Oct 19, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Marquez North (8) catches a pass while being defended by South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Ahmad Christian (4) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 23 to 21. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Today On Rocky Top: Vols To Be More Explosive This Season?

From the Boston Herald

Tennessee’s offense is better equipped to make the kind of splash it failed to produce last season.

The Volunteers struggled to deliver big gains – what coach Butch Jones refers to as “splash plays” – while going 5-7 last fall for its fourth straight losing season. Tennessee had only 11 plays from scrimmage that went at least 40 yards, down from 19 in 2012.

The development of sophomore wide receiver Marquez North and the arrival of a talented recruiting class offer the potential for more excitement this year.

“People might be sleeping on us now, but we’ve got some playmakers and all sorts of talent,” wide receiver Von Pearson said. “We’re going to make some plays.”

Read more at the Boston Herald

From the Times Free Press

If you’re ever near the wide receivers at Tennessee’s football practices, you’re likely going to hear Von Pearson’s voice.

His teammate will run a slant route with the correct form or make a nice catch, and the first-year receiver is shouting encouragement.

A peek into Pearson’s path to the Volunteers explains why.

Consider this: At one point, Pearson was out of football and working at a McDonald’s and the Busch Gardens theme park near his hometown in Virginia.

A couple of years later, he’s making a one-handed catch in a Tennessee spring practice that landed him on the list of the day’s top 10 plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

“There’s some guys, you just like to be around them,” Tennessee receivers coach Zach Azzanni said following Sunday’s practice. “You can’t get him down. I like players that come out and get me hyped up sometimes. I’m always the guy getting everybody going.

“It’s a great infectious enthusiasm.”

As he’s shown since enrolling at Tennessee in January, Pearson has some talent, too.

He’s consistently trotted onto the practice field with the first-team offense dating back to the spring, and Pearson is a one of the reasons coaches feel the Vols will have more playmakers on offense in 2014.

Read more at the Times Free Press

From the Miami Herald

Tennessee coach Butch Jones says he occasionally feels as though he’s running an expansion team because the Volunteers have altered their roster so much since the end of last season.

He can only hope the Vols don’t produce the usual results of an expansion team.

Tennessee opens training camp Friday with a roster that features a 32-man recruiting class ranked among the top five in the nation by multiple services. Many newcomers will have prominent roles as the Vols attempt to end a string of four straight losing seasons.

Read more at the Miami Herald

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