On the final two plays of Saturday's 27-21 victory over Vanderbilt, Rod Wilks and Byron Moore were lined up as Tennessee's two safeties.
Had the Vols drawn up a depth chart in July, the players would have respectively fallen somewhere around fifth and sixth at the position, coach Derek Dooley said Monday at his weekly news conference.
Already thin because of the preseason dismissal of Janzen Jackson and the season-ending injury to Brent Brewer, the Vols found themselves in a bind when Brian Randolph went out with a mild concussion and Prentiss Waggner was sidelined during overtime with a nagging shoulder injury.
Dooley said he hopes the Vols can avoid a similar scenario Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Kentucky, but the status of both Randolph and Waggner will be closely monitored throughout the week.
"We're in bad shape in the back end," Dooley said.
Dooley said he'd be surprised if Randolph, a freshman who has started seven games and accumulated 43 tackles, practiced today.
"We expect him to be back," Dooley said, "but you just never know with these things."
Dooley was more optimistic about Waggner's prognosis, but said the injury will always be there, "which is just a real problem."
For what it's worth, Waggner, shortly after Saturday's game, said Eric Gordon's, game-winning, 90-yard interception return for a touchdown made the pain in his shoulder "instantly" go away.
UT's secondary seemingly hasn't been able to go a week without encountering some sort of problem this season.
The solutions Saturday involved increased playing time for Wilks, who replaced Randolph, and cornerback Marsalis Teague, who yo-yoed back into the starting lineup in place of freshman Justin Coleman.
The results for both players, Dooley said, were mixed.
Wilks, one of the Vols' best players on special teams, recovered a fumble during the first quarter, but was repeatedly late by a second or two on a number of pass plays in his direction.
"Rod does some good things," Dooley said. "Of course, he's a great leader, got a lot of leadership back there and he likes to get down in the box and mix it up. But there are some times where it gets tough on him there in the back end, getting out there in some one-on-ones and then also having to make a lot of checks when we were playing quarters."
Teague, after losing his starting job to freshman Justin Coleman for a brief spell, was back in the lineup and played regularly against the Commodores. He was targeted on a number of mid-range passes, where he provided enough cushion to allow a handful of Vanderbilt completions.
Neither Teague nor Coleman, Dooley said, has done anything to deserve full-time starting duties.
"(Coleman) goes and breaks up a pass, and then you give up a 50-yarder, versus, you give up a 10-yarder, give up a 15-yarder, give up a 12-yarder," Dooley said. "We're feast or famine on one or we bleed on the other one."
One Final Take: Dooley said he understood and agreed with the assessment provided early Sunday by SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw regarding Saturday's final hectic moments.
Shaw said the officiating crew erred twice Gordon's interception return for a touchdown when they improperly ruled Gordon down and then, even after officials blew the play dead, improperly overturned the play with a video review.
Dooley said he understood why there is a rule that disallows the review of plays that are blown dead, but said the basic intent of it didn't apply Saturday.
"On this play I don't know anybody that stopped within 30 yards of him," Dooley said. "Nobody heard him, including their team.
"At the end of the day the right play was called."
Munson Memories: Growing up in Athens, Ga., Dooley said he was at the "perfect age" when longtime Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson came into prominence with a number of his memorable, gravely-voiced calls.
Munson died Sunday at age 89.
"I memorized all of his great ones," Dooley said. "I won't recite them for you but I still have them embedded to memory. I used to listen to the tapes at the end of the season of his great calls.
"It's sad to see him go. He's a true legend down there."