Tennessee receivers coach Zach Azzanni is taking over a unit that has very limited experience on game day. While it may test his patience at times, he also notes that there is a significant upside as well.
"There was no foundation there," Azzanni told TimesFreePresss.com after Thursday morning's practice.
"They're all young. They didn't play, so they had no idea what they were doing. I have a bunch of guys that really have no foundation. I just get to kind of mold them my way, because there's no habits yet. They're just out there, so I get to put my stamp on them."
As cliche as it sounds, there is an upside to being able to take a fresh chunk of clay and molding it into exactly what you're looking for. But that also means that you'll be constantly kneading the clay until it fits your final vision, and that's the approach that Azzanni has taken with this group of receivers.
"You can't let them breathe, and you can't give them an inch." Azzanni explained, noting that you've got to be demanding even with the upperclassmen on the roster.
"They're 18- to 22-year-old kids, and they'll take what you give them. You've got to be on them all day, you've got to be demanding and you can't compromise. We say the most committed guy and the least committed guy, we're not coming down...they're coming up."
What they may be lacking in experience, they make up for with persistence. That trait has Azzanni looking forward to the next few years with these guys.
"They might not know what they're doing, and they might not know how the pace the practice is going yet, but they're coming back for more. They're living in my office, they're living in their meeting room, they're trying to get better and I can appreciate that. I can coach that."