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Tennessee's search for offensive tackles officially began Tuesday when the Vols opened spring camp.
Cody Pope is candidate No. 1.
"It's a big need right now," the 6-foot-6, 288-pound sophomore said. "As all the coaches said, all the positions are open. We had a couple of tackles leave last year so I'm trying to get in there."
As part of UT's transition to a new coaching staff, the Vols lost Preston Bailey, Ramon Foster and Ramone Johnson from last year's squad for a variety of reasons.
UT also lost All-American guards Anthony Parker to graduation and Darius Myers, who was never reinstated following a disciplinary issue last season.
The Vols have four experienced senior offensive linemen this season.
There's a slight renovation needed right away and a major rebuilding project for 2009. Offensive tackle is at the center of each endeavor.
Pope has made an impression, likely based off his offseason workouts.
"Attitude speaks volumes for coaches but you've really got to bring it to the field," the California native said. "I've got a lot to improve on just like everybody else."
Pope has come a long way. He enrolled at UT in 2006, only to be told he didn't qualify academically and was subsequently sent home during fall camp.
Since his return, he's been a backup utility man, playing every position on the offensive line - often with the scout team.
For now, Pope is focusing on one position - right tackle.
"Anywhere from kicker to quarterback, if you can play one position, it's definitely a luxury," Pope said. "This is not high school. You're going against guys with so many skills."
Pope isn't celebrating just yet. He knows that starting the spring at tackle is a long way from starting the season.
"You can't say I'm confident, not yet," Pope said. "I've still got a lot to learn."
Williams' New Way: Football fanatics will notice a difference in UT's defensive line this fall.
Instead of playing a right and left defensive tackle, the Vols will play a nose guard and tackle.
That means the nose guard will line up off one of the center's shoulders instead of lined up opposite the offensive guard.
The change should make learning UT's defensive line positions easier. One player will be expected to play one position.
UT's tackles were expected to master both in the previous system.
Senior Dan Williams figures to be UT's first-team nose guard this season.
He began spring practice at that position.
"The nose is probably a little freer," Williams said of his ability to make plays in the new system.
Williams returned to UT for his senior season after taking a long look at entering April's NFL draft.
Williams said UT's hiring of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was a major factor in his decision.
"He's been where I want to be," Williams said.
Gerald's Game: Gerald Williams was pleased with his first day at linebacker under UT's new coaching staff.
"Things are looking good so far," Williams said.
It remains to be seen if Williams can hold onto his position. Many think he is better suited to play defensive end.
"I really haven't thought about it," Williams said of a potential position switch. "I'm at linebacker right now and that's what I'm focused on."