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Tennessee Vols TEs proving potent despite being dismissed by some

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Tennessee was all atwitter about a refreshed group of wide receivers before the season. However, not even Elon Musk would have predicted the impact that the Vols’ tight ends would have this season.

With a bevy of capable wideouts and slot receivers, some analysts toyed with the idea of a “true” four-wide receiver formation. That doesn’t seem likely nor necessary. Why? UT’s tight ends continue to be a big part of the Vols’ passing attack, led by senior Jacob Warren, who caught three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown in a 41-20 win over South Carolina on Saturday. Warren, who has caught five passes for 54 yards and two touchdown passes this season, nearly reeled in another touchdown catch against South Carolina. However, the ball was slightly underthrown leading to an incomplete pass.

“You have to have a little bit of success to be able to feel confident in yourself and kind of what you’re doing out there on the field,” Warren said during The Vol Report. “And so it’s good to have games like last night where, you know, you have some good blocks, right? And you kind of get recognized for some good blocks, but then also make some plays on the perimeter, make some plays in the red zone. And yeah, definitely helps going into the rest of the season and just kind of being some encouragement and just being some motivation to kind of go out there and continue on this this trend that we’re on right now.”

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Tennessee’s tight ends should be quite confident. Fellow tight end McCallan Castles has caught seven receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown after transferring from UC-Irvine to replace former Vol Princeton Fant, who is currently with the Dallas Cowboys.

Warren wasn’t the only Tennessee player gobbling up yards with the ball in his hand against South Carolina. The Vols racked up 477 yards, 238 rushing and 239 passing. How’s that for balance?

“Offense obviously able to move the ball, score some points, control a line of scrimmage which is something that you know we had talked about last week, just controlling that line of scrimmage and being able to run the ball efficiently,” Warren said when asked about the keys to Tennessee’s success.”

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The Vols will have to adapt as Tennessee announced that receiver Bru McCoy will be out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury during the game that required surgery on Sunday. The severity of the injury was obvious by the Vols’ reaction as McCoy was carted off of the field.

“You can see how much he meant to us just by the reaction of the team, kind of look on some of our faces,” Warren said. “I was pretty upset about it. I’m right there, right? I turn around, obviously, see what had happened and, like, just breaks my heart, man, immediately….that kid would would die for us, right? Like, really would die for us. Like, we’d go out there and put his life on the line to for his teammates. Unfortunately, it happens to him because he was going to have an amazing season. He was having an amazing season. “

Even though he’s a fifth-year senior, McCoy’s tenure as a Vol might not be over. He still has one season of eligibility remaining because of the extra year added due to Covid-19 in 2020.

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