“Thoughts about Redshirting”

No media type, not even a columnist, has ever had an in-depth discussion with a coach about redshirting, the process by which a player is allowed to sit out a year and come back bigger and stronger than ever, with the requisite number of years available. It’s a subject that’s not likely to come up in recruiting, unless the player brings it up.

That thought came up after talking to Keith DeLong one day and remembering that his uncle, Ken, was a sophomore in 1966. He was a talented receiver, with a great deal of potential, but Austin Denney’s exceptionally long shadow loomed over the tight end position.

Ken DeLong, the reasoning went, was too good a prospect for mere mop-up duty.

No one knows how Doug Dickey, or even one of his assistants, maybe, brought up the prospect of sitting out a year, but Ken did, and the rest is history. Denney made All-America in 1966. Ken started in 1967, 1968, and 1969 and was an All-SEC selection his junior and senior seasons.

Vol fans may have worried when Denney turned in his jersey No. 84 after the 1966 Gator Bowl. They shouldn’t have.

Here came Ken DeLong, in jersey No. 82, with three years eligibility remaining.

If you work things right, there’s a “new version” of nearly everybody in the wings. There are exceptions, of course, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016