campus, and it's a great problem to have."

With nine guys battling for four spots, you'd think there might be some hard feelings. Scott says that hasn't been the case at all.

"I think they're working together," the Vol aide said. "There's a huge sense of competition among the group but those guys do a great job of making sure each of them knows what to do.

"Three or four of the guys in that group can play three or four positions. Those guys make sure they keep each other on top of what they're supposed to do. They're doing a great job as a group of not letting the competition tear us apart."


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