Tape It Up: Tennessee: Heating the Sibling Rivalry

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Tennessee: Heating the Sibling Rivalry

The sibling rivalry between Tennesse senior Brad Cottam and sophomore Jeff Cottam has just increased exponentially. The brothers are both listed at the tight end position and after Tuesday night, the younger Cottam has a chance to show up his older brother. Brad will miss most of the season after injuring his left wrist in a team scrimmage earlier this week, sidelining him at least until late October. In his absence, Jeff should see a lot more playing time.

Brad had a solid lead over his brother on the depth chart heading into the season. He had a career-high 14 receptions for 182 yards in 2006, averaging 14 yards per catch. He caught a 48-yard ball at Vanderbilt to record the longest catch by a Volunteer tight end since 2002. After the team's top tailback was suspended for a strangely undetailed reason, Brad was expected to step up his production this season as the second tight end on the roster, but that burden will now fall to Tennessee's remaining healthy tight ends.

Senior Chris Brown will get the start after leading last year's tight ends with 31 catches for 235 yards. Without senior David Holbert, who is out for the sseason after tearing his ACL on Aug. 10, two underclassmen will have to pick up the slack in the backup role. Behind Brown now sit Cottam the younger, who appeared in all 13 games last season but did not record a start or a statistic of note, and freshman Luke Stocker, who redshirted in 2006.

Tight end will be an extremely important position for the Vols this season, as the team suddenly finds itself without tailback LaMarcus Coker and with a long list of inexperienced wide receivers. While the wide outs battle each other for playing time rights, the tight ends will most likely see more balls thrown their way.

Jeff Cottam has a week to steal the limelight from his big brother. With the lack of depth at that position staring the Vols squarely in the face, they will be playing up the sibling rivalry in Knoxville.

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