Teague turns on the switch

Sophomore moves from receiver to defensive back

Marsalis Teague on his recent role change with the Vols

Marsalis Teague is playing the same game.

Now he's just on the other side of the board.

The former receiver became the newest pawn for UT's revamped defensive secondary earlier this week, and after just one day working out at a new position, Teague has already embraced a different perspective.

"Really (having played quarterback) and playing receiver, I'm thinking it's just like a chess match," the sophomore said. "I'm thinking it's the opposite of what I used to think.

"I used to see this (cornerback) lined up like that. Now I'm thinking OK, 'I see this receiver lining up like that,' and I kind of get a feel for what he's about to do. I'm jumping on it."

The Vols are certainly hoping the leap from Teague makes a splash in the secondary after they dismissed Darren Myles over the summer, lost transfer Dave Clark to an eligibility issue this week and are still sorting through another with freshman Eddrick Loften. A unit that once appeared to be a strength for UT has suddenly turned into one plagued by uncertainty heading into camp, with Teague and freshman Ted Meline both becoming possible bandages by choosing interceptions over receptions.

Teague has long been considered a candidate for a position change, but until as recently as the weekend the Vols had fought a move for the promising target. At least in the early going though, neither the coaching staff nor Teague seem to have any regrets about the decision.

"It was really kind of easy once I sat down and thought about it," Teague said. "You know, C++oach Dooley is a great coach and I put all my trust in him that he would only make the move for the better of myself and the better of the team. I feel like if he's doing it for me to be able to help the team.

"The main thing he told me was, 'The move wasn't because you weren't doing well at receiver.' I don't really know anything about that (defensive back) situation, but he told me the numbers were a little down, we've got injuries back there and of course Darren (Myles) had to go. So I mean, he just told me it was a great opportunity to help the team so I jumped on it."

The transition might not be seamless, but Teague has a few things working for him given his high school experience at safety and a bright football mind.

It should also help that UT won't have to thrust him into the starting lineup right away, since it UT still has Janzen Jackson and Prentiss Waggner at safety and Art Evans and Eric Gordon at cornerback to lean on. The depth at both positions clearly isn't where Dooley would like it to be though, so if the switch does go smoothly there will be plenty of chances to break into the rotation.

"We're a little deeper at wideout than we are at defensive back, and nowadays you're in Nickel over half the time," Dooley said. "So, I view five as starting in the secondary. Two or three is kind of starting on offense, so you just do the math and the first thing you do when you're thin somewhere is go, 'Who's got the physical skills?'

"Marsalis played quarterback in high school, and those are the perfect defensive backs. Not all of them, but most guys who played quarterback in high school because they're the best guy on the team, they have the physical skills to go over there and play defense. But they're so used to wanting the ball and having the ball in their hand, it's hard to make that jump."

Teague obviously isn't opposed to trying though, helping Dooley move around some chess pieces in the process.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 60

jjsteel writes:

Good attitude!

iowavol writes:

Good attitude by this kid. I like it.

RandRams writes:

Great attitude!

MT was a solid performer as a DB in HS. Possible candidate for playing both ways, if needed, dn the road.

Lay the lumber MT, lay it hard youngin'!

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

Team Player!!!

tnsportsman writes:

Marsalis is an Absolute Athlete period! He will do great at any position. I wish we had 20 Marsalis Teagues on this Team! He owned HS Football from Henry County, Paris Tennessee!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

bUTchVFL writes:

I'll take 10 Teagues over one Brown.

PrimeTime writes:

These are the kind of young men we need on this team to build the program back to a championship contender. What a great attitude. All abou TEAM not all about ME, MT, you are the man, now go light someone up!

oskie_score writes:

What a great attitude!
Unselfish and unassuming.

Makes good sense, the WR position appears to be more solid and CDD likes to involve the TE's in his schemes. Nice move!

Good Luck MT!

apisonvolfan writes:

I'll take 1 teague over 10 bb's

Huttdawg100 writes:

I've always heard that he was an outstanding student. I'm really glad he decided to stay in Tennessee and be a Volunteer.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

I like both of these players better as receivers. But the team needs some more players at corner. Put Teague on the field, and he will make plays...no doubt. Maline has special talents also. He may become a cover corner who will take the ball back for our offense, but I don't know. Can he tackle? My thinking is that Ted should be coached into a good WR. And frankly, that is where we may need him most this year, if he catches footballs. JMHO

FWBVol writes:

I have to echo what everyone else is saying, Teague has a great attitude and is willing to give his all for Tennessee. The team-first attitude is what football is should be all about.

In the long run this move should be more helpful for Teague to make it to the NFL. At 5-10, 180 pounds, he has a much better chance of being a DB in the NFL than a wide receiver.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

I think a little voice whispered to Marsalis:
"we have a bunch of tall, rangy guys at WR....you MIGHT play. Go to D, and you MIGHT be a superstar".

Just a hunch.

Stepchild_nFL writes:

We need our best athletes at corner. Good move.

lincolncovol writes:

Simply, the young man is a "baller". Glad to have him, he will make plays where ever he plays.

RoadTrip writes:

Marsalis is a class act and comes from a great family. He is intelligent and a great athlete with speed. This move will end up being the best thing he ever did for his future in football. Glad to see it happen and wish it would have been done last year.

daniellovesutfootball writes:

great article! hope Teague and Meline both do wonders for us on the D...by the way...who is C++oach Dooley?? lol Just the many typo's to come to expect from a KNS article.

chaos001 writes:

This is a great move for MT. He's much better suited for DB considering his size/quickness.

Keep making us proud here in HC!!!

vols2#227315 writes:

This kid is so good he needs to be playing instead of setting.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to steamboatticket#484773:

I like both of these players better as receivers. But the team needs some more players at corner. Put Teague on the field, and he will make plays...no doubt. Maline has special talents also. He may become a cover corner who will take the ball back for our offense, but I don't know. Can he tackle? My thinking is that Ted should be coached into a good WR. And frankly, that is where we may need him most this year, if he catches footballs. JMHO

Good post steamboat,good to see you back.

Psychovol writes:

This was easy to see coming and way appropriate for both parties concerned. Teague has much more of a future in the secondary and can always double as a slot.

VolGrad writes:

Marsalis Teague sounds like a very mature young man. He is willing to bleed orange at any position he feels his skills will be an asset to the team.

Reminds me of EB with that confidence, maturity and overall attitude.

givehim6 writes:

One thing I like about Teagus playing Couner is with him being a ex-QB he will be able to read there eyes easy

Bigger_Al writes:

Carl Pickins intercepted a pass in every game he played as a DB when he played defense as a Freshman. I think he got 7 by the end of the season.

vol4lifedld writes:

i love Teague and his attitude about this whole situation i am glad he is takin it so well, but what about T.Meline has anyone heard how he is doing with the change? i personally think he is a better widereceiver and probably isnt too happy but i was just wondering! GO VOLS!!!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to daniellovesutfootball:

great article! hope Teague and Meline both do wonders for us on the D...by the way...who is C++oach Dooley?? lol Just the many typo's to come to expect from a KNS article.

C++ is the language CDD likes to write his plays in, just for fun.

shaymous writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

I'll take 10 Teagues over one Brown.

Yes Sir!!!

wcirwin64#584242 writes:

Yeah . . .but how many stars did he have?

bornonamoutaintop writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

I'll take 10 Teagues over one Brown.

Amen brother.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I have to echo what everyone else is saying, Teague has a great attitude and is willing to give his all for Tennessee. The team-first attitude is what football is should be all about.

In the long run this move should be more helpful for Teague to make it to the NFL. At 5-10, 180 pounds, he has a much better chance of being a DB in the NFL than a wide receiver.

Thats a very good damn point fwb.

It's a win/win situation.

iowavol writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Carl Pickins intercepted a pass in every game he played as a DB when he played defense as a Freshman. I think he got 7 by the end of the season.

You are right about his interceptions every game but wrong about his year - I think. It seems he played defense in his junior year. But what I remember was he was out of position and had amazing closing speed and incredible hands. Several of those interceptions were fingertip grabs.

jobrando#216494 writes:

I hope this will be his chance to get his ticket to the NFL

gnm53108 writes:

in response to iowavol:

You are right about his interceptions every game but wrong about his year - I think. It seems he played defense in his junior year. But what I remember was he was out of position and had amazing closing speed and incredible hands. Several of those interceptions were fingertip grabs.

Dont know if this will help but I do remember that he played db in 90...covered rocket isha-something when we played n freakin d and shut him down.

Still lost that game.

Damnit.

wtnvolfan writes:

in response to wcirwin64#584242:

Yeah . . .but how many stars did he have?

Actually Marsalis was 4 star recruit by Rivals but the things that rivals doesnt measure in the star rankings are what make Marsalis much more valuable than that. Marslais has always been a team player and always did what was needed of him for his team. He does have a great attitude and a he's a great student too. Marsalis does Henry County proud. You go Marsalis!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gotta agree with ya there dore.

Except it was more than a travisty,it just made the whole heisman thing irrelivant.Has as much to do with football as a emmy.

Tennacious writes:

He's an exceptional athlete, you could see that from his limited action last year. With his background on offense he will make an excellent corner.

He'll be in the starting lineup by the time the Georgia game rolls around.

hueypilot writes:

Travisty? Vandy Grad? Damn, I'd ask those guys for a refund. It's, well, it's a travesty.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Dont know if this will help but I do remember that he played db in 90...covered rocket isha-something when we played n freakin d and shut him down.

Still lost that game.

Damnit.

Gentlemen,

It was 1989 that he played DB and WR as a freshmen. He was MVP of the Cotton Bowl that year (played January 1, 1990) as he played both ways.

He played WR in 1990 and 1991 and then went pro after his junior year. He and Alvin Harper were unstoppable at WR vs Notre Dame in 1990. I wish he was covering Ismail, but he was full time WR that season.

That was a great game, even though we lost. If Andy Kelly puts more arc on that last throw to Harper in the back of the end zone with under a minute to play, then the Vols win. He decided to thread it in there and the safety picked it off. The safety jumped to pick it and he was 5 yards in front of Harper in the South end zone. Still one of the best UT games I have ever seen.

Hope that brings some memories back...man I am ready for football!

Go Vols!

96vols writes:

Great to hear a good team attitude!! I'm sure he'll make a very nice contribution to the defense...GBO!

VOLliven2it writes:

Good attitudes, good students, don't win games(joking),but we need this approach and I personally believe Teague is a winner where ever he plays with his 'tude. We can only hope Meline can make the same transition. I want to see mean dbs and corners put some hurt on all the 4,5,6,7 star players we have heard(by trolls)they will be up against and have no chance whatsoever to succeed. I want to hear pads poppin'! GO VOLS!

jyvolsfan writes:

this will be interesting.i thought he could be the next big reciever for this team.but he has played reciever and QB he is gonna be a good UT corner GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SIMSVOL writes:

I can't wait for the season to kickoff - watching all you clowns, who have been dissing coach Dooley, eat crow! It is going to take time to get the team back on top, but Dooley is a great coach and we are fortunate to have him at Tennessee. Go Vols!

monsterman writes:

Typical Teague! Great Attitude, Great Effort!

I have and continue to say that this guy is the next big thing out of Knoxville.

Orangeblood13 writes:

go get em kid

I still don't see why we have guys still "up in the air" on eligability. Is the NCAA really that full of them self? You have all summer to find out and get these kids situations fixed and solved. Now with a month to go you want to still see ??? across the page?

NCAA clearinghouse or whatever stinks, period

Jimslaw writes:

Back to the Heisman talk wish Manning would have won it but it could have been a blessing in disguise. If you look back at QB's that have won it in the past 20 years I can't think of one that has had a productive NFL career. Not saying it's a curse but just a thought.

BreatheUT writes:

Teague will be successful; think Carl Pickens. This is great to see out of a star Tennessee high school football kid that committed to play for his home state. It won't be forgotten.

As a Middle TN Vols fan originally from West Tn.

I say Go Big Orange!!

VolQB writes:

He is the real deal. Teague's Youtube review smashes Bryce Brown and Marlon Brown. Probably the best i've seen.

wazzya69vol writes:

I posted this on another article but didn't get any response. Does anybody know if my wife and I could get in to see a practice or are they completely closed?? Oh yeah, the Big Orange flag is blowing in the breeze,,,can't wait!!

Hounddog writes:

Hounddog rates Mr. Teague 4 Hearts!

Let's play some football. Hounddog

bearbull95#206250 writes:

If Teague's attitude is any indication for what the rest of the team's attitude is, then we will surprise a lot of people in a positive way by the end of the season. I seem to recall a pretty good receiver by the name of Carl Pickens who was a pretty darned good defensive back as well when he played for UT. Looks like CDD is moving the chess pieces around to come up with the best way to get the best athletes and team players out on the field at the same time.

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