KNOXVILLE -- Cordarrelle Patterson makes his wide array of jukes, cuts, spins and open-field dances look so easy.
Sometimes it's easy to forget it all takes its toll on the Tennessee receiver.
The Volunteers' all-purpose star needed an IV at halftime of the Vols' escape of Troy on Saturday, but he capped off a 150-yard first half by turning in just the eighth 200-yard receiving game in Tennessee history.
"Going back and just looking at it just put a big smile on my face," Patterson said Monday of his 219-yard performance. "Doing all that cutting and stuff just ran me out of gas. I don't think I could have did nothing else after that.
"I really don't know [why]. It happened to me before, but I just stayed out and rested a lot. I just needed some energy."
Every time the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior college transfer touches the ball, he gives his team some needed energy. He's electric in the open field and showed all of his moves as Trojans defenders grasped for air around him. At least twice Patterson stopped, spun around and reversed field for more yards.
"CP looks like a video game guy," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "He's being a good sport about it, which is good, and I told him to be that way, [but] he knows how good he is."
Though still raw at receiver, Patterson's big receiving day was a result of an enhanced focus in practice last week, Dooley said. His route running and lack of timing with quarterback Tyler Bray limited Patterson to 10 catches in five games after an eight-catch game against Florida. He nearly matched that total with nine receptions against Troy.
"Just shock ... just to see somebody that fast that can stop on a dime and change direction and accelerate back to the same speed," tailback Marlin Lane said of his reaction to Patterson's highlights on tape. "When he gets the ball, there's no telling what he's going to do with it. He's very explosive after he's got the ball in his hands."
No slow-down plans
Tennessee's offense helped its ailing defensive counterparts by outscoring Troy and keeping the Vols in games earlier this season, but the up-tempo approach ranks only 112th nationally in time of possession at 27 minutes per game.
The Vols have had time-of-possession disadvantages of eight or more minutes in four of five Southeastern Conference games. Troy ran 99 plays and held the ball for 37 minutes in piling up 721 yards and 48 points.
"It's a great point, and I thought about it during that game," Dooley said. "The reality is if we were playing our offense the way we played last year, [Troy] wouldn't have 700 yards. They would have had about 75 plays instead of 100.
"But then I'm thinking to myself, what I don't want to do is screw up something that's really good, and our offense is really good right now. I was prepared when we went to this that we weren't going to be as good on defense, but we've got to be better than what we are. When you make a commitment to go up-tempo, you go up-tempo."
Tennessee's offense, which is averaging 73 plays per game this season to last season's 66, is second in yards and third in points in the SEC, and Dooley said it has some "mojo" going.
"I'm not going to slow down," he said. "There's nothing I haven't thought about, but if I felt like that was our best chance to win, I would. Everything I do is you have all these thoughts go in your head, and then you've just got to say, 'What's our best chance to win?'
"Even in the SEC games, we've had two chances to win at the end on offense and didn't do it."
Senior linebacker Herman Lathers, coming off what he called the best game of his career against South Carolina, played just 24 snaps against Troy due to the Trojans' receiver-heavy spread offense.
"It's real frustrating when you see us struggling, and as a senior you're wanting to go out and help," Lathers admitted. "We know based on the personnel they don't really want you out there. It's frustrating, but as a man you've just got to man up and motivate your team."
Left tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson (knee), tailback Rajion Neal (ankle) and right guard Zach Fulton (ankle) aren't 100 percent but are fine for practice this week and Saturday's game against Missouri. ... Defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry (MCL sprain) is doubtful. ... Tailback/returner Devrin Young (concussion) has returned after missing the Troy game. ... Dooley said there's been no change in the status of freshman cornerback Deion Bonner, who was named a suspect in the campus theft of a cell phone last week. "The stuff that's been presented to me by him and anything else," Dooley said, "is of no issue."
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...