It’s understandable if rising senior Ethan Wolf and the rest of the tight ends have an extra smile going out to practice this spring.
Larry Scott, who coaches the tight ends, was promoted to offensive coordinator over the course of the offseason, giving Wolf’s position coach the keys to calling the offensive plays in 2017. Will that lead to more productivity from this group?
“I know he does like to throw the ball to the tight end just from his past track record, but we’re hoping for that,” Wolf said following Tennessee’s spring practice on Thursday.”We’re going to do whatever we can. If he throws us the ball, we’re going to make every play.”
Scott has an extensive history working with and developing tight ends after coaching the position at South Florida, Miami and now Tennessee. He helped develop Oakland Raiders’ tight end Clive Walford, who caught 77 passes for over over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns during his final two years with the Hurricanes (2013-14). In 2015, Scott also coached Miami tight end David Njoku – who could be a first-round pick in the 2017 draft.
After being named the tight ends coach at UT in 2016, Scott got decent productivity from the Vol tight ends last year, helping Wolf, Jason Croom and Jakob Johnson to 499 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 45 catches. Croom has moved on, but with Wolf entering his senior season as a fourth-year starter, along with some less-proven players such as Johnson, Austin Pope, Eli Wolf, and summer newcomers LaTrell Bumphus and James Brown all in the equation, Scott will have the opportunity to make the position he’s coached the most thrive in 2017.
Ethan Wolf says they’re off to a good start this spring.
“With these first two days in the books, I think we probably, as a collective group in team periods, probably caught close to 13, 14 balls and only one’s been dropped by the four guys that are getting in through the rotations right now,” he said. “So we’re doing a good job at executing the plays when they’re called and we’re going to continue to do that through the spring and hopefully build up a little bit of confidence in the position.”
Confidence is nice, but productivity will be the goal in the fall. Getting this group will be one of several challenges Scott will face in 2017.