Mitchell welcomes Tebow's yen to run

  • What: Tennessee at Florida
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 3:30 p.m.
  • Where: Gainesville, Fla.
  • Cost: Not available
  • Age limit: All ages
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Tennessee defensive end Xavier Mitchell shared his mindset with the media on Tuesday as he prepares to defend against Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who is well known for his physical running style.

"Bring it," UT's senior defensive end said. "That's what goes through my mind. I think that's everybody's mindset."

Tebow made a name for himself last season bowling over would-be tacklers in relief of starter Chris Leak.

"He wants to run the ball and that's fine with me," Mitchell said of Tebow. "We thrive on hitting quarterbacks. If he wants to lower his shoulder, we'll lower ours too and bring the hat."

Mitchell said Tebow might have surprised some defenders last year when he attacked defenders instead of protecting himself.

"We know he's not going to slide," Mitchell said, "so that won't be an issue."

Secondary Shake-Up: For the second consecutive week, Tennessee has altered its depth chart to address deficiencies in its secondary.

Last week, the Vols inserted freshman Eric Berry into the starting lineup for senior Jarod Parrish. Now, UT's coaches are using another freshman, Brent Vinson, to provide depth, in response to senior Antonio Gaines season-ending knee injury.

"Antonio Gaines injury left us a little short at cornerback," UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Brent spent some time there in fall camp so he'll get a chance to look at playing both ways."

Vinson's practice time will be "balanced" between receiver and defensive back, Fulmer said. Vinson has played wideout in both of UT's games this season.

"He's not 100-percent ready there," Fulmer said. "Secondary, he's taken to that a little more naturally. There's not as much to learn at corner."

It's not as if much de-programming is needed. Vinson has played three years at receiver. He played two years of high school football at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., before playing at Hargrave Military Academy last season.

Man With Speed: Austin Rogers knows about stereotypes when it comes to white receivers.

"I know I'm the white guy and people think I'm the possession receiver," the sophomore said.

Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor never fell for such misconceptions. Taylor never doubted Rogers' athletic ability. Toughness was the main concern.

"I told him he drove a better car than me," Taylor said. "I didn't know how hungry he was. He's proven me wrong and he's proven some other people wrong."

Injury Report: Punter Britton Colquitt said his pulled, right quadriceps is still a bit sore but he hopes to be 100 percent by Saturday. The junior said resting the leg and not kicking last week certainly helped his recovery.

"It might nag a little but it won't nag like it did at Cal," Colquitt said. "If it's real sore after Florida, it might be one of those things where I'm not able to practice as much."

Colquitt knows how to deal with nagging injuries. He said he often dealt with a sore hip flexor in high school.

"If it nags, it won't be like a bad nagging thing," he said. "I think I'm past that point."

Colquitt said he's not ruled out returning to attempt field goals and kickoffs.

"It's hard being on the sideline and seeing field position hurt us," Colquitt said referring to UT's short kickoffs this fall.

Tailback Montario Hardesty said he hopes his ankle is 100 percent by Saturday.

"It's improved a lot from California to Southern Miss," the sophomore said. "Hopefully, it'll improve that much this week and I'll be good to go."

Deep Throws: Despite public opinion to the contrary, Taylor said UT hasn't relied solely on short and intermediate routes. Taylor said the Vols have thrown the ball deep (i.e. 20 or more yards) six more times this season than they did at this point last season.

Rogers said the next development for UT's receivers is combining a short route into a long gain.

"We're going to have to take the 5-yard hitches and take them 80 yards for touchdowns like (Robert) Meachem did (last year)," Rogers said.

D-Tack's: Defensive tackle coach Dan Brooks said he expects junior Demonte' Bolden and sophomore Dan Williams will retain their starting spots, although Brooks wouldn't guarantee it.

"There's going to be competition every week all season, I think, with this group," Brooks said.

Williams said he was pleased with his play last week, his first game as a starter in place of senior J.T. Mapu. Williams said his main focus this week is staying in his gap, even though he might be able to make more plays by leaving his assignment.

"It is tempting sometimes," Williams said, "but you have to do what's best for your defense."

Parking It: Left guard Anthony Parker said he's plenty willing to turn over some snaps to UT's second-string interior linemen, as the Vols did last week.

"It definitely helps, being able to rotate guys and give guys a break," Parker said.

Flying Falcon: Some eyebrows were raised when UT's depth chart was released. Former Fulton star Dennis Rogan was listed above highly touted junior college prospect Nevin McKenzie at safety. Fulmer said the two were even and he expected McKenzie to be the nickel back. As for Rogan, he figures to be a factor in UT's secondary soon.

"Dennis is a really fine athlete with a lot of speed," Fulmer said. "We're trying to get him on the field."

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Comments » 68

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Love Mitchell's attitude but I hope he doesn't give Florida any more incentive in this game! We better bring the wood though!!

thevol writes:

I can't wait to see Rogan play. He is a very unexpected contributer as a freshman but seems very exciting. I really thought Mckenzie was going to be a player, hopefully he picks it up soon. The future defensive backfield looks very exciting. Maybe Vinson finds a home there too. Go Big Orange!

DaveVol writes:

Does anyone know Roger's 40 time?

mingledorff#259158 writes:

4.41 at the Nike camp in high school. I'm sure he has gotten a little faster.

smith7206 writes:

I just hope that they remember rule #1 when defending the option: Hit the QB. Teboy seems pretty tuff but anybody will get tired of being hit after 10 or 12 good bell ringers :)

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Talk is talk. I haven't seen it yet. Saturday would be a great day to start the walk.bonzaivol

ThaiVolFan writes:

Well, here we go. The beginning Urban's spread offense against SEC defenses. Last year was not the real deal with Leak as the starter. This is the first year that we will all see if a QB can stay healthy and complete a season running the spread option in the SEC. This weekend would be a great time to shut this type of offense down at it's inception. We need to T-Bone Tebow many times throughout the afternoon. Mark my words, we will have plenty of opportunities to really pound Tebow. The question is are we fierce enough on D to really hurt this guy?( I don't mean trying to intentionaly injure him) I mean PHYSICALLY ROCK HIS WORLD enough to take the momentum from their offense and let the air out of the swamp and put fear into Tebow's heart when it comes to running against our D. Or are we going to be too off balanced and out of position to make the game altering, coach scaring, teeth shattering tackles on the QB? This will be, in my mind, the main key to winning the game. But it is also remains a main question mark as well. The bottom line is this. We must be more physical than Tebow and start a trend for the defenses in the SEC, MAKING Tebow ONE BIG GRASS STAIN ALL SEASON LONG! And sending the "Urban Legend" back to the drawing board. Go Vols. 41-33. Upset in the Swamp.

OldNumber7 writes:

Is it just me, or does this site, our players, and Fulmer seem to sit around and talk about Tennessee's weaknesses, plans on defense, and mouth off to provide locker room fodder. This journalism and Fulmer's management of information is terrible.

threehundredbowler writes:

Thrive on hitting the QB? How many times have they hit the QB this year or last year?If the past two games are an indicator,we are in deep trouble.I hope this is the breakout game we have been looking for.GO VOLS.

drmike writes:

tebow, if you survive the x-man's hat-watch 0ut. around the corner is a patented robert ayres WWF body slam. Sunshine, you're the best white receiver i can remember since the infamous craig faulkner. Britton, i wish you all the luck in your return. don't let the fact that friday night my mighty admirals will beat the holy heck out of your belegered bulldogs get you that down. once again, GO VOLS!!! DROWN THEM GATORS!

99gator writes:

florida's o-line is one of the team strengths. if pounding tebow consumes tenn's mindset, it would be a mistake. hit him when you have a chance. fine. going out of your way to pound him would take focus away from the speedier more dangerous weapons florida has. in addition, tebow is a tank. tebow is the 4th strongest player florida has. i know that sounds like a lie, because he's a qb, but that's is what coaches have said. he is a 240lb tank. it's like saying pound jamal lewis. tebow is built like a tank. someone may get hurt trying to tackle him.

99gator writes:

florida's o-line is one of the team strengths. if pounding tebow consumes tenn's mindset, it would be a mistake. hit him when you have a chance. fine. going out of your way to pound him would take focus away from the speedier more dangerous weapons florida has. in addition, tebow is a tank. tebow is the 4th strongest player florida has. i know that sounds like a lie, because he's a qb, but that's is what coaches have said. he is a 240lb tank. it's like saying pound jamal lewis. tebow is built like a tank. someone may get hurt trying to tackle him.

TNvolunteer writes:

Well guys...it's time to start the Dennis Rogan for Heisman Campaign for 2010....The Gators did it for Tebow last year and everyone thinks he a football god now, so why not for Dennis Rogan!

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DSaVol writes:

"Bring it..."???? The way this defense has played to date, should ANYBODY be talking smack?? Sounds like some guys trying to talk themselves into it! Just shut up and play!

TommyJack writes:

X. Mitchell: Sometimes you get what you wish for...

orangebloodgmc writes:

TheVol, yeah I like Rogan who from what few glimpses we have seen, strikes me as a tough hungry ball player, like Mark Jones was a ball player, as in "just put me on the field somewhere, Coach!"

And Britton has a nagging injury? He must have been in my kitchen this morning.

txsvol#372416 writes:

RocketVol, You are right about the incessant 'phooey' coming from this site. I'd prefer some kind of objective analysis from the 'journalists.' Until this site became a free site, I could depend upon certain posters for information. For example, DSaVol would be a consistent negative, but his take would be interesting and backed by facts. Somebody like 99gator would never be here, but his take is right: It would be a mistake to try to pound Tebow, just be ready for unloading if the chance is there. I think the key to beating Florida is to keep the ball away from Meyer's offense. That means long, time consuming drives, with the OL blocking well, and the running backs chewing up chunks of yardage, and a reliable passing game that keeps the Gator defense off balance. Of course, our special teams have to be special, and our defense needs to create turnovers. But, there are too many posters these days to do more than just scan. Go Vols! SAVol

Phowell23 writes:

Come on guys Mitchell is just pumped for this game. The media antagonizes these young men to comment because if they didn't say anything the writers would have no quotes to put in the paper. Sports writers are just doing their job and the football players are pumped to play Florida. It's not like Mitchell held a press conference to single Tebow out. Go VOLS!

bustervols writes:

I hope Mitchell puts the bone in T-Bow-ned!

waterskier3#226480 writes:

my guess after urban watches our secondary play they will go pro style on offense and start picking us apart.. why not all you have to do is watch the last three games and see we can't rush the passer, stop the run or cover anyone..... I'm not a negative person but this is the worse i've seen our defense play since.....the early 90's.... even in 2005 it was the offense that sucked not the D.... on the positive I heard that 3 of fla best players are suppose to sit out sat because of injuries... that might even us up....

go vols!!!!!!!

Dirtdobber writes:

DSaVol- agree- southern miss didnt have much trouble in the first half...

in regard to the option- in years past the person covering the qb... why does he wait and see if the qb is going to pitch it before making contact? Why not just knock the h_ll out of the qb whether he pitches it or not? ususally he will just stand and wait to see if he pitching it- if he does that player is out of position to make a play on the running back anyway...HIT THE DANG QB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ainge and the offense is our only hope for Sat.- Lets dont get conservative- lets spread it out and throw it- let that open up the run! and most importantly...NO MORE MUSTANG on defense!

Go Vols- Drain the Swamp!

thevol writes:

Georgia- 06 -win, Alabama - 06 - win, those weren't big games? I know it's only a couple of games but when your backing your negativity with stats, then be honest.
Dsa- Maybe he shouldn't be talking to the media like this but it is the right attitude to have. Bring it and whoop there ass. Go Big Orange!

Dirtdobber writes:

thevol- Georgia? Alabama? you got to be kidding me- those teams arent worth a phooey! Get real...Vandy beat Georgia last year.

The vols havent done jack squat for the last several years! Lets face when the defense is good, the offense gets ultra conservative- when defense is bad offense is good! New motto should be Play to Win instead of playing not to lose!

ElizabethtonvolnNC writes:

Don't go under estimanting how strong Tebow is! Did you see the clip on ESP-EWE? The guy is a tank! If he wasn't a quarterback he would be a great linebacker. I agree with taking our shots when we can and not being overzealous in our pursuit to hit the guy. We must focus on assingment football. GO VOLS!

Dirtdobber writes:

sjt18- you are correct. You make good points.

I use to be the norman vincent peale ut fan, but after being let down year after year its become a reality that Im not sure if the Vols will get back to prominence under the current regime. Too much old school thinking.

knoxtenor writes:

Hey, Fulmer! What are you using to decide the starting lineup? Tarot cards? Dice rolls? The thickness of the coats on wooly worms this season? Romeo Crennel, the coach of the NFL's Cleveland Browns has admited to flipping a coin to decide some of his starters. Maybe that's the way to go.

Mr_Brownstone writes:

Don't get me wrong. I hope to h*ll we win, and hurt until the following week when we lose, quadruple for Fla and Bama, but we have trouble beating Florida when we're on our A game and they are on their C or D game, (i.e. Zook era), so I'd like to share in the confidence, but history is telling me otherwise.

govolsfan#214750 writes:

No more flare passes. I hate watching us run those with 0 to negative yard gains. Lets bring our big boy pants to Gainsville and play to win. I hope we shine, but should we falter, I dont want to hear the coaching staff say we "need to relearn our fundamentals". That erks me every year.

I think grvol makes a good point, we rarely play good against option teams (Air Force, K state, Nebraska). Attack Tebow with vengence big orange D!

Dirtdobber writes:

Unfortunately Tebow appears to be a class act. Hard to say anything bad about the guy!

However, since its football- i believe if he runs the option, UT should red dog his but, and if he runs the option that player only assignment should be to tackling him as hard as legally possible! if we do that, it could cause him to make a bad toss and Berry could pick it up and take to da house!

I dont care how conservative or bad of coach Fulmer is- Im drinkng orange cool-aid this week- Drain the swamp and Kick em in the Vols!

Dirtdobber writes:

tngeoff- well put!

Basketball_Jones writes:

Our past shows that we don't handle mobile QB's well. Even back in the glory day of Manning and Company I remember Nebraska running all over us in the Orange Bowl. Last year's Penn St QB had wheels and we struggled. I hope I am wrong but I think Florida has us thinking alot more about what they are going to do than what we are going to do.

Dirtdobber writes:

heels_fan_23- if you remember that orange bowl game you mentioned- the first half of the game UT shut Nebraska down- we put 9 in the box- and held them to 78 yards of offense in the firt half(most of those yard were from a long pass they completed) In the second half- it was like someone flipped a switch, the second half the Vols came out with that 4 man front with linebackers about 5 yards off the ball- when the game was over Nebraska and ran up about 780 yards of offense in the 2nd half!(not to disimilar to Paul Crue in the "Longest Yard" trying to throw the game)

I wonder why they went away from the 9 men in the box in that game? I believe that may been the beginning of the Mustang Package.

99gator writes:

i meant to write this earlier in regard to pounding tebow. in the first two games, you can tell he has obviously been coached to avoid contact. to my surprise, he has had several plays where he has taken off out of the pocket gotten all the yards he could and went out of bounds. maybe the thought was, no sense taking a hit in a game of little consequence. but, nonetheless he has not tried to take on safeties and linebackers by lowering his pads this year. we will see if he is careful this week or plays with reckless abandon.

Dirtdobber writes:

99gator- i will bet you he will try and knock someones block off! Not a gator fan- but unless the Vols put 9 or 10 in the box no chance in hell of stopping UF offense.

We will get you in basketball this year though!

99gator writes:

i actually went on this site to see what the "enemy" was thinking. i know what florida people are thinking. i was told by someone that lots of folks in big orange country were already giving up on football this year and looking forward to basketball. that amazes me only because everyone knew that at cal and at florida early would be trouble. i have said this before. do not be surprised if tenn loses and still wins the division

hueypilot writes:

We seem to have a tough time with assignment football, which really shows up when you defend the option. The end must hit the qb and make him pitch it. AFter that it's up to the lb and secondary to come up and make the play. Bryant said the wishbone was the best passing offense ever designed because the qb always has man coverage. He proved that many times when Todd or Rutledge would complete 6 of 9 for 150 and two td's. We can't let Tebow curl up into a hasty pocket and throw. He is the key and we have to keep him off balance by hitting him as soon as we can on every play. Not dirty football and not trying to hurt him by going at his knees. Just good old fundamental defense. The ends and tackles should play every play Tebow runs with the ball like Tebow was their man in the Tennessee drill.

99gator writes:

i know about tenn's history and tradition,but have always thought it is a tougher job than most believe. the recruiting bases in florida, alabama, georgia, and louisiana are bigger than tenn. it is easier for those programs to recruit than tenn. tenn has to get talent from everyone else's backyard. the fact that georgia, lsu, auburn are better than they were in 2000 has made things tougher for tenn in recruiting. and now bama has saban

jawjavol writes:

sjt118,

please do not try and mislead the fans regarding UGA. They have a losing streak against all five SEC East teams that is oh fer five over the past year. It's great to bleed orange in Atlanta!!!!

They looked bad Saturday!!!

gotvols writes:

You have got to be kidding me. We have not shown that we can stop anybody. The only chance we have of stopping Tebow is if he mistakes our guys as traffic barrels. We have to score and score often and hope they turn the ball over. Reminds me of other shoot-out games.

99gator writes:

hueypilot

regarding assignment football. i will predict that florida pulls ou a trick play like tenn did last year. fayson and ingram are wr's that were high school qb's. do not be surprised to see a reverse, with one of those two throwing the ball. caldwell (injured) was a high school qb too

99gator writes:

the gaines injury... how good was he? and what kind of chaos does that create with tenn's secondary situation. also, what wr's should i watch out for in the carl pickens, willie gault, donte stallworth, kelley washington, robert meacham mold.

gotvols writes:

The gaines injury is not that significant. Teams have so many targets on this D that somebody will have to just step up their play to compensate.

invisiblekid writes:

This may be slightly off topic in terms of Tim Tebow on the field, but I found this quite interesting regarding his off the field activities. Nothing too bad, but some of the comments folowing the photo are a little on the "adult" side.

http://journorock.blogspot.com/2007/0...

Dirtdobber writes:

99gator- dont believe any of the wide receivers are in the meachem category yet,but all seem to be catching the ball well- not many drops- the best speed is the transfer from FSU, Oneal, I dont believe he's caught a pass this year though.

99gator writes:

one of the things that i have wondered is the whole no-huddle thing. a lot of people think tenn will go back to traditional 3 yards and a cloud of dust to attack a supposed florida weakness and keep its own defense off the field. but, would that conflict with the new direction they were supposedly going. do you abandon a philosophy after two games or will they pound the ball from the no huddle. how effective would communication be with inexperienced wr's in gainesville. it didn't seem like a problem at cal, but i saw a lot of plays were made by the backs. are the best playmakers foster and coker?

Dirtdobber writes:

99gator -wow- you know the vols well. Thats what Im afraid of them doing is scrapping the only thing that has worked this year...the passing game, which in turn has opened up the running game- coker hasnt done anything yet due to suspension for weed...foster looked great so far- doesnt have break away speed like Coker.

Noise seemed to be bad at Cal game(obviously not the swamp)but they handled it ok- in fact the offense almost had a perfect game.

Im not a gambler- but the spread is 8- i feel that FLorida could blow them out, but UT offense has been a whole lot better this year than last- so im leaving that bet alone.

invisiblekid writes:

99gator, Gaines is a redshirt SR who, until this season, had played in 24 games over 3 years and recorded 10 tackles. He had nearly as many tackles against Cal as he had his entire career. He hasn't exactly proven to be a difference maker over his career. Last week after Gaines was injured, they brought Parrish back in at safety and moved Berry to CB. Assuming this will be the case this weekend as well. Parrish is a similar story to Gaines, he's been around awhile but hasn't shown much. We signed two JUCO guys, Willigham and McKenzie, to shore up the secondary and it looked like Parrish and Gaines were just keeping the seats warm. However, with some of the recent comments about moving Vinson from WR to CB to provide depth along with Rogan, who was a RB in high school, it makes me wonder if the JUCO guys are going to contribute or take up space on the roster. It's a shame we can't start Berry at 3 positions in the secondary because he looks to be our best player along with Hefney who made 2nd team SEC last year.

Dirtdobber writes:

jwraymond1- dang...that comment about Tebow hurt!

99gator writes:

i wrote in another thread, and i still believe this, that both defenses will play better than most fans expect. there will be offense and scoring don't get me wrong. but the score will not be 48-41 or something like that. i think a lot of the negativity about ut's defense comes from the cal game. well, cal has a hack of an offensive team. i think florida has the potential to be very good offensively, but no one really knows yet. all the pieces are there, but have not played anyone yet. as for the florida d, they are at home. false starts, miscommunications, delay of games, the inability to audible, can cause an otherwise promising drive to stall. young players play better at home. i think there will be more defense than most expect from both teams.

invisiblekid writes:

99gator, reagarding the 3 yards and cloud of dust and WR comments, I think it would be a huge mistake for the Vols to try pounding the ball the entire game. I mentioned this last night in another thread that we have a distinct size advantage up front and should have better success running up the middle. That being said, I don't think we have the overwhelming talent up front to "impose our will" and turn into Nebraska.

Foster is a solid running back but isn't the fastest guy on the field and Coker will still be shaking off the rust and munchies from his suspension. Hardesty doesn't seem to have the field vision to make the right reads while running and always seems to be fighting some injury. A wildcard may be the freshman Creer. I thought he was impressive for the most part against SM but is like most freshmen in potential mistakes.

As far as the WR's go, they haven't put anyone on the field yet who has shown they can stretch a defense. Rogers and Taylor has shown they'll catch anything that comes their way but I am unsure if they have the ability to make any Meachem-like plays.

I expect to see more of the same this weekend, a balanced offense relying on the short and intermediate passes with slightly more emphasis on the running game. Who knows, I could be totally off base though.

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