Waggner is 'rock solid' paired with Jackson

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) intercepts the ball from UT Martin's Maurice Taylor (1) before running it 54 yards to the end zone for a touchdown at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) intercepts the ball from UT Martin's Maurice Taylor (1) before running it 54 yards to the end zone for a touchdown at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010.

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Tennessee had already cast its superhero.

Janzen Jackson spent a year as an apprentice to one at safety, so there was little question the cape would be his heading into his sophomore season.

The search for his sidekick wasn't supposed to be all that difficult either, at least until the Vols had to dismiss the most likely candidate from the team over the summer, suddenly leaving them only halfway to a Dynamic Duo. There was even still some doubt as recently as last week, at least until Prentiss Waggner showed up and delivered one of the most complete performances in the season opener to solidify his role for UT against No. 7 Oregon on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 7 p.m.).

"You know, I've said it all along that the guy is rock solid, and obviously Janzen is our big-name guy," defensive backs coach Terry Joseph said. "But I think if you have Batman, there's always a Robin.

"Prentiss definitely fits that mold, and he just quietly continues making plays and we're excited to have him. We don't know what we'd do without him."

The Vols (1-0) might really be scrambling considering the other options at the top of the depth chart are a former professional baseball player and a recently promoted walk-on since Darren Myles was kicked off the team in July. And though UT has enough confidence in Brent Brewer and Tyler Wolf, respectively, to put them on the field against the high-octane Ducks (1-0), another performance like Waggner unleashed against UT Martin could make it hard to get him off it.

Clearly his interception and 54-yard return for a touchdown stand out as the highlight, but his team-high six tackles might have actually been more impressive for the Vols - who value versatility and could now use either Waggner or Jackson in the box against Oregon's zone-option rushing attack.

"One thing I never questioned about Prentiss was his ball skills, so I knew he was going to catch it," Joseph said. "But just to see him get down there and mix it up, it really gives us an advantage when we can use him and Janzen on different sides in different defenses."

That flexibility figures to be critical against the Ducks, a team that can move the ball in every way imaginable and strike at any time for a score.

In its opener last week against New Mexico, Oregon rolled up 720 yards of offense, didn't punt for the entire game and racked up 35 first downs in a 72-0 victory.

The Ducks did all that with a first-time starter calling the signals in Darron Thomas, and the quarterback will have even more help now that star tailback LaMichael James is back to complete a two-headed monster with Kenjon Barner in the backfield.

Of course, it will certainly help the Vols now that they've found their own tandem in the secondary to try to corral them.

"They have a lot of playmakers," Waggner said. "They have the running backs - they're real good. They put up a lot of points, they're very explosive. We feel like they're very talented and it's going to be a big, big, big challenge for us. That's why we've got to come out every day and practice hard, get into practice and have a jump start on Saturday.

"I've been waiting for a chance like this for quite a while, and coming into the game (last week) I wasn't real nervous or anything like that, I was mentally focused and just looking to make big plays. I happened to get a break."

Waggner obviously capitalized on it, and he's got the sidekick nickname to prove it.

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Comments » 36

Mtnbiker writes:

GBO!!! Pluck some Ducks!!

RandRams writes:

PW, would love to see you take another one to house! Pluck those duck feathers!

RandRams writes:

in response to kcsbigorng:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fitting.

RandRams writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed Navalorange.
We can attribute that to SOLID coaching.

DiegoVol writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT-Martin or not.... The athlete's on a college level team are gonna be many more than a High School team. That's like saying Alabama could have beat the worst NFL team. If anyone even thinks that is a possibility has never even played D3 college ball.

I'm going to assume that you were just being sarcastic.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to DiegoVol:

UT-Martin or not.... The athlete's on a college level team are gonna be many more than a High School team. That's like saying Alabama could have beat the worst NFL team. If anyone even thinks that is a possibility has never even played D3 college ball.

I'm going to assume that you were just being sarcastic.

"I'm going to assume that you were just being sarcastic."

Nope, I'm pretty sure he or she was just being themself.

VolInIndy writes:

To get psyched up for the game, I just stepped on a duck.

volpreacher writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florida was playing Miami (Ohio) but they didn't look solid.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vol guys,

Ignore the troll--------------listentothemusic.
In fact this troll needs to do just that, listen to the music and take his act somewhere else.....anywhere else, just get lost. What a clown.

Hope you are listening troll. Your ignorance is showing and getting o l d.

UTByrd writes:

Let's send the Ducks back to the Quack Ten with a loss. I just hope our defense sets the tone early and often. Keep it close, then pull it out in the 4th.
Go VOLS!!!!!

rclarkfork#639958 writes:

His ignorance shows every time he opens his mouth but he can't seem to keep it closed....the funny thing is that he thinks he's being cute....but wait til basketball season gets here, he knows even less about basketball, if that is even possible...don't you just love people that continuously make a fool of themselves and their elevator doesn't even stop at the right floor so they never have a clue.....LMAO

VolGraduate writes:

its opener last week against New Mexico, Oregon rolled up 720 yards of offense, didn't punt for the entire game

Does anyone else see the huge positive in this??? Their punter will be f'ing nervous. Get LOUD!!!!

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Glad you're a Vol, "Robin"! Go get it done again this Saturday!

VolInIndy writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And the duck had really bad breath.

Brillovol writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe you didn't realize that 3 OVC schools played 3 SEC schools, and we fared the best. That includes a ranked Arkansas team. Your haughty mention of high-school teams beating Martin? Preposterous.

mdvol writes:

Seriously guys....we have playmakers all over the field. Our O-Line is huge. We have fast, physical LB's. Our safeties will knock your head off or make a pick-6. Our wideouts are the deepest since the Manning era. Poole and Oku in the backfield remind me of Cobb/Webb. Could prove to be as good as Jamal/Travis/Travis when you add Neal to the mix. People forget Simms is a junior who is 6'3", great pedigree, smart and a big arm. What's not to love? Oh, and we have a great coaching staff. NOT TO MENTION 100,000 SCREAMING VOLUNTEERS!

Vols win Saturday.
And the next Saturday.

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

Brillovol writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice kid! Now I know why tigers eat their young!

VolNWA writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

2013 - Oooh Yeah. I live in the state of Washington, and I am stoked about us playing them up here. Assuming I am still around then, I FOR SURE will be there in orange.

Weatherman writes:

in response to specquackular:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

or a fly rod. GBO!

OrangePsyched writes:

I don't think that he is a real duck fan RR. Hey specquackular..give me a couple UO sites that you post on so that I can go on there and read them. If you're a real quacker that won't be a problem. Till then I will believe you to be a Bama or Gator troll hiding behind the duck name trying to stir the pot. Having a duck for a mascot is hilarious though. They better be ducking Saturday though as there will be orange flying at you from every direction. ROCKY TOP!

oskie_score writes:

in response to VolNWA:

2013 - Oooh Yeah. I live in the state of Washington, and I am stoked about us playing them up here. Assuming I am still around then, I FOR SURE will be there in orange.

VolNWA...where in WA??

oskie_score writes:

Loved PW's "oskie-score" against UTM.

A young duck QB in a noisy, hostile Neyland...no reason PW can't hang an oskie OR better yet another oskie-score on our feathered guests.

31-24

PLUCK THOSE DUCKS!!!

oskie_score writes:

in response to kcsbigorng:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like it.

Cardinal54 writes:

in response to specquackular:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Where did Rich say Tenn plays the best brand of football? That comment was about the SEC.

Hope you quackers are ready. I've seen plenty of veteran QBs struggle in Neyland when its rockin, and its your qbs 1st game on the road. I'd be a little worried about this game too if I were you... (Why else would you be on Tenn site talkin trash if you weren't a little scared? I bet you didn't go to New Mexico's site last week)

To rephrase another poster, Don't talk about the VOLS til you guys when a National Title...

DiegoVol writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not gonna say it was Simms fault for the Jones injury. Its football! Injuries happen, its part of the game.

ALTHOUGH, He could have lead Jones out a few more yards and that play is a touchdown. Instead, Jones has to slow down to catch the ball.
That comes from the difference in practice speed and game speed. Once the receiving corps and Matt get a few games under their belt things will keep getting better.

TheBanker writes:

Duck a L'Orange anyone? Mmmmmmmm Tasty!! Almost as good as USCe fried chicken!

utfan36 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ya and you will see a lot of int. to!!

utfan36 writes:

in response to bartlett79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i think they will be pac 10.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Have you ever thought about stating what you really think? Great last half of the final paragraph.

utfan36 writes:

in response to bartlett79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

sec are just as bad look the ga&lsu and the ark&fl games last year.bad refs but they got suspended. i think all refs make bad calls in every cof.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to RichieRich:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are good at sugar-coat'n your thoughts.

Dont ever change RR.

Go VOLS!

hikerdude writes:

in response to mdvol:

Seriously guys....we have playmakers all over the field. Our O-Line is huge. We have fast, physical LB's. Our safeties will knock your head off or make a pick-6. Our wideouts are the deepest since the Manning era. Poole and Oku in the backfield remind me of Cobb/Webb. Could prove to be as good as Jamal/Travis/Travis when you add Neal to the mix. People forget Simms is a junior who is 6'3", great pedigree, smart and a big arm. What's not to love? Oh, and we have a great coaching staff. NOT TO MENTION 100,000 SCREAMING VOLUNTEERS!

Vols win Saturday.
And the next Saturday.

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

Simms does have good size and a strong arm. I'm worried about his accuracy. He was off target many times last week even though he had all day to throw. It didn't hurt us too much because UTM's DBs aren't very good. Oregon's DBs are much better and Simms' lack of accuracy may cost us.

n2thecheckerboards2 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

fail x 1000

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to TheBanker:

Duck a L'Orange anyone? Mmmmmmmm Tasty!! Almost as good as USCe fried chicken!

Add grilled Gator tail to that menu and you could open a restaurant. GBO!!

AlpharettaVol writes:

i'm so excited about the game, to get ready for the game I just cancelled my insurance policy with AFLAC.

VolNWA writes:

in response to oskie_score:

VolNWA...where in WA??

Tri-Cities, WA in the SE portion of the state. You know it?

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