UT adjusting with injuries to linebackers

Tennessee has had holes at all three slots.

The Vols have dealt with bad knees, concussions, back problems and a weightlifting incident.

They've had to move a player to perhaps the most important spot on the defense on the fly and juggle fresh faces around him. But as snakebit as the UT linebackers might appear to be heading into Saturday's game with No. 21 South Carolina (TV: ESPN, 7:45 p.m.), injuries still haven't really done much to limit their effectiveness or wear down position coach Lance Thompson.

"We were thin to start with, but I've been really proud of the guys," Thompson said. "They've been moving around a lot, we moved a guy (Savion Frazier) that had never played Mike linebacker and now he's a three-week-old Mike and he's playing pretty good for us and done a lot of good things. I just say, 'Hey guys, it's just a matter of taking advantage of your opportunities.'

"It is what it is - we have Rico (McCoy) nicked up, so when we lose Rico and Nick Reveiz (torn ACL), now we're playing with a bunch of guys that really had never been in a football game before this year."

The Vols (3-4, 1-3 SEC) have had no choice but to throw them into the fire, and though they haven't been getting burned on the scoreboard, they're typically leaving games with a few marks on them.

Seemingly everybody UT puts on the field at linebacker has had to deal with some sort of injury, and despite dealing with limited depth, that's still been a long list. Strong-side starter LaMarcus Thompson has dealt with a lingering back injury, reserve Greg King went down briefly after suffering a fluke accident in the weight room, Herman Lathers has missed time with concussions and Reveiz is out for the season.

McCoy was added to that list Saturday against Alabama as well, but he made clear it would take more than a sore knee to keep him off the field against the Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2).

"I guess you can say that (it's been bad luck), but it's all about the game, and it happens," McCoy said. Guys get hurt, and it just so happens we've had quite a few guys get hurt at the linebacker position. But I'm in, I'll be out there Saturday and I should be 100 percent.

"I'm going to go, man. I'm going to be out there. I haven't missed a game since I've been playing here that I didn't have to miss. I practiced for the most part (Tuesday), and it's a little sore. I've been going in for rehab and icing it down and stuff like that, so I'm pretty sure I'll be close to, if not 100 percent by Saturday."

At full-strength or not, the Vols certainly will take whatever they can get out of their leading tackler, and McCoy apparently hasn't even considered sitting out.

Frazier and LaMarcus Thompson are both set to go as well, but the trick lately has been trying to get everybody in the middle of the defense through a whole game in one piece.

"(Injuries) are just part of our situation," Lance Thompson said. "These guys are doing a great job, they're working hard and coming in and doing things on their own.

"They get caught up and learn the system and the checks and the things they've got to do, but that's where recruiting is so important. You've got to recruit your depth."

There's no question the coaching staff has been trying to do just that. In the meantime, they're having to test all the talent already here.

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Comments » 27

the10sevol writes:

so, what you're saying is that a new player can grasp this system and be proficient within a few games? hmm... anybody else have the names taylor and luc popping into their minds?

GBO

paradisetaxi writes:

I trust this new system !!! GO VOLS !

abnermc writes:

Where is Donald?

KAvolsfan writes:

in response to abnermc:

Where is Donald?

getting roughing the kicker penalties... and hes a de and terrible.. saw him play in high school in a scrimmage and was no where near a 5*; maybe a 3*

vol4good#206163 writes:

in response to abnermc:

Where is Donald?

Roughing the kicker, last time I looked!

givehim6 writes:

Coach O there is your assignment for the recruitment season LINEBACKERS.

BSweet writes:

Has anyone heard anything about Askew? Haven't heard about him being in line for playing time and was just wondering if something was up with him.

VOLoom writes:

I think coach O would recruit 22 defensive linemen if he could.

the10sevol writes:

in response to VOLoom:

I think coach O would recruit 22 defensive linemen if he could.

scary part is, he probably could, nothing lower than a 3*,

GBO

tennezz writes:

in response to BSweet:

Has anyone heard anything about Askew? Haven't heard about him being in line for playing time and was just wondering if something was up with him.

They were redshirting him, but had to bring him in because of depth problems after injurys. He has played a little in 1 maybe 2 games.

tennezz writes:

in response to VOLoom:

I think coach O would recruit 22 defensive linemen if he could.

Let him go for it, They will use the quicker ones on defensive line and the others on offensive line, They play both ways in high school anyway.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

LB's are very adequate.

And agile.

Let's kick some rooster azz Sat nite.

kevin151 writes:

in response to KAvolsfan:

getting roughing the kicker penalties... and hes a de and terrible.. saw him play in high school in a scrimmage and was no where near a 5*; maybe a 3*

When was the roughing the kicker penalty? If it was Saturday, than i need to lay off the booze?

kevin151 writes:

in response to brownsvillevol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks man. All i remeember was a lot of yelling and cursing, and pure disgust when I woke up the next morning. UT wins out....

Docrok writes:

in response to abnermc:

Where is Donald?

He played on special teams against AL and is the one that run into the kicker! But on a positive note least he was back there! Nearly in time!

Docrok writes:

in response to BSweet:

Has anyone heard anything about Askew? Haven't heard about him being in line for playing time and was just wondering if something was up with him.

I was wandering the same thing! When he was recruited he was supposedly the freshman MOST LIKELY to play early but havent heard anything???

Docrok writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You do know he was the leading tackler for the team that season right????? He played the run tough but was just not fast enough to keep up with the tight ends and backs catching passes! And yet still the leading tackler on the team! Just some food for thought for you!

PureOrange writes:

How many times did we hear in the past that we just did not have replacements? This staff's opening attitude about everyone competing for playing time has resulted in more people actually being able to play when called upon. That is part of the excitement created by this staff. We will only get better! Go Vols!

Docrok writes:

And still the leading tackler!! SO by your assessment what does that say about the rest of the team!

chargervol writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Malcolm X strikes again! You are the pathetic racist. Get over it. Obama is in the WHITE HOUSE, be happy. GO VOLS!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VFear:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IIRC, it was the same series on which Ingram later fumbled, so there was no ultimate damage.

BreatheUT writes:

This bunch has been giving their all for Tennessee!

Go Vols!

jobrando#216494 writes:

I thought this would be a 6-6 season but now it looks as high as 8-4 and someone scared to play the VOLS in a bowl.

carolinasmokey writes:

in response to kevin151:

When was the roughing the kicker penalty? If it was Saturday, than i need to lay off the booze?

No more for you, Dude.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I have a lot of faith in this staff. I would like to see us win a game in which we were an underdog, though. That may quieten a few trolls. I think the only time we may be an underdog may be the Ole Miss game coming up.

VolunTenMile writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

I have a lot of faith in this staff. I would like to see us win a game in which we were an underdog, though. That may quieten a few trolls. I think the only time we may be an underdog may be the Ole Miss game coming up.

Dude, I'll take wins whether we're underdog, overdog, watchdog, yarddog, watchdog, hangdog, coondog, or any other kind of canine.
GBO!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to BSweet:

Has anyone heard anything about Askew? Haven't heard about him being in line for playing time and was just wondering if something was up with him.

Iam wondering too; He came in with big time creds; I would at least think he would be doing special teams work..

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