Vols' receivers show progress in spring game
Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson were extraordinary talents that both leave huge holes to fill moving forward. Zach Rogers overachieved on a daily basis, and Mychal Rivera stepped up big as an underrated reserve.
None of the listed names return and no player with more than 13 receptions come back to the field. Inexperience will be a key factor in the Vols’ passing game, but there are a few guys that have already opened some eyes.
Of the incredibly young, yet talented group of receivers are junior Vincent Dallas and sophomore Cody Blanc. The two combined for four receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, showing great ability to beat defenders and create space for the deep ball.
“Everybody doesn’t think we really have guys who can run out to the catch and things like that,” said Blanc following the offense’s 95-71 loss to the defense in the annual Orange and White spring game. “But that just shows we have a bunch of guys who haven’t made a name of themselves yet. …we’re all play-makers.”
Blanc was able to take a 15-yard comeback route for a 58-yard score, getting by would-be tacklers and turning on the burners all the way into the end zone.
Quarterbacks Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman both had a difficult time connecting with their targets throughout the game, but Blanc says that’s on the receivers corps – not a matter of ineffectiveness from the field generals.
“I feel the quarterbacks have been very consistent all spring,” said Blanc. “It’s really been us. We’re the ones who have been slow and inconsistent, dropping passes, not being where we’re supposed to be on our routes. Absolutely, we know both quarterbacks can put the ball where it’s supposed to be.
“We still have a long way to go, but there’s definitely qualities that each player has, me personally, that’s a big confidence booster going into the summer.”
Looks for names such as Alton Howard, Jacob Carter, Drae Bowles and Jason Croom to also vie for spots in the rotation, as Jones continues to find replacements for what was a star-studded group in 2012.
*Tyler Waddell attended the Tennessee spring game. All quotes were obtained first-hand.
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