Former Knoxville Catholic QB Mike Wegzyn says he’s transferring from UMass to UT

Mike Wegzyn (UMass photo)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMike Wegzyn, who played prep football at Knoxville Catholic High School, is transferring from Massachusetts to Tennessee.

Wegzyn, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound quarterback, announced the news on his Twitter account.

Wegzyn graduated from UMass in three years and will have two years of eligibility remaining. He played in 21 games for the Minutemen, starting 14.

Wegzyn’s older brother Matt played tight end at the University of Tennessee.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones and at least two of his staff members have children who attend Knoxville Catholic.

Tennessee currently has four scholarship quarterbacks battling for the starting job. Wegzyn should be eligible to play immediately, but will have to work to push his way into the mix this summer.

Wegzyn’s arrival does offer coaches some breathing room in the event that one of the four quarterbacks decides to transfer during the offseason.

Orange & White game weather forecast: Just about perfect

The Vols in Neyland Stadium (photo by Adam Lau, KNS)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If Tennessee doesn’t draw 60,000 fans to the Orange & White game on Saturday, no one will be able to blame the weather.

The forecast calls for sunny skies and warm temperatures on Saturday. The Weather Channel says it should be 76 degrees when the Vols kick off at 3 p.m. The high could reach 79 degrees in the afternoon.

(After this winter, we shouldn’t be picky, but that’s almost too hot.)

Coach Butch Jones canceled the practice scheduled for Friday, although it’s likely the Vols will still do a walk-through to prepare for Saturday’s scrimmage.

UT has a full page of parking and logistical details for Saturday.

Check out some video of Thursday’s practice below. (Watch in your highest available HD settings for best results.)

Orange & White game will showcase current Vols, but former players readying for halftime flag football game

Butch Jones yells instructions during practice last week (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee has released the rosters for a halftime flag football game between former Vols scheduled for halftime of the Orange & White Game.

The seven-on-seven exhibition could be just as interesting as the tackle football.

As some of the listed players are in the neighborhood of 60 years old, we have to imagine that many on the roster will be “honorary” captains who won’t see much of the field.

Butch Jones said Wednesday that one team captain, Al Wilson, was already “talking junk” to opponents on the white team.

Here’s a link to the rosters for both teams.

Jones also touted a “13-foot, 9-inch” trophy for the winner of the flag football tournament. (Update: Check out video of the giant trophy below.)

Just how tall is the MVP Trophy for the #VFL Flag Football Classic? This tall!

The Vols are back on the practice field Thursday afternoon. Stay tuned for instant updates. We’ll be talking a ton of football beginning at 10 a.m. on the News Sentinel Sports Page. Listen live.

Butch Jones says he has great respect for former Vols coach Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin (AP photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When Lane Kiffin returns to Neyland Stadium on Oct. 25 as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, there is likely to be a swarm of media interest.

But current Vols coach Butch Jones had nothing but good things to say about Kiffin, who was UT’s head coach for one season in 2009 before leaving for Southern California.

“I have tremendous respect for Lane Kiffin and what he’s accomplished,” Jones said on the Paul Finebaum show, which was broadcasting live from Neyland Stadium on Thursday. “He’s a great football coach.”

Jones noted that virtually no one on Tennessee’s roster has a connection to Kiffin or his staff. Last year, there were several seniors recruited by Kiffin.

Most of Finebaum’s interview with Jones covered well-charted ground, but Jones did offer some candor when quizzed about fan expectations for 2014.

Jones said he wants to work at a place with high expectations.

“The expectations are very high, but (fans are) also very well-educated,” Jones said. “They understand we’re in transition.”

Jones closed the interview by calling it an “honor and privilege” to talk to Finebaum, who is a UT graduate and Memphis native.

“I’m a great fan of yours,” Jones said. “Welcome home.”

Tennessee, West Virginia ‘finalizing’ game at Charlotte in 2018 (report)

Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (AP photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee and West Virginia are close to finalizing an agreement to play a neutral-site game at Charlotte in 2018, the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette reported on Tuesday.

UT did not immediately comment on the report.

The newspaper quoted Marcus Hammond, the team’s director of football operations, as saying the deal was close to being finished.

“That would give us a marquee game in a marquee venue. It would be exciting for the fans and the team,” he said.

Tennessee has already announced plans to open the 2015 season in Nashville against UAB and play Virginia Tech at the Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016.

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has said he is interested in pursuing neutral site games. The potential game in Charlotte would likely be played at Bank of America Stadium, which seats 74,000.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones was an assistant at West Virginia in 2005 and 2006.

Tennessee did not immediately comment on the West Virginia report.

Tennessee’s NFL pro day: Crowded field of linemen competing for scouts’ attention

Daniel McCullers (center) visits with Mo Couch (left) during pro day on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery).

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s NFL pro day is underway at the Neyland Thompson Sports Complex on campus.

Scouts have plenty of players to keep tabs on.

The Vols’ entire 2013 offensive line, much of their defensive line, a couple of experienced special-teamers and others will be working out.

The 14 players participating in UT’s pro day.

In all 14 players are going through drills. The list is in the photo at above.

We’ll update the posts periodically with notes and quotes.

Here are some 40-yard dash times, according to UT: Alex Bullard (5.69 seconds), J.R. Carr (5.22), Mo Couch (5.32), Daniel McCullers (5.35), Rajion Neal (4.53), Michael Palardy (4.64), Dontavis Sapp (4.68), Jacques Smith (4.94) and Marlon Walls (5.07).

Bench-press reps at 225 pounds: Bullard, 31; Carr, 21; Couch, 31; McCullers, 27, Corey Miller, 33; Neal, 28; Sapp, 25; Smith, 27; Walls, 21.

Tennessee’s offensive linemen work out on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Here are some offensive linemen numbers from the NFL combine for the sake of comparison.

In addition to the 14 players from the 2013 roster shown above, there are a few other former Vols going through workouts, including defensive backs Eric Gordon and Rod Wilks, defensive lineman Willie Bohannon and a handful of players from other local colleges.

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Today in Tennessee football: Finding out what went right, what went wrong in Saturday’s scrimmage

Brandon Myles operates the JUGS gun as freshman tight end Ethan Wolf pulls down a catch (photo by Evan Woodbery).

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Most Tennessee players received their grades on Monday after coaches spent the weekend reviewing a lengthy scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

When the Vols return to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon (and we hear what coach Butch Jones has to say in post-practice interviews), we’ll know about the winners and losers from Saturday’s session.\

Clearly, the defensive front has some challenges that have been magnified by injuries this spring. But the positive signs at the offensive skill positions have offered optimism for 2014. Saturday’s scrimmage did little to diminish either storyline.

I made a few post-scrimmage changes to the speculative depth chart. All the usual caveats apply, but you can get a sense of the depth concerns on defensive line by looking at all the missing players.

The Vols have 11 days and six more practices until the April 12 Orange & White game. Check out the full offseason calendar here.