Changing flight

Veteran wide out Gerald Jones meet veteran NFL Wide Receiver ooach Kippy Brown. The two have joined forces to produced a dangerous offensive weapon for the Vols for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Virginia Tech and for next fall for UT. Go "Inside" this Bowl feature story brought to you by InsideTennessee,com. You're number one source for UT Bowl Coverage.

The junior has not only had to undergo a change at head coach this past year, but a change at wide receivers coach as well.

Frank Wilson, who had served as wide receivers coach all season under Lane Kiffin, was hired by LSU on December 6 to replace Larry Porter as running backs coach.

On December 19, a mere 12 days before the Volunteers meet the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, Kippy Brown was named as Wilson's replacement.

Brown previously served two stints as wide receivers coach at Tennessee from 1983-1989 under Johnny Majors, as well as wide receivers/assistant coach under Philip Fulmer from 1993-1994.

So far for Jones, the transition has been business as usual.

"He's very professional, as you can tell he's just like coaches in the NFL," Jones said. "He's very smart, he's catching onto this offense faster than anybody I know."

Jones expressed his belief that the limited amount of time Brown was given to prepare the receiving core for Virginia Tech has not hindered the group at the slightest.

"He's (Brown) helping us on our fundamentals more than anything. We let Coach Kiffin really correct us on our plays if we mess up on anything. I don't think it's going to hinder us at all."

The senior cornerback was ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game by the NCAA on Christmas Eve.

Virgil, the most experienced cornerback on the Virginia Tech defense, started in 10 of 12 regular season games for the Hokies, racking up 36 tackles, including one sack and one interception.

Sophomore Eddie Whitley is expected to replace Virgil, with redshirt sophomore Cris Hill also a possibility to see some snaps.

Hill started in place of Virgil earlier in the season after the senior suffered a minor knee injury during the Alabama game.

"I don't know how much his backup has played this year, but we'll definitely take shots at him," Jones said. "He will have to make us respect him."

A win over the 12th ranked Hokies could be a big statement going into the senior season for two of the Volunteer's distinguished wideouts.

"It's big for me and Denarius," Jones said. "Going into our senior season it's real big because it's a stepping stone. This is what we come off of next year. We want to leave on a good note."

Jones didn't stop short on preparation for the upperclassmen, but also touched on the role he has played in helping the younger receivers adapt to bowl practice.

"You know Marsalis Teague, he's right behind me as a freshmen. I'll call a play, shovel right 13-weak nickel, who you got? If he don't get it right its 10 pushups, we get on to them. I got to trust that when I go out he'll have my back. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll do a great job."

Tennessee meets Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on December 31 at 7:30 ET.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories