Brent Brewer has torn ACL, out for the season

Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) leaps across the goal line past Tennessee defensive back Brent Brewer (17) and linebacker Austin Johnson (40) to score a touchdown in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct,  22, 2011, in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) leaps across the goal line past Tennessee defensive back Brent Brewer (17) and linebacker Austin Johnson (40) to score a touchdown in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct, 22, 2011, in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Derek Dooley recaps the South Carolina game

Brent Brewer's frustrating sophomore season is over and the shuffling in Tennessee's secondary remains never-ending.

The strong safety tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of Saturday's 14-3 loss to South Carolina. Because of the timing of the injury, Brewer likely won't be available for spring practice.

Brewer started all eight games this year but struggled to build off his strong finish to the 2010 season. He finishes with 24 tackles, three of which went for a loss.

"Unfortunate," coach Derek Dooley said Monday at his weekly press conference. "But we got to put the next guy in and go play,"

That next guy will be freshman Brian Randolph, who had just started to settle in at free safety, where he's started the previous two games. Prentiss Waggner, who has yo-yoed back and forth between safety and cornerback this season, will move out of cornerback, his natural position where he's played the last two games, to replace Randolph.

Either Marsalis Teague or Justin Coleman, both of whom have been benched for ineffective play at some point this season, will step in for Waggner. Izauea Lanier, a junior-college transfer who moved into the starting rotation early last month, remains locked in at the other cornerback spot.

"We don't really have much options," Dooley said.

Dooley said the position switch for Randolph doesn't have to be as daunting as it may appear. How the Vols (3-5, 0-5 SEC) shape their plan of attack for Middle Tennessee State, which it hosts for Homecoming on Saturday (TV: FSTN, 7 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium, will dictate just how different it has to be for Randolph.

If Randolph were to assume the exact responsibilities Brewer had, it would be a dramatic change, Dooley said. But that likely won't be the case.

"We may mix it up a little bit now with Brian to make it easier," Dooley said. "It just depends on how you shape it for the week and who you're playing."

As Waggner showed Saturday against South Carolina, when he intercepted a Connor Shaw pass and nearly returned it for a touchdown, his play-making abilities are best utilized at cornerback. That's where he nabbed most of his five interceptions last season and where he was supposed to play all throughout 2011.

That all changed when star safety Janzen Jackson was dismissed from the team, prompting what has become a seemingly endless cycle of tinkering and maneuvering in the Vols' secondary.

"We wanted Prentiss at corner all year," Dooley said. "We finally got Randolph ready and move him to corner and he gets a good pick and he's playing good.

"We've got to move him back now."

How much of a drop-off occurs will depend largely on how Teague and Coleman respond to their respective second chances.

Coleman, a true freshman who enrolled during the spring, started the first two games of the season but was burned for a number of long pass plays and was eventually replaced by Lanier. Teague, one of the unit's veterans, struggled mightily in October and has seen his snaps drop drastically in the past two games.

"They've got to go play better," Dooley said.

Waggner's interception was just the third of the season for UT and the first made by a defensive back since the season opener. Randolph also had his hands in a turnover Saturday, forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker A.J. Johnson during the fourth quarter.

Both players will be looking to do the same Saturday from different spots on the field.

"The next four games, we have to keep reinforcing getting turnovers in practice," Waggner said. "Hopefully that can carry over into the game and give the offense a spark."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 61

utfaninga writes:

Sorry to hear Brent.

mytrifecta writes:

If not for bad luck, Dooley would have none. Losing a game by putting 13 players on the field, losing a game with the opposing team putting 13 players on the field, losing your star DB to drugs, 2 best offensive players go down within weeks of each other, arguably the most talented DB we have left is out for the year with a knee injury, etc. And, I'm sure I've missed some other issues. I can't remember any team having ongoing issues like this where it seems literally nothing goes our way. Hopefully things start to turn because I can't imagine it getting much worse.

OrangePride writes:

A very tough break for Brent. Wishing him the best on the surgery and a speedy recovery. The Vols seem to get thinner on starters every week.

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

Ouch! We gonna miss you Brent. Work hard to rehab and we will see you next fall!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Only means we get beat by 24 pts by putting Teague back in. We still go 6-6 for a bowl. Couldn't have beaten Arkansas regardless. Really feel bad for him, he was one of the bright spots on defense.

VolGrad writes:

Dooley's second year here is looking like his third year at LaTech. They lost most of their starters at some point during that season to injury and several guys for the whole year.

Hate it for Brewer, the team and the coaches. Gotta get healthy. Hopefully, he'll be able to start getting back into the flow of things during the summer workouts and fall camps.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Ouch. again. Can't remember such a snakebit season.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

Yep, that sounds about right.

Sorry for BB. Hope he can get healthy and ready to play in 2012.

huntined#565710 writes:

Hate to hear that as he was one of the bright spots we have had this year..

Ironcity writes:

I hate it for Brent and wish him the best. As for the team Brent was not having a good season so the loss will be minimal. I hope he gets back faster and quicker come August. Good luck Brent!

VOL1972 writes:

Have to go to a true freshman -- who was only a 3 star. I was wondering why we didn't turn to one of the four star safeties we recruited the last couple of years and then I saw one of them (Martin) left in August, one of them (Clark) flunked out last year and the third (Loften) never could get the grades to get in.

Oh well -- the star system is overrated anyway.

jobrando#216494 writes:

heck,,,one more bad break.....this year should not even count as a Dooley year as coach

bigorangetrain writes:

Is this some kind of sick joke?! How can one team have so many issues? It's a miracle Dooley can get anybody to want to come here. Pulling for you Brent see you next fall!

tntorbett writes:

Torn ACL's seem to be contagious up there in Knoxville. First Smokey, the J. Hunter, (I'm also gonna throw in E. Berry for his ties to UT, & Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans), now Brewer. Throw in a broken thumb to T. Bray; man the injury bug is lovin' Tennessee this year... need to eradicate it quickly...

lemich writes:

Hate it for Brent! Here's to a speedy and full recovery!

PHAT_VOL writes:

Unreal, Get Well Soon, Brent. We need you back next year. Does anyone know anything about Herman Lathers return?

VolAtUGA11 writes:

Get well soon, Brent! We'll need you.

So now we're down to just throwing out warm bodies, it seems. This season can get worse (think Vandy game) but let's get behind our coaches and players to keep improving, on into next year and the next year.

Go_Big_O writes:

All I can think is that we are so low now that getting back on top is going to feel that much better!

Keep the faith.

VolMan126 writes:

I cant remember a season where we had so many bad breaks. First Jackson then Lathers, Hunter, Bray, now Brewer. UNbelievable!! STOP THE BLEEDING! Take the starting d backfield, linebacker,QB and top reciever off any team and see how it goes. Much less off a team this young. Better get Devrin Young the ball and stop using him as a decoy...he is the only weapon we have left!!GO VOLS

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to Go_Big_O:

All I can think is that we are so low now that getting back on top is going to feel that much better!

Keep the faith.

Good post. It will come. Patience vol fans, patience.

scvols writes:

Dooley's first name is Bad, middle name is Luck, as in Bad Luck Dooley.

prideofthesouthland writes:

Year 0.1

tonyvick#213307 writes:

I'm just numb about what's happening to UT. This sports program needs an exorcism

ClemCash writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

heck,,,one more bad break.....this year should not even count as a Dooley year as coach

Yeah, he already used his mulligan last year. Remember how cute he tried to be with the "this is year zero" nonsense. Aint funny now, is it? I guess because of the injuries, next year will be year .75, instead of year 3. Ridiculous!

Biggie writes:

I wondered about Mckeefery when he came in. He's a trainer with military background. Does that convert well to football? Are these ACL injuries something that can be lessened by a different approach to strength training/conditioning?

Take_Back_Knoxville writes:

The good news is it looks like there might be some progress concerning the Synergy Stick, or the Moses Stick. It has been reported that Coach Fulmer and Coach Dooley met today and discussed the stick and how it might help the mindset of the team. Fulmer actually brought the stick, shadowbox and all, to the meeting but reportedly left with it and only a tentative agreement to discuss the fate of the stick further at a future date. The concensus is that Dooley is skeptical while Fulmer is reluctant to part with the gift. The first step has been taken however and the meeting was a major milestone in resolving the fate of the famed Tennessee walking stick. See link for info concerning the stick.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1999...

usafvol writes:

in response to bUTchVFL:

Good post. It will come. Patience vol fans, patience.

Agree 100%!

NottaVol writes:

Hate to hear this news. Man that Trent dude looks like Earl Campbell in this picture.

Upgrayedd writes:

in response to Biggie:

I wondered about Mckeefery when he came in. He's a trainer with military background. Does that convert well to football? Are these ACL injuries something that can be lessened by a different approach to strength training/conditioning?

McKeefery was never in the military. He spent something like 12-15 seasons at USF before contracting for a month with the 160th SOAR. All he did was train the guys who lead their PT regimen. It wasn't what he thought it would be, so when Dooley offered, he took it. I REPEAT, he was NEVER in the military. He's a D-1 strength and conditioning coach.

Upgrayedd writes:

in response to Upgrayedd:

McKeefery was never in the military. He spent something like 12-15 seasons at USF before contracting for a month with the 160th SOAR. All he did was train the guys who lead their PT regimen. It wasn't what he thought it would be, so when Dooley offered, he took it. I REPEAT, he was NEVER in the military. He's a D-1 strength and conditioning coach.

Correction, a few months, not one month.

RockyBears2009 writes:

let devrin young play some snaps at corner this week. he played it at bearden and he's fast enough to keep up with just about anyone

amstelman writes:

As I saw it, another awkward landing similar to Justin's. What are the odds? The mojo must be agin us. Sorry, Brent, rehab well, sir.

HtownVol writes:

in response to RockyBears2009:

let devrin young play some snaps at corner this week. he played it at bearden and he's fast enough to keep up with just about anyone

I disagree HOWEVER, I am a little upset that Devrin has not been getting the ball on Offense more than a play or two.

I would argue that Young is the best PlayMaker UT has on Offense right now.

It is obvious on kick returns that Young sees the holes and hits them full speed. So why not give him a few screens or put him in the slot and hit him quick.

Perhaps that would also get Worley going.

PLEASE DO NOT PLAY TEAGUE!!!

Teague has officially become my least favorite UT player. I know that on more than half of the big plays UT has gives up Teague was the player getting burned.

GO VOLS!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Keep the faith.

Just beat MTSU and get ready for Arkie.

Still a Vol.

RoadTrip writes:

Enough talk about Teague playing - that dog don't hunt. Moore has played a lot lately, rather have him give it a shot along with Coleman. Anderson needs to be back on D. It just seems to me that Waggner keeps getting the shaft in all of this moving around stuff. Randolph will do well at either safety position.

CarlChilders writes:

Stop the pity party everybody and look ahead. Imagine how the season could end if the players were dropping and shaking their heads everyday.

dvols writes:

Let the TN-VANDY hype begin......

GAME OF THE DECADE !!!!

quit talkind lsu and bammer.....

bnakk#240693 writes:

Good thing we signed about 9 db's in the last class. Brewer was not playing up to potential this year but the shuffling of all these young kids has got to hurt.

Mtnbiker writes:

After hearing this I'm ready to just hope we go 5-7 and spend the winter break getting healthy. Brutal year, were if things had went our way a bit more often I could easily believed we could have attained 7-5 or maybe even 8-4. What's worse we have MTSU up this weekend so it'll be hard to be up for the game as a fan. Which is sad, as much as losing to LSU and Bama smarted, the loss to SC hurt worse. It was there for the taking... Dooley haters go *&^## yourselves. He got here with an empty cupboard, Last recruiting class by Fulmer was not up to SEC standards, precious few quality guys. Then Kiffin came in got one pretty good class, they've all either left when Kiffin left or were dismissed for being stupid. Dooley came in saved what could be saved of Kiffins second and last class. Dooley has ONE class that is 100% his, no depth hardly at any position and yet you guys want to go 12-0. Get over it, we will not be 12-0 anytime soon, 9-3 is very doable in the next year or two. IF we arent winning 8+ games by then I'll agree we need a new HC, til then shut up. Please

proud2btnvol (Inactive) writes:

I still can't get over how amazingly thin we are. Kiffin (for the most part) left us with trouble-makers who had to be run off. We basically have about 40 folks who would otherwise make the team. We are running at half the players and they are boys. It's like lining up with a JV team every week against 4 or 5 ( on the average SEC team ) NFL players.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to Mtnbiker:

After hearing this I'm ready to just hope we go 5-7 and spend the winter break getting healthy. Brutal year, were if things had went our way a bit more often I could easily believed we could have attained 7-5 or maybe even 8-4. What's worse we have MTSU up this weekend so it'll be hard to be up for the game as a fan. Which is sad, as much as losing to LSU and Bama smarted, the loss to SC hurt worse. It was there for the taking... Dooley haters go *&^## yourselves. He got here with an empty cupboard, Last recruiting class by Fulmer was not up to SEC standards, precious few quality guys. Then Kiffin came in got one pretty good class, they've all either left when Kiffin left or were dismissed for being stupid. Dooley came in saved what could be saved of Kiffins second and last class. Dooley has ONE class that is 100% his, no depth hardly at any position and yet you guys want to go 12-0. Get over it, we will not be 12-0 anytime soon, 9-3 is very doable in the next year or two. IF we arent winning 8+ games by then I'll agree we need a new HC, til then shut up. Please

I always like your posts. Pretty much nitty-gritty.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to proud2btnvol:

I still can't get over how amazingly thin we are. Kiffin (for the most part) left us with trouble-makers who had to be run off. We basically have about 40 folks who would otherwise make the team. We are running at half the players and they are boys. It's like lining up with a JV team every week against 4 or 5 ( on the average SEC team ) NFL players.

Sad but TRUE. Any other "assessment" is interloper scat.

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

in response to scvols:

Dooley's first name is Bad, middle name is Luck, as in Bad Luck Dooley.

Nothing to do with luck or Karma. This has to do with Physics, maturity and speed. Our younger, smaller guys are getting mashed by these larger, faster teams, what happens at the same time that you loose games, is that you loose players to injury.

TheFuj writes:

Anybody but Teague. Still think Teague would be better at receiver than Zachy boy.

D60 writes:

Come on people every team in the SEC has had to kick players off and play through injuries,bad luck has nothing to do with it. Get well soon Brent. We just need to find a way to win some games

HallowedHill writes:

Get better soon, Brent. Godspeed and good luck.

GO VOLS!

volaholic45 writes:

Yeah, it's not unsual to have to deal with injuries, but c'mon man - Dooley doesn't exactly have the luck o' the Irish. At least 3x this season losing the team's best player (Jackson, Hunter, Bray), along with other key injuries. Going back to last season, losing one game on what should have been the final play for having too many players on the field, and another because the other team had too many players on the field. It is bizarre.

Possible explanations:

1. Dooley has done something really, really bad and it's karmic justice.

2. Fulmer is using his Peyton Manning action figure for a Tennessee Vol voodoo doll.

3. Can't think of any other possibilities - maybe 1 & 2 both.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

If it weren't for bad luck, we have no luck at all.....gloom, despair, and agony on UT.

devo-evol writes:

this is ridiculous! the vols have been bit with a serious injury bug for about 3 years now. we have no idea what this team would be like at full strength. this year is worst than any. whoever the best player is at the time gets injured every game. I know that is the nature of the beast but for a team to be so thin to begin with and keep losing key players it seems like every week. the only positive I can pull out of this is the young guys and backups are getting lots of experience. i am just ready for this season to be put out of its misery. i never like to be a wait till next season guy but i can't wait and hopefully they will be back to full strength and have a good class come in to give some depth but not have to be throw to wolves and start.

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Praying for a full recovery for you Brent. Think I'll throw in a word or two for protection for the rest of the team. GO VOLS!

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