Baggett excited about coaching wide outs

InsideTennessee.com goes one one one with new Tennessee Wide Receiver Coach Charlie Baggett. Go "Inside" to get his thoughts on his wide receiving corp, his goals for the unit and his thoughts of his first spring football camp in Knoxville.

Ask Tennessee wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett to pass judgment on his receiving corps during spring football and you probably won't get much.

So far, the coach's first spring in Knoxville has not been a front-row seat to an air show, despite the return of senior duo Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore, who combined for 1,220 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009.

With a stable of freshmen receivers looking to break in an equally inexperienced quarterback squad, it's no surprise Baggett's displaying the patience of a monk.

"I think anytime you got a young offensive line, a young quarterback, it's a combination of things that affect the rhythm of the quarterback and passing game," Baggett said. "I don't like to point to one particular group. It's up to the coaches to find out exactly what they can do as far as protection goes and running the routes. If that's being a new staff, I think that's what we're in the process of doing."

Freshmen Matt Milton and Zach Rogers have earned consistent spring play, with both seeing legitimate time in Saturday's scrimmage.

Milton had a pair of touchdown catches to go along with 17 yards on four receptions, while Rogers add 14 yards on two catches.

The absence of Gerald Jones at practice due to a minor ankle injury opened up playing time for Rogers, whose intensity impressed Baggett at Wednesday's practice.

"Today it was Zach Rogers," Baggett said. "When one guy gets hurt another one gets an opportunity to come in. Zach is coming along; I think he's feeling a little more comfortable with the system now. At first he was struggling a little bit, but I'm impressed with how he's coming along."

Milton and Rogers will have to leave a strong impression on Baggett in the spring, especially considering the plethora of talented freshman receivers arriving in Knoxville in the fall.

Five-star recruit Da'Rick Rogers of Calhoun, Ga., four-star Justin Hunter of Virginia Beach, Va. and three-star Ted Meline of North Miami, Fla. are expected to compete in fall camp.

Sophomore Marsalis Teague (13 receptions, 147 yards, 2 TD's in 2009) is also expected to be in the mix.

"I think he's an athletic kid (Teague), he's still learning; his best football is in front of him," Baggett said. "He had an outstanding catch today on a long pass in the end zone that was very impressive."

As for the running backs snagging a few receptions, Baggett was especially soft spoken. In Saturday's scrimmage, only Tauren Poole had two receptions, good for four yards.

"I got enough problems at receiver," Baggett said. "I haven't looked at the running backs that much. I know those guys can catch the football. I don't know how much we'll use them yet."

New defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox earned Baggett's praise following spring scrimmages. The defensive secondary grabbed two interceptions Saturday, while holding the receiving corps to 187 yards between seven different receivers

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"I played against Justin when I was at the University of Washington," Baggett said. "His defenses were always aggressive, very tough and physical. That's what we're seeing this spring, it's very tough on our receivers. He was outstanding at Boise State; I mean his record speaks for itself."

"I think each guy's had his moment," Baggett said. "Especially in scrimmages and game-time situations. In fact the second group was the one that scored the first time on Saturday's scrimmage. That group played better than the first at the beginning. At the end of the scrimmage the first group did some good things. No one group impressed me more than the other. I think we're a team that's going to need a lot of people contribute."


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