Substitution slowing defensive backs

UT still looking to fill roles at cornerback, safety (minus Berry)

There are times when Tennessee's defensive backs struggle to keep up with assistant coach Willie Mack Garza.

Yet it's not the defensive scheme the Vols aren't grasping; it's the substitution patterns Garza demands. Much like a student cramming for exams, Garza wants to see every last snap possible to determine who will start UT's season opener on Sept. 5 against Western Kentucky.

"We're still evaluating those guys," Garza said following Tuesday's practice.

Those guys are vying for the free safety spot alongside All-American Eric Berry.

Redshirt freshman Prentiss Waggner started preseason camp getting the most first-team snaps. Former cornerback standout Dennis Rogan, a junior, has made a push and often runs with the first team.

Freshmen Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles have also received significant practice snaps, as had senior walk-on Derrick Furlow, who was slowed early in camp by a sore shoulder.

"We're still taking a look at them and trying to decide which ones are going to be the starter and what guys are going to come in nickel," Garza said, referring to the Vols' extra defensive backs package. "We're still in that process of evaluating."

Time is running short with game preparation starting Monday.

"We are starting to make some decisions this week," Garza said. "We're starting to move forward to finalize some stuff but we're not quite there yet."

As for the cornerback position, it has recently been bolstered by an influx of healthy players. Junior Brent Vinson is returning gradually from a hamstring injury. Sophomore Art Evans has returned from a knee injury suffered early in preseason camp and immediately received first team snaps.

"He's looking good," Garza said of Evans. "He's not 100 percent. You can tell he's not full speed yet but he's really working hard, making plays at 75 percent, 80 percent, whatever it is.

"I think he's a helluva football player. He works hard, good kid, stays out of trouble. He's trustworthy, dependable. He's the type of guy that you want on your football team as a cornerback."

UT's secondary could have a significant Knoxville feel if Rogan and Anthony Anderson nail down starting jobs. Anderson continues to get first team snaps at cornerback.

"I've been happy with Anthony Anderson," Garza said. "He works extremely hard during practice and after practice. No off the field problems. You can trust him.

"He's learning the cornerback position still because he played some safety in the spring mostly. We moved him to cornerback halfway through the spring so he's a work in progress. But he's made plays out here. I think he has some talent and ability."

Safety Sullins: If something were to happen to center Cody Sullins, his twin brother, Cory, had better be prepared.

The Vols might turn to Cory if Cody were to go down this season. Cody is the starting center now that Josh McNeil will be out for at least a month after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Wedneaday. Cory is thought to be the primary backup.

"I think I'm pretty well prepared," Cory said.

Cory has played some center the last four years in practice but was moved exclusively to guard in spring practice. With McNeil's ailment, Cory started taking - and giving - snaps at center.

"I'm starting to feel more comfortable there and making the right calls," Cory said. "It's been getting a little bit easier for me."

Cory said his knowledge of the game is one of his strengths. He joked that his stature could also provide some leverage.

"I guess being shorter I have a lower center of gravity," the 6-foot-1, 270 pounder said. "Maybe that makes it a little easier when big 300 pounders are right up next to your face."

What's With Warren?: Head coach Lane Kiffin seemed frustrated again with receiver Brandon Warren's inability to stay on the practice field. Warren left early on Wednesday.

"Always something," Kiffin said following practice. "Every day there's usually something. I don't know what it was today. He makes a couple of significant plays then he's over on the training table."

Schedule: The Vols will return to the practice field today, which is expected to be a physical workout.

UT will hold a light practice on Saturday that will focus on special teams and mental work.

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Comments » 36

rockytopatl writes:

Warren needs to produce and it appears he's more interested in resting ... or acting hurt. This is a big problem considering all the REAL injuries at WR.

chargervol writes:

Brandon had better shape up. He is going to get in Kiffin's doghouse. GO VOLS!!!

Ironcity writes:

I get the feeling Warren needs a lot of motivation

KINGKONG writes:

warren is a tittie baby but he is all we got right now he want be on the trainer table when the hilltoppers in town players normally get well during game time because they dont what 2 ride the bench the next gm

CoverOrange writes:

Maybe Lane should demand a daily report from the trainers.

SWAVol writes:

Warren better get tough or he find his way to the sideline. I hope that Monday helps to cure him, game prep. Seems to have the talent but not the drive, sad.

pdb73216#339474 writes:

Maybe Kiffin needs to take his number away, again.

RaineyVol writes:

If Warren wants to be a cry baby about it don't let him play in games!

MrBamSeydu writes:

Warren needs to wear #51 as a WR. He hasn't earned a single digit number.

This is the 3rd or 4th time I've read somewhere that Warren is a big cry baby and always running to the sideline whining and complaining about aches and pains. IT'S FOOTBALL!!!!

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Maybe Lane should demand a daily report from the trainers.

This. It'd be a sad thing to find out he's got something seriously ailing him, when Kiff's been riding his azz publicly about it.

Just saying...better to get some info first before shooting your mouth off in public...as if the lesson wasn't taught the first time.

Don't get angry there boys...just making a point.

rich182x writes:

Can somebody give me the run down of player and their jersey numbers please? Thanks!

stayingorange writes:

Let Kiffin push Warren's buttons, no need for lots of fat guys on computers to start calling him a cry baby. We need him to perform.

I also say bring Vinson back over to offense.

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to rich182x:

Can somebody give me the run down of player and their jersey numbers please? Thanks!

1-Brandon Warren
2-Montario Hardesty
3-Wait, Seriously??? Ever heard of Google or UTSports.com? How can you be smart enough to log on to this website, sign up, post a message but you can't find a 2009 roster on the information superhighway that Al Gore invented??? Geeez.

Cldvols1 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

1-Brandon Warren
2-Montario Hardesty
3-Wait, Seriously??? Ever heard of Google or UTSports.com? How can you be smart enough to log on to this website, sign up, post a message but you can't find a 2009 roster on the information superhighway that Al Gore invented??? Geeez.

LOL, WORD! BAHAHA

LiveFaith writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

1-Brandon Warren
2-Montario Hardesty
3-Wait, Seriously??? Ever heard of Google or UTSports.com? How can you be smart enough to log on to this website, sign up, post a message but you can't find a 2009 roster on the information superhighway that Al Gore invented??? Geeez.

That was worth the price of admission. :-D

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Is Warren the next Kelly Washington?

tennezz writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Is Warren the next Kelly Washington?

He`s acting like him, But he does not have the speed and quickness Washington had! He better shape up or he will be picking splinters all year!

tennezz writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witchy, Did the neighbors kid ever come on the playing field?

VolunteerPassion writes:

8 days guys!!!!!!!!

Couchdummy writes:

in response to stayingorange:

Let Kiffin push Warren's buttons, no need for lots of fat guys on computers to start calling him a cry baby. We need him to perform.

I also say bring Vinson back over to offense.

Pot, Kettle, Black?

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

1-Brandon Warren
2-Montario Hardesty
3-Wait, Seriously??? Ever heard of Google or UTSports.com? How can you be smart enough to log on to this website, sign up, post a message but you can't find a 2009 roster on the information superhighway that Al Gore invented??? Geeez.

too funny...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Yep, time for drama is about over.

Curtain's going up in a few.

It's nearly football time in Tennessee.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

So there is a direct correlation between how you act off the field and how you play on the field? Good kids make good players. Thanks coach.

johnlg00 writes:

Sounds like Warren hasn't learned the difference between playing hurt and playing injured. I'm pretty sure the coaches know the difference and wouldn't be pushing Warren like this if they really thought he might be injured. Still, lots of people down deep think a "minor" pain is one that someone ELSE feels, while a "major" pain is what YOU feel(;-P)!

1974Vol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Sounds like Warren hasn't learned the difference between playing hurt and playing injured. I'm pretty sure the coaches know the difference and wouldn't be pushing Warren like this if they really thought he might be injured. Still, lots of people down deep think a "minor" pain is one that someone ELSE feels, while a "major" pain is what YOU feel(;-P)!

It’s all relative. Most of us would probably be missing work with ailments Warren has but CLK is looking at the warriors on this team - Josh McNeil, Eric Berry - and others who have played through some really tough and painful injuries and wondering why Warren is missing reps over our equivalent of a paper cut.

VolFanInAtl writes:

CLK lamented that he should have pulled Jones from the scrimmage and avoided the high ankle sprain, yet he tries to push Warren. Injury is on CLK's conscience, but he still has no respect for Warren's injuries.

My mind is made up. Warren is unreliable. We will need another goto reciever.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Let's line Berry up at wide reciever then throw to the fullback on the opposite side.

deadheadvol writes:

in response to stayingorange:

Let Kiffin push Warren's buttons, no need for lots of fat guys on computers to start calling him a cry baby. We need him to perform.

I also say bring Vinson back over to offense.

I think we could use Vinson back at wr also, does anyone know why he was moved in the first place, I never heard. 8 MORE DAYS, GBO

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolFanInAtl:

CLK lamented that he should have pulled Jones from the scrimmage and avoided the high ankle sprain, yet he tries to push Warren. Injury is on CLK's conscience, but he still has no respect for Warren's injuries.

My mind is made up. Warren is unreliable. We will need another goto reciever.

I think this staff is smart enough to know when a guy is doing all he can--such as Jones, practicing even though his wrist wasn't healed from surgery--and when a guy seemingly doesn't like to practice even though no one else can find any real injuries. CLK--astonishingly, for a coach!--admitted that he should have taken Jones out sooner since Jones had already proven that he would do all he possibly could. Apparently, BW hasn't made that same kind of impression, to say the least.

Volin68 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

1-Brandon Warren
2-Montario Hardesty
3-Wait, Seriously??? Ever heard of Google or UTSports.com? How can you be smart enough to log on to this website, sign up, post a message but you can't find a 2009 roster on the information superhighway that Al Gore invented??? Geeez.

I'm late loggin' in but, pphhht, LOL. I just blew lunch crumbs on my screen!!! Good one!

GoVols2009 writes:

in response to rich182x:

Can somebody give me the run down of player and their jersey numbers please? Thanks!

Volin68 writes:

in response to VolFanInAtl:

Let's line Berry up at wide reciever then throw to the fullback on the opposite side.

Okay, CPF what are you doing on here? Classic sarcasm

givehim6 writes:

Just think this time next week it will be the eve of football thme in Tenn.

volwest writes:

when game time comes I bet he will be healthy . He is doggin it in practice

DaveVol writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was thinking the same thing. I can't recall any off the filed problems since Kiffin took over??

GOBIGO72 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stood out to me. "You can trust him." When you get young people staying out of trouble because they don't want to disappoint you - then you got it going on - that culture has spread as we all know no one has been in trouble under Kiffen's watch - this establishes an expectation and a rock solid foundation that you can build on - let's trouble know before it gets here that there's no room in the inn. "Good kid, stays out of trouble" is one of the best quotes I have ever read from a coach.

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