Hancock's hope

If there were any truth to the old axiom "You play like you practice," Quintin Hancock would be an All-SEC candidate.

Instead, Tennessee's senior wide receiver is an enigma. Every year he stars in preseason - running great routes, getting separation, making the routine catches, making the tough catches, making the clutch catches.

Then the season starts, and he does a disappearing act that would make a Las Vegas magician jealous. After a typically strong preseason in 2008, he played in all 12 games last fall without making a single reception.

Given the need for a big receiver in Tennessee's quick-passing attack, the 6-3, 207-pound Hancock could be a vital Vol this fall ... if he could just play like he practices. So, what must he do to transfer his practice-field success to the game field and go out with a bang his senior year?

"I've just got to be consistent throughout camp and throughout practice for the first game," he said this week. "I think it will carry over."

Quintin Hancock wasn't the only Vol offensive player to underachieve last fall, of course. Just about every skill player struggled in '08 as Tennessee posted its worst offensive numbers since the 1964 team averaged a mere 152.0 yards and 8.0 points per game.

Like his Vol teammates, Hancock believes the attack will be rejuvenated in '09. He is impressed with the new coaching staff and the new pro-style scheme. The thing he likes best, though, is the quest for balance.

"It's the mixture of the run and the pass," he said. "You never know (what's coming). We go deep a lot and we also run a lot. I like that about it."

Although fellow senior Austin Rogers will miss the season with a torn ACL and junior Denarius Moore remains out indefinitely with a broken bone in his foot, Hancock believes UT's receiver corps will be very good. He's impressed with freshmen Nu'Keese Richardson, Marsalis Teague and Zach Rogers.

"I think they're great talents," Hancock said. "They've got to keep coming along but I think they're going to be real good."

Hancock was understandably encouraged that the first- and second-team offenses hung six touchdowns on the first- and second-team defenses in Saturday's scrimmage. Although the passing game was sharp, he credits much of the success to an improved rushing attack.

"We just wanted to be a lot more physical in the run game," he said. "I think we came out and did that."

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