Vols fighting for recruits in Alabama

Lane Kiffin has said he wants Tennessee's football program to emulate Alabama.

Toughness, discipline and winning are the virtues the first-year UT coach is striving for. However, Kiffin won't necessarily be after the same defensive prospects who Alabama coach Nick Saban is pursuing.

Alabama's 3-4 scheme lends itself to bigger linebackers and defensive linemen. UT's 4-3 defense relies more on speed.

"I think they're definitely two different types of systems," linebackers coach Lance Thompson said on the News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page. "Monte (Kiffin) has had great success with the 4-3 system. He's the dad-gum architect of it.

"You can get by with the more undersized defensive linemen and linebackers. There's more of an emphasis on speed and quickness. (Alabama) Coach (Nick) Saban's philosophy is more of big, strong, 'We're going to pound you and wear you down in the fourth quarter.'

". . . It's a contrast in styles but they can both get it done. It's just a matter of getting the right guys and getting kids to play in the system the way it's supposed to be played in."

When the Vols hit the field today in Tuscaloosa (TV: WVLT, 3:30 p.m.) to take on the Crimson Tide, you'll be able to notice the difference. Alabama's starting four linebackers weigh 268 pounds. UT's three linebackers average 220 pounds.

Alabama's three defensive line starters average 316 pounds. UT's four linemen average 265 pounds.

Thompson, who coached under Saban for two years at Alabama, isn't afraid to take on the Crimson Tide in recruiting. He feels both schools have plenty to sell.

"The University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee, we're similar in our traditions and histories that we're going to be able to recruit the caliber of athlete that should be at these schools," Thompson said.

With all that tradition and proximity to one another, UT and Alabama will face off in recruiting frequently.

Many of those battles will take place in Alabama. Here are some of the prospects UT is recruiting from Alabama:

n Desmond Brown: He was one of the top performers in UT's June football camp. The 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back from Cherokee High School in Centre seemed impressed with the Vols, then committed to Clemson.

n Pee Wee Cobb: UT continues to evaluate Cobb, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback from Auburn High. Florida and UAB reportedly have offered Cobb a scholarship.

n Chris Davis: An athlete from Woodlawn High in Birmingham, Davis has flown under the radar. That means UT could be in good position if it decides to offer the 5-11, 175-pounder.

n Joey Howe: If the Vols feel they need another high school quarterback in the 2010 class, Howe could be a possibility. The 6-5, 210-pounder from Russellville High School has yet to receive a scholarship offer.

n Martaze Jackson: He has a scholarship offer from Arkansas. The 6-2, 210-pound speed rusher from Demopolis High School could grow into a solid prospect.

n C.J. Mosley: The 6-2, 215-pounder from Theodore High is considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the region. The Vols will have to best Alabama and Auburn, which won't be easy.

n Ladarius Owens: The 6-2, 225-pounder from Jess Lanier in Bessemer also is considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the region. He has been committed to Auburn since September, but UT won't give up.

n Solomon Patton: He is committed to Florida but UT is still in pursuit of the 5-10, 175-pound receiver from Murphy High School in Mobile.

n Dale Trimble: The 5-10, 175-pound cornerback from Gadsden City High was a top performer at UT's camp in June and seemed close to committing to be a Vol. However, Trimble has waited, gathered some scholarships and may be waiting on Alabama's final evaluation.

Dave Hooker covers Tennessee football recruiting. He may be reached at hookerd@knoxnews.com.

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 » 47

smashmouth98 writes:

I would be estatic with Trimble, Owens & Brown. I don't know where we stand with them. We would love to have them wear the orange. Go VOLS!!!

OrangePride writes:

And a strong showing against #1 Alabama will go a LOONG way to getting the attention of these, and all the other, prospects! GO VOLS!!

UT4ever writes:

Bammer suckzz!!

rockytopatl writes:

Good piece. I like the explanation on the difference in defensive styles. I prefer Monte's approach. This is a speed game. Speed wins in the SEC.

volzcrushm writes:

I'm with you rockytopatl. Good article on the defensive differences. Size hurts but speed kills. Go Monte, Go vols. A close game or win against Bama this go-around could get several of those recruits. KEEP INGRAM UNDER 100 YARDS AND MONTARIO OVER 100, AND WE WIN!!

abnerPeabody writes:

go get em coaches.

CHS52VOL writes:

Thought we were also recruiting Davis Dudchock, the tight end prospect from the Birmingham area. Has he commited to Vandy or Notre Dame and I haven't heard about it? The kid is a winner.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Good piece. I like the explanation on the difference in defensive styles. I prefer Monte's approach. This is a speed game. Speed wins in the SEC.

I can't think of a sport where size doesn't have the adv. except ping pong.

Alabamacub5 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Good piece. I like the explanation on the difference in defensive styles. I prefer Monte's approach. This is a speed game. Speed wins in the SEC.

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

even if your fast, it takes longer to run around a bus, than pickup truck. Size has Saban at 7-0, hard to argue that point.

secsecsec writes:

Nice article, but what the article doesn't say is that Alabama has size and speed. Their defense is the fastest that I have seen in the conference this year. A team CAN have size and speed- it doesn't have to be a choice. This article is a little bit disingenuous by implying that UT's smaller linebackers are "faster" just because they are smaller- this isn't true- Bama's linebackers are faster- even though they are much bigger.

This isn't a slam on UT or heaping praise on Bama- it just is what it is. I don't think that UT wants to be known as the team with "small, but fast players." This isn't the Mountain West Conference- this is the SEC- where the players had better not only be fast- but also big.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Throw only to people on your team.

Keep the pig and go North and South.

Tackle, then tackle some more and if necessary punt it out of bounds.

Let's have a great effort and seize the day.

GBO.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to volzcrushm:

I'm with you rockytopatl. Good article on the defensive differences. Size hurts but speed kills. Go Monte, Go vols. A close game or win against Bama this go-around could get several of those recruits. KEEP INGRAM UNDER 100 YARDS AND MONTARIO OVER 100, AND WE WIN!!

Hope you're right, but it would be wise to know where Arenas is at all times too.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I can't think of a sport where size doesn't have the adv. except ping pong.

Billiards? Poker?

"Poker", you say... "Poker ain't a sport." Maybe, but the ESPN network seems to think so.

Cldvols1 writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

Hasn't done anything? Did you read the same article I did? Kiffin gave praise to Saban for his accomplishments. I think Alabama is the best all around team in the nation. However, I'm a Vol fan and will be rootin for em hardcore today! GBO

mlynn1 writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

He didn't say anything against Saban, he just said he prefers the 4-3.

DragonSlayer123 writes:

Size requires extreme accuracy, speed allows for initial imperfection. If someone bigger tackles you absolutely head on, the battle is over and you will go down...but the big guy better hit them head on. Thats the advantage a shifty and talented RB will have over bigger linebackers...if the LBs dont hit him square, they are not going to bring him down. As for the D-line,the Indianapolis Colts D-line is a perfect example of how speed can overcome size...and also an example of how when the bigger guy can keep the opponent directly in front of him for a couple of seconds, the smaller guy stands no chance.

Just a little bit smaller, and just a little faster is preferable overall...unless the big guys are perfect all the time (which cannot be expected every single time).

abnermc writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

You may live in Knoxville but you didn't go to school in Tn. ...know is not NO!

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to UT4ever:

Bammer suckzz!!

Don't you mean, nothing sucks like a big orange?

tree_em_smokey writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

troll

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to volfromfla56_did_I_hurt_your_feelings:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ha, Ha. You people never let it go and your program is no different than any other when it comes to such things. You'd be smart to focus on playing better football and less on digs at your competition like your immature coach does.

Razzle writes:

Nothing blows like a bunch of Alabamer tater heads.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I can't think of a sport where size doesn't have the adv. except ping pong.

Size isn't that important in baseball. In fact, being big is detrimental on the diamond, unless you catch, play first or pitch.

WLafIndianavol writes:

GO VOLS; beat these silly Bammer Habitual CHEATERS!

givehim6 writes:

One thing about it CLK has brought life back into the UT-Bama game. Last year that list of potential recruits out of bama would be only a few long. Last year I only watched the first quarter by then I knew it was going to be a long, bad game. This year I'm excited again. GO VOLS!

junder13 writes:

This list isn't really accurate. We're recruiting Mosely and Owens pretty hard but the rest we're not. Trimble and Brown could be fall back options if some others fall through, though. The rest I haven't ever heard of before and doubt we are pursuing. The article doesn't mention the TE in AL that is a Vandy commit and visited us for the UGA game. We're after him legitimately.

rockytopatl writes:

For those of us who remember Tennessee football before the 1990s, Alabama was always "The Game." Arch-rivals, Bear Bryant in his houndstooth hat, leaning against the goal post during warmups, old Legion Field, and it really was the Crimson vs. the Big Orange, no washed out white jerseys on the road for the Vols.

Just a few of my best Tennessee-Alabama memories:
Being in Neyland in 1982 when we snapped an 11-game losing streak by beating the Bear's last team, 35-28, in dramatic fashion. I lived in Birmingham then and posted the score in my back glass and went slow enough on the drive home to get passed by lots of Bama fans who would not look me in the eye!

In 1995, we snapped another horrible losing streak -- nine years -- by smacking them 41-14. That began a streak of seven straight Tennessee victories by Fulmer's best teams over all the Bear-wannabes from Tuscaloosa.

Our last two wins over Bama, in 2004 and 2006, were low-scoring defensive games, the same kind we need to win today -- 17-13 and 16-13.

Go Vols, do it!!

VOLS_R_BEST_DEAL_WITH_IT writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

If you like Bama then you are indeed a troll, f-a-g

VOLS_R_BEST_DEAL_WITH_IT writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Ha, Ha. You people never let it go and your program is no different than any other when it comes to such things. You'd be smart to focus on playing better football and less on digs at your competition like your immature coach does.

KIFFIN>SATAN/SABAN whatever you wanna call him.

Alabamacub5 writes:

in response to VOLS_R_BEST_DEAL_WITH_IT:

If you like Bama then you are indeed a troll, f-a-g

that's an intelligent response, d-bag

Hardrocknox writes:

remember with a 4- 3 defence anything 15 yards out will be home run , so look for big plays , and we will see if the Dumbo's can run .

Saban_Palin writes:

Good news for Tennessee is that Alabama can only offer 25. That leaves some pretty good left-overs.

tennezz writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Don't you mean, nothing sucks like a big orange?

Just remember you are the sucker and we are the suckee!

tennezz writes:

Lets show these Crimson Terrapins some speed! Oranges roll faster than Elephants! ROLL ORANGE ROLL!!!

bamahater writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Ha, Ha. You people never let it go and your program is no different than any other when it comes to such things. You'd be smart to focus on playing better football and less on digs at your competition like your immature coach does.

the theology that every team cheats so we should too shows how pathetic morality is in Alabama.

Alabamacub5 writes:

in response to bamahater:

the theology that every team cheats so we should too shows how pathetic morality is in Alabama.

the theology that "I don't cheat, you do" is worse... yes Alabama has broken rule. UT has, Florida has, heck, Vandy probably has... let's play football

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Ha, Ha. You people never let it go and your program is no different than any other when it comes to such things. You'd be smart to focus on playing better football and less on digs at your competition like your immature coach does.

... says the mature troll who's taking digs on our "immature" coach. :-/

jmorri30 writes:

If you were a truly talented prospect that played defense, you would be crazy to miss out on the tutelage from Monte Kiffin. A potential Sunday player couldn't find better guidance than Monte.

the10sevol writes:

in response to volfromfla56_did_I_hurt_your_feelings:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"the Darryl Strawberry of college athletics".

lmao

GBO

VOL03_NC writes:

in response to Alabamacub5:

yeah, that Nick Saban guy, he hasn't done anything worthwhile in the SEC, has he?

All he does is get both size and speed...

Alabama 26, Tennessee 13...

And know, I'm not a troll, I live in Knoxville.

TROLL.....TROLL.....TROLLLLLLL

bill#1374014 writes:

Saban owns Alabama in recruiting, the Vols better try another state. He coached in the NFL too, and is probably the best secondary coach in college football. He always gets the top 6-8 players in the state, with Auburn getting the rest of the really good ones.

Psychovol writes:

Except that alibubba didn't wear down the Vols in the 4th quarter. In fact UT dominated the 2nd half decisively. The Vols should be able to get some big-uglies from bubba-land since it's the 2nd most obese state in the nation.

Liberal_Vol writes:

Lets see what Lance Thompson and a 12 to 10 score and man handling by Tennessee over Alabama does to recruiting trolls.

BreatheUT writes:

I am really not sure where Dave gets his lists from sometimes but this list is a laugher. UT is not interested in most of the guys mentioned above.

Yes, the staff is interested in Owens and Mosley but they have minimal interest in Patton and Trimble as fallback plans and possibly Brown. Like someone else mentioned, there is some interest in Dudchock, the TE committed to Vandy but that's about it. The rest look to be an anonymous list that's never shown up anywhere. You won't see this staff fighting hard for 2-star players.

Go Vols!

537081 writes:

Hey Lane!! How bout raiding some Tennessee talent. You know some kids that grew up dreaming about being a Vol. I see it in the eyes every week, High School players fighting for a school they love. You should have been at Polk Co. South Pittburg game last week. You would have seen young men fighting for somthing they belived in. That is the kind of kids we need on the Vols.

AtlantaTide writes:

CJ Mosely is all Bama, Owens would be Bama if not AU, Trimble is ours if we can make room for him, but we seem to be full now at DB / safety. UT needs to back up the bravado from CLT and CLK about that fence around Memphis. If you guys get James Stone, thats something worth crowing about since Bama and UT appear to be neck and neck. See you in the top 5 at NSD...

AtlantaTide writes:

in response to HomesickVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL. Pot meet Kettle. Nice try but I graduated from Middle TN school and have seen many of the trailers in them thar hills of East TN...Tenn fan smack about another Southern state education, lack of teeth, housing, etc. is quite amusing!

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