Tennessee is perfectly happy with Ben Martin where he is.
Considering his blend of size and speed, the junior could easily move back to linebacker if the Vols needed him to. And after briefly showing off some impressive skills in coverage, Martin at least looked comfortable in the secondary as well.
He might not really be able to play anywhere on the field, but Martin has proved to be a versatile threat heading into Saturday's game with Ohio (TV: VideoSeat PPV, 7 p.m.), and he's found a regular home in the lineup at defensive end.
"I think it's came to me," Martin said. "I've been studying my playbook more. I'm just really into my playbook now and studying the other team so I kind of know what's coming, or what I expect to come, faster. So when it does come, I'm not surprised.
"I just go out there and try to play hard every down and whatever happens, happens."
Martin turned that work into a couple good things against No. 1 Florida last week, coming up with a sack that covered 14 yards, assisting on another tackle and making a big play downfield in which he looked more like a safety than a lineman.
With the Gators in the red zone and driving in the second quarter, Martin dropped back into coverage during a zone blitz and tried to take away a route by Riley Cooper along the sideline. There still was an opening for quarterback Tim Tebow to try to fit the ball in, but at the same time it got there, so did Martin.
"I saw Tebow look away, I think he was trying to look me off to pull me away, but my job was to get under the route and I just kept dropping," Martin said. "Then I saw him throw the ball so I just broke on it. Luckily I broke up the pass."
Fellow end Gerald Williams faced a similar play earlier in the season and didn't get the same result. Martin's ability to defend the pass has helped get him on the field more lately.
The fact he can slow it down by getting to the quarterback doesn't hurt, either.
"I think he's comfortable and learning the defense," defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said. "He was injured in a camp a little, but I think he's coming around.
"That was a heck of a play (against Florida). That's something that we work on every day. (Defensive coordinator) Monte (Kiffin) brought that defense in and we work it, got drills for it and he's done a good job of it."
Martin appears to be a perfect fit in that defense all over the field.
But the starting point seems to be set up front.
Health Nuts: The Vols weren't at full strength during Thursday's outdoor practice. But UT coach Lane Kiffin expects most of the players limited in the workout to be available this weekend.
Defensive lineman Wes Brown was again held out as a precaution for his aching knees but should play against Ohio, and the defense also should have linebacker LaMarcus Thompson in the lineup despite his sore back. Thompson took part in practice and moved around well enough to play, though Greg King likely will get the start.
Injuries also have taken a toll at the back of the unit, and a decision hasn't been made who will start at cornerback opposite Dennis Rogan.
"(Brent Vinson) is doing well," Kiffin said. "He may not start, but he's doing well. Art (Evans) has laryngitis, and I think he'll play. We'll see. That'll probably be a game-time decision that will obviously affect Brent's playing time.
"We think Brent's a special player when he's consistent and his mind is right. We just have to keep him focused at times."
Fresh Starts: UT again had a Thursday practice that featured some do-overs, including most of an early offensive period that had to be restarted midway through. But the Vols didn't have as many issues as they did last week, and the opponent might have had something to do with it.
"I don't know that we've necessarily done that much better," Kiffin said. "We did not have a very good Thursday (before Florida), we had to repeat a bunch of stuff. Today was better. This (Ohio) defense also is not quite as complicated, especially on third down, as the last defense was. That has a lot to do with having so few repeats.
"We've worked very hard this week, especially with creating competition, and these guys understand it has a lot to do with how they play Saturday."
Quarterback Checks: The performances on Saturday might not have been the most consistent, but offensive coordinator Jim Chaney feels like he's getting an even effort from his starting quarterback in the days leading up to the weekend.
"I think (Jonathan Crompton) has done a wonderful job," Chaney said. "Every week he does the same thing - he comes to work, he studies his butt off, he understands the game plan better than most.
"I'm excited about watching him play on Saturday, and I'm anticipating him having a wonderful game."
Still Learning: Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has been indoctrinated in the spread offense and will see it again from the Bobcats. But they'll add one more wrinkle the coaching veteran hasn't faced much before with their Pistol attack that features a running back behind the quarterback in a shotgun formation.
"I didn't even know what it was until I got here," Monte Kiffin said. "Every week it's something new."