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Wes Rucker

Stories by Wes

It wasn’t a Third Saturday in October to forget. It was a Third Quarter in October to forget for the University of Tennessee football team.

Derek Dooley is the son of a legendary Southeastern Conference football coach. Dooley knows, respects and appreciates history.

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl has worked without a formal contract for more than a month, but his boss said both sides are “in the process of finalizing” a new contract.

Nick Saban is personable. He’s funny. He likes playing golf, and he loves spending time every summer with friends and family on Georgia’s Lake Burton. Yes, Nick Saban. That Nick Saban.

Jim Chaney was taken aback when a reporter told him Wednesday night that he'd spoken with University of Tennessee true freshman guard James Stone earlier in the day.

KNOXVILLE — Luke Stocker could be in the NFL right now, but he’s not. He could be the University of Tennessee’s leading pass-catcher, but he’s not. He could be the most frustrated man on campus, but he’s not. Not anymore, anyway.

A weekend off left many University of Tennessee football players sitting on the couch for hours Saturday.

As Montori Hughes did barrel rolls after Tuesday’s practice, one reporter asked Tennessee coach Derek Dooley if that meant the sophomore defensive tackle’s ankle was good enough to play against Alabama on Saturday.

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley said moments after the Volunteers’ blowout loss at Georgia that true freshman quarterback Tyler Bray had “earned the chance” to get more meaningful snaps in a game.

Redshirt freshman guard JerQuari Schofield’s expected return to the field Saturday against Alabama, at least in some capacity, would give Tennessee football coaches a rare opportunity to tinker with the offensive line.

Few people would blame Derek Dooley for keeping a great deal of his attention aimed at the future.

KNOXVILLE — It’s no stretch to call Eric Gordon’s Saturday a bad day.

They proudly sported goofy haircuts, made fun on each other and took hardly anything seriously.

As coach Derek Dooley promised, the Tennessee football Volunteers attacked each other with a physical practice Tuesday at Haslam Field, starting their off-week work.

The University of Tennessee football team is 2-4 overall and winless in three Southeastern Conference games heading into its off week.

The University of Tennessee football team said the right things all week. The Volunteers admitted their last-play loss at LSU was brutal, but they steadfastly maintained their full focus had moved onto a seemingly much more winnable game at Georgia.

Early in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 41-14 loss at Georgia, seven of Tennessee’s 11 offensive players on the field were true freshmen.

Georgia jumped on Tennessee early and didn’t let up until the latter stages of a 41-14 win.

Coaches and players from both proud programs admit that Tennessee and Georgia both are desperate to leave Sanford Stadium today with a victory.

Tunnel vision and paranoia often combine in college football coaches to cause hyperbole.

Chris Walker has had a fine college career at Tennessee.

Justin Hunter didn’t hesitate for even a half-second Wednesday afternoon when asked about the best part of his game right now.

For today’s “Wednesdays with Wes,” we’ll chat with the pride or Paris.

Sack specialist

Vols’ Simms getting lot of practice

Moments after tossing a game-ending, game-winning touchdown pass against UAB on Sept. 25, Matt Simms sprinted away from everyone else on the field.

Not surprisingly, the University of Tennessee football team wasn’t particularly sharp to start Tuesday’s practice at Haslam Field.

On Monday, Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley did a lot of moving on.

Coach Derek Dooley isn’t ready to discuss publicly what Tennessee would do if left offensive tackle Dallas Thomas’s ankle doesn’t heal before Saturday’s game at Georgia.

What could the University of Tennessee football team possibly do one day after one of the most bizarre, stomach-turning, psychologically-punishing losses in program history?

LSU wins on redoux

UT last-play penalty sets up Tigers score

Coach Derek Dooley jumped into sophomore cornerback Marsalis Teague’s arms. Sophomore safety Janzen Jackson ran 100 yards across the field to celebrate with his family, who finally saw him play a college football game in his native Louisiana.

Derek Dooley has spent seven of his 15 coaching years in Louisiana — three as Louisiana Tech’s head coach after four as an LSU assistant.

Jim Chaney sat in a film room early this week, and he didn’t like what he saw.

The University of Tennessee football team won’t step foot in Tiger Stadium today.

The University of Tennessee defensive line Chuck Smith coach was clearly contemplating how to temper his response to this simple question: “How good can Jacques Smith be?”

KNOXVILLE — I keep intending to interview just one University of Tennessee football player for this weekly “Wednesday’s with Wes” web special, but this week provided another can’t-miss opportunity to interview two Volunteers.

Gerald Jones is one of the University of Tennessee’s most extroverted, emotional football players, but he whispered Tuesday night when talking about his emotions on Sept. 4.

Gerald Jones has been cleared to practice today with a splint on his surgically repaired broken hand, but Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said the Volunteers’ most experienced wide receiver isn’t a sure bet to play Saturday at LSU.

The University of Tennessee football team hasn’t particularly impressed first-year head coach Derek Dooley during its first four games this season.

Derek Dooley always gives his football teams an extra day off during one week of the season.

Vols escape in two OTs

Simms-to-Moore overcomes Blazers

KNOXVILLE — Outclassed in nearly every way, the team with about 60 healthy, eligible players — including its redshirt candidates — mustered up one big play in overtime to win a college football game it had practically no business winning.

There are certain emotions only fellow kickers can completely comprehend.

Prentiss Waggner’s first stint as a starter was every bit as brief as it was embarrassing.

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley laid out this week’s message Monday afternoon in one clear, concise and concerned comment.

UAB (1-2) at Tennessee (1-2), 12:21 p.m., Neyland Stadium.

Matt Simms is from New Jersey, but he doesn’t mean to be rude. The Tennessee starting quarterback is just doing his thing.

It’s nearly impossible to tell Ja’Wuan James is a true freshman until he takes off his football helmet.

KNOXVILLE — For the first installment of “Wednesdays with Wes,” I thought it would be nice to give our loyal TFP readers a two-for-one.

Marques Pair moved up from the scout team to 2-deep status for Tennessee’s football practice Tuesday.

Junior tailback Tauren Poole practiced Tuesday in a no-contact jersey because of a thigh bruise, but the University of Tennessee’s offensive linchpin said he’ll play Saturday against UAB.

Ayres has long been a name associated with pride at the University of Tennessee.

As a freshman, David Oku set a University of Tennessee single-season record for kickoff-return yards.

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