Defensive depth gets test in two-a-days

The search for players on Tennessee’s defensive unit expanded Monday as the Vols went double-time, practicing in the morning and evening.

Injuries — though none has been designated as serious yet — are creating more opportunities where opportunities already existed.

“As much as we don’t want anyone to be injured and miss practice, it opens up the door for somebody else,’’ head coach Lane Kiffin said Monday evening.

To the already unavailable list of linebacker Rico McCoy and corners Art Evans and Brent Vinson, add defensive end Chris Walker, middle linebacker Herman Lathers and safety Stephaun Raines.

All were held out for various reasons.

Defensive tackle Wes Brown had a strong morning session and was held out in the evening.

The defense, however, reloaded with new bodies and rallied in response to a disappointing showing in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Yeah, our guys were fighting today,’’ said defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. “I loved it.’’

Despite the fatigue, the first day of dual sessions ended with a bang, not a whimper.

With music blasting from the speakers at Haslem Field, the offense and defense squared off in a goal-line confrontation.

The defense got better of it early, then the offense punched in consecutive scores from David Oku and Bryce Brown to end the long day’s work.

“The defense really came out and did a great job today,’’ Kiffin said. “The last couple of plays the offense got great push and two pups scored on back-to-back runs. It was good to see them get in that setting.’’

Orgeron pointed to the spirited finish as a testament to the team’s want-to.

“Give Lane the credit,’’ Orgeron said. “These guys have been working literally since we got here and to end up like that when they’re gassed, you’ve got to give him the credit.

“These guys are gonna play for him. I just love it.’’

Two notable examples of guys rising to the occasion were defensive ends Gerald Williams and Steven Fowlkes, who worked with the No. 1 defense.

In an 11-on-11 drill Monday evening, Williams broke into the backfield, flattened Brown and separated him from the football.

On the next snap, safety Eric Berry put a slobber-knocker hit on Brandon Warren after a short pass reception.

Fowlkes got a hard stop on Tauren Poole in the goal-line drill.

Orgeron also praised defensive tackle Andre Mathis for showing up.

“We’re creating some depth, which we need,’’ Orgeron said.

“Part of Coach Kiffin’s deal is to give everybody a shot and that’s what we’re doing.’’

That’s true nowhere more so than at linebacker.

With McCoy, the only SEC-tested veteran, sidelined this week linebackers coach Lance Thompson is glad the Vols don’t play a real game this weekend.

“We’re probably the only team in the league that hasn’t had a linebacker (other than McCoy) play in an SEC game with any substance,’’ Thompson said. “It’s like going into a prize fight against (Mike) Tyson in his prime.

“We’re trying to find the right guys and right now it’s way up in the air. We’re trying to find the best three. We’d like to have six but we’ve got to find three by Sept. 5.

Nick Reveiz, LaMarcus Thompson and Savion Frazier worked with the No. 1 unit Monday evening, with freshmen Greg King and Jerod Askew getting serious action in the rotation.

“There’s a lot of question marks,’’ Thompson said. “That’s why we push ’em.

“I told ’em I’m not here to be their friend. I’m just trying to get ’em to play ball.’’

At the end of the Vols’ longest day, Kiffin was generally pleased that the defense had answered the challenge thrown down by the offense in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“If you’re a good team, which we hope we will eventually be,’’ he said, “it’s going to go back and forth.

“If one side wins all the time, you’ve got a problem.’’

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 35

golfballs03 writes:

our defense is going to be stout

rich182x writes:

I hope they can defend spread offenses well in the Tennessee 2.

paden312 writes:

what about Mitchell-Thornton?...

tennezz writes:

I will be happy no matter what the record is as long as they are fighting, clawing, and scratching for every thing they can get on offense and defense this year! I am soooo tired of the <EXCUSE ME > football we played the last few years!!!

ArealVolFan writes:

in response to stonercomedy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All of which has zero to do with this UT team or coaches.

chargervol writes:

in response to stonercomedy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You posted that you wanted to see how long it would take to get kicked off this sight. Have you already been kicked off Volquest?

tdtnsee writes:

Is anyone else worried about brown's fumbling issues? In just about every story written thus far about fall practice it has said something about him getting blasted and fumbling. I know he's a freshman etc... etc... But it seems like a real problem could cause his confidence to be shaken and that's one thing that a Tailback can't afford to be. Hope he gets a handle on this soon don't need another A.F back there costing us games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for oku so I'm just wondering what's up with Brown.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to tdtnsee:

Is anyone else worried about brown's fumbling issues? In just about every story written thus far about fall practice it has said something about him getting blasted and fumbling. I know he's a freshman etc... etc... But it seems like a real problem could cause his confidence to be shaken and that's one thing that a Tailback can't afford to be. Hope he gets a handle on this soon don't need another A.F back there costing us games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for oku so I'm just wondering what's up with Brown.

Maybe you just worry too much.Lets give him a chance.Everyone fumbles at times.

blitzshoot writes:

in response to stonercomedy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No more "out of basement" time. Crawl back down.

jsm67vol writes:

Good heavens, is Chris Donald still on the team or campus even. Is he really that far back on the depth chart that he is not even mentioned? Can anyone give some info? Someone said a week or so ago they would be $20 that Donald would be starting by the midpoint of the season? I'm about ready to take that bet. If I didn't fear attrition would force him on the field. C'mon Chris, its time to prove you are worth all the hype you got coming out of HS!

jsm67vol writes:

Or maybe he is just flying under the radar?

bnakk#240693 writes:

Technically, "slobberknockers" occur when the temperature or heat index is above 90......."snot-bubbles", when it is cold. We need something for the in between times........lol

cloudodust writes:

Have noted from these reports Brown has lost the ball on a few other occassions. Fumbles not acceptable.

StroVol writes:

in response to jsm67vol:

Good heavens, is Chris Donald still on the team or campus even. Is he really that far back on the depth chart that he is not even mentioned? Can anyone give some info? Someone said a week or so ago they would be $20 that Donald would be starting by the midpoint of the season? I'm about ready to take that bet. If I didn't fear attrition would force him on the field. C'mon Chris, its time to prove you are worth all the hype you got coming out of HS!

they've moved him to DEnd. I personally think that's where he'll be effective if you've watched his recruiting vids. Right now he's learning the position, not many reps until he learns how to get off blocks.

HollySpringsVOL writes:

in response to tdtnsee:

Is anyone else worried about brown's fumbling issues? In just about every story written thus far about fall practice it has said something about him getting blasted and fumbling. I know he's a freshman etc... etc... But it seems like a real problem could cause his confidence to be shaken and that's one thing that a Tailback can't afford to be. Hope he gets a handle on this soon don't need another A.F back there costing us games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for oku so I'm just wondering what's up with Brown.

He is getting the snot knocked out of him for the first time in his life. It will take a few hits to really learn how to hold on to the rock.

deadheadvol writes:

in response to stonercomedy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I bet you are a slimy azz lizard fan, nothing you say will matter come 9/5, Go Vols

footballfan34 writes:

in response to jsm67vol:

Good heavens, is Chris Donald still on the team or campus even. Is he really that far back on the depth chart that he is not even mentioned? Can anyone give some info? Someone said a week or so ago they would be $20 that Donald would be starting by the midpoint of the season? I'm about ready to take that bet. If I didn't fear attrition would force him on the field. C'mon Chris, its time to prove you are worth all the hype you got coming out of HS!

Word has it that he probably wont contribute much during his career.He is alot slower than people thought and he cant shed blocks at all. Special teamer the rest of his career if he stays.

tino2009 writes:

in response to rich182x:

I hope they can defend spread offenses well in the Tennessee 2.

Tenn-2 defense shall be sound according with "Stephen Smith" from the "Bleacher Report"

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/23...

VolGraduate writes:

I thought stonercomedy and boliivarbobs comments were funny. Why do you all get so upset about the trolls??? What's even funnier is that the factual comment was marked as "inappropriate"

on topic....linebacker is the biggest concern on this team. I hope some of these young guys catch on quick...once in a lifetime opportunity to play LB at UT as a freshman. Who was the last freshman to get snaps at LB on the reg?

Go4Two writes:

in response to footballfan34:

Word has it that he probably wont contribute much during his career.He is alot slower than people thought and he cant shed blocks at all. Special teamer the rest of his career if he stays.

It's funny how so many fans assumed that the last staff was holding back several players. It just maybe the case that they are not that good. See Brandon W. at TE.

1974Vol writes:

Brown is like most great HS players he never learned good ball carrying technique because he never had to. Doesn't matter if you carry it like a loaf of bread when you are running around HS kids like they are your little sister. High & Tight BB - High & Tight!!

GerryOP writes:

25 -- Fear The Kiffin...

99gator writes:

in response to Go4Two:

It's funny how so many fans assumed that the last staff was holding back several players. It just maybe the case that they are not that good. See Brandon W. at TE.

that's another thing people should be aware of.

when florida state got rid of jeff bowden, most assumed the problems at florida state were solved. jimbo fisher has come in and there has been some improvement, but the FSU offense is far from a well oiled machine.

to assume that a coach who won as many games as fulmer did was a complete idiot and could not identify who the best players were on his team.....is a little more far fetched than most here want to believe.

how many are starting in 2009 that would not be starting in 2009 under fulmer?

UrbanCryer writes:

in response to 99gator:

that's another thing people should be aware of.

when florida state got rid of jeff bowden, most assumed the problems at florida state were solved. jimbo fisher has come in and there has been some improvement, but the FSU offense is far from a well oiled machine.

to assume that a coach who won as many games as fulmer did was a complete idiot and could not identify who the best players were on his team.....is a little more far fetched than most here want to believe.

how many are starting in 2009 that would not be starting in 2009 under fulmer?

we dont know yet. no starters have been named, except eb

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to 1974Vol:

Brown is like most great HS players he never learned good ball carrying technique because he never had to. Doesn't matter if you carry it like a loaf of bread when you are running around HS kids like they are your little sister. High & Tight BB - High & Tight!!

can't agree with that

he was the #1 high school recruit, says it all.

as long as its practice, gran will fix it

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to 99gator:

that's another thing people should be aware of.

when florida state got rid of jeff bowden, most assumed the problems at florida state were solved. jimbo fisher has come in and there has been some improvement, but the FSU offense is far from a well oiled machine.

to assume that a coach who won as many games as fulmer did was a complete idiot and could not identify who the best players were on his team.....is a little more far fetched than most here want to believe.

how many are starting in 2009 that would not be starting in 2009 under fulmer?

I would agree, Fulmer didn't win 70% by putting bad talent on the field. But your remembered by what you did recently and most fans remember last year.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Hearing that Fowlkes, Gerald Williams, and Mathis are helping to build quality depth on the D line is welcome news. Does anyone know Marlon Walls status?

CT_VOL writes:

Folks have been asking where GW is? Well here he is:

"In an 11-on-11 drill Monday evening, Williams broke into the backfield, flattened Brown and separated him from the football."

Got to love it!

Frank

Volunatic writes:

in response to VOLinCockCuntry:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe his "redshirt freshman" year. I'm pretty sure Kevin Simon was out his entire true freshman year due to knee problems. Then again, my memory ain't what it used to be.

VolGraduate writes:

not Kevin Simon. maybe Burnett?

Kevin Simon, LB - Walnut Creek, Calif. (Lettered 2002, 03, 05)

Year G UT AT TT SCK TFL FF FR PBU
2002 4 17 12 29 - 2 - 1 -

Kevin Burnett, LB - Carson, Calif. (Lettered 2000, 01, 03 [Capt.], 04 [Capt.])
All-America - 2004
All-SEC - 2004
SEC Academic Honor Roll - 2002, 2003, 2004

Year G UT AT TT SCK TFL FF FR PBU
2000 10 10 1 11 2 - - 1 -
2001 11 33 19 52 3.5 3 1 - 3
2002 1 1 0 1 - - - - -
2003 13 65 25 90 1.5 6 1 - 3
2004 13 90 30 120 1 5 1 2 1
+-----------------------------------------------+
Totals 48 199 75 274 8 14 3 3 7

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to bnakk#240693:

Technically, "slobberknockers" occur when the temperature or heat index is above 90......."snot-bubbles", when it is cold. We need something for the in between times........lol

I was also a bit puzzled. Thanks for clearing that up.
Maybe head ringers, denture crunchers or nut crackers. Anyone else? lol

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Eye poppin up-chuck ball sucker!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to 99gator:

that's another thing people should be aware of.

when florida state got rid of jeff bowden, most assumed the problems at florida state were solved. jimbo fisher has come in and there has been some improvement, but the FSU offense is far from a well oiled machine.

to assume that a coach who won as many games as fulmer did was a complete idiot and could not identify who the best players were on his team.....is a little more far fetched than most here want to believe.

how many are starting in 2009 that would not be starting in 2009 under fulmer?

well said gator

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Anybody know the injury status??? I guess if Rico;Walker and Vinson had serious problems they would say so..

jsm67vol writes:

in response to Go4Two:

It's funny how so many fans assumed that the last staff was holding back several players. It just maybe the case that they are not that good. See Brandon W. at TE.

I don't assume they were holding anybody back, but I have questioned the development of players for the past 5 years. And Branden Warren was an all american freshman at TE. I would say thats pretty good.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features