One happy wideout

After watching some Southern Cal game film to get an idea what to expect from new Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin's offense, one Vol decided it was time to change ... positions, not schools.

"I went to him first," Brandon Warren said of Kiffin. "I knew from watching USC film and stuff that he likes big receivers."

So, after catching just 10 passes for 85 yards as an under-used tight end in 2008, Warren asked if he could move to wide receiver in 2009.

"I was looking toward my future," the 6-2 230-pound rising junior said. "I felt like I'd be a better wide receiver in this offense than I would be a tight end."

When Kiffin immediately endorsed the position switch, Warren set about improving his speed by shedding his excess weight. In no time flat he trimmed down to 218, 12 pounds below his 2008 playing weight.

"It's easier to cut weight than put it on for me," he explained.

Although he proved to be an exceptionally agile tight end as a freshman at Florida State in 2006 and as a sophomore at UT in 2008, Warren still must prove he has the quickness and maneuverability to play wide receiver at the college level.

"I feel I'm quick enough," he said. "Coach is letting me out there so far, so as long as I'm doing what Coach wants me to do I feel like I'm doing all right."

Although wide receivers tend to run deeper, more complicated pass patterns than tight ends, Warren says the routes he's running this spring really are not so different from the ones he ran last fall.

"About the same," he said. "It's just that you're working in more space. That's something I like. I like being out in space, being isolated with the cornerback."

Lining up at receiver is not a totally new experience for Warren. He occasionally split out wide during his career at nearby Alcoa High School.

"I felt comfortable since high school being out wide," he said. "It's an adjustment, and I've still got some things to work on, but I'm getting better and better every day ... feeling more comfortable. I'm just going to keep grinding till I get there."

Asked to pinpoint the biggest adjustment he has faced so far, Warren smiled.

"Just getting used to being out on an island, not having to deal with the defensive end," he said. "I still have to deal with some linebackers but it's a different scenario than playing with my hand down."

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