Much has been said recently about the inability of the incoming receivers to separate themselves from the pack.
Both Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe and wide receivers Coach Trooper Taylor have been very critical of their performance to date.
After a Saturday's scrimmage Cutcliffe had this to say about Junior Wide Receiver Kenny O'Neal:"Right now, he doesn't know what he's doing. He couldn't play for me right now."
Factor in that Kenny had missed several days of valuable practice time leading up to the game due to a hamstring issue and that isn't very surprising. In fact I believe Cutcliffe was alluding to that in his statement.
On freshman receiver Todd Campbell: “Todd is a little ways back because Todd is not competing how I like for them to compete. He knows that.” Taylor said. “I think he’s in awe of some of these guys that have come in. He needs to do a better job of playing fast.”
It isn't that difficult to over-analyze the comments made thus far by coaches as we Tennessee fans are itching for any news indicative of how our beloved Volunteers will fare this coming season.
High School Quarterback turned receiver Gerald Jones was not impressive early but has been spectacular as of late.
“The thing that got him is that he didn’t understand the little things about a receiver running routes … because he had been playing quarterback,” Taylor said. “He’s improved his hands a great deal and he’s athletic.”
“If he can stay healthy, he’ll be ready to play because he’s really sharp,” Taylor said of Jones.
Recently Taylor has also been complimentary of O'Neal.
“Kenny O’Neal can outrun a spotted ape,” Taylor said. “You’ve never seen a spotted ape because they’ve never been caught on tape. They’re too fast. That’s what Kenny can do. He can stretch the field.”
Less than a week ago Taylor was also very critical of sophomore Quintin Hancock. But recently has said that he’s pleased with junior Josh Briscoe and sophomores Quintin Hancock and Austin Rogers as the Vols complete their second full week of preseason camp.
Freshman Ahmad Paige has been the receiver least talked about which leads me to bleieve he will red-shirt. He will be a player down the road there is no question. Taylor has said of him: “He’s got to learn how to practice, He’s never done a three-hour practice at the pace that we’ve been on. Very talented. Probably got the most talent overall as far as speed and ability to separate. “But he’s got to practice faster and he hasn’t learned how to do that yet.”
Paige, who’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, would obviously benefit from adding some weight.
“You could slide him under the door right now,” Taylor said.Brent Vinson figures to see a lot of playing time this fall as the heralded 5 star Hargrave Military school prospect is needed desperately to stretch the field for the Volunteers. “Brent Vinson can play fast,” Taylor said. “He’s got to forget everything he learned at Hargrave and start over.
“It’s like deprogramming and building back up. He is a playmaker. The fans will be glad we signed him. He will help us this year.”