Injuries have made depth at defensive tackle a major concern for Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.
But perhaps there's a Minor solution: 6-foot-2, 302-pound senior Minor Bowens.
"I have a real great opportunity," Bowens said after practice Monday.
"Coach (Dooley) got me from track and gave me new life, and really he said the D-line has no face, has no name - everybody can play."
UT's situation at defensive tackle was already unnerving entering fall camp.
But when Marlon Walls, a projected starter alongside Montori Hughes, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Saturday, that situation reached a level of panic.
"One man's injury is another man's opportunity," Bowens said.
"We're sorry for Marlon, but people (have) got to step up, be a man and go out and play. Everybody wants to play, so everybody's working hard."
Bowens signed with Tennessee State out of Memphis Ridgeway High School in 2006, and transferred to UT two years later.
"Things with Kiffin weren't working out like I wanted," he said. "I wanted to try myself out with track and did pretty good.
"I'm a ball player at heart. It always hurt seeing games or seeing big hits, football on TV. Really, now I put it behind and now I focus on getting better every day."
Bowens, an All-Ohio Valley Conference discus thrower, placed 10th in the event at the SEC Outdoor Championships in May when Dooley came calling.
"They (the new staff) saw my old film," Bowens said, "and from there they picked me back up and gave me an opportunity."
Bowens, who was put on scholarship at the start of fall camp, has found a home working with line coach Chuck Smith.
"He came from the NFL," Bowens said, "and I'm just like a sponge, I'm soaking everything in."
Now Bowens finds himself in position to contribute to the Vols' depleted defensive line, and he's as confident as he is big.
"No, no doubt at all," he said of helping the Vols. "I'm a senior, I played, started as a freshman at Tennessee State. I know what it takes, been working hard everyday.
"I already know once I get in there, I'm going to show up and show out."
Better Day: The Vols responded after drawing Dooley's fiery ire Sunday. Dooley called it "script day," where the Vols worked with coaches off the field.
"It was good to do that," Dooley said, "and (today) we'll get out there and do it again see how the players respond. But it was a good, crisp practice, good tempo, good energy and I was pleased with it."
First Scrimmage: The Vols are set for their first preseason scrimmage today.
"It's a little bit of a modified (scrimmage)," Dooley said. "I like to do this on about the seventh day, just to break the monotony. It's a good time to catch our breath and evaluate where we are and where we need to go in the next few days."
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.