Byron Moore confirms he is starting at safety

Evan Woodbery
Tennessee defensive backs Byron Moore, left, and Rod Wilks, right, run a drill together during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee defensive backs Byron Moore, left, and Rod Wilks, right, run a drill together during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo with no caption

After deflecting question after question that he didn't want to answer with increasing exasperation, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley paused and smiled: "Do I appear edgy today?" he asked.

With the first day of class looming, the first game 10 days away and a long camp almost in the books, just about everyone around the football complex is edgy. They're ready for real football.

"I'm ready to talk about the next opponent. You guys are too," Dooley said after Monday's practice. "You've got your job to do. I'm not downing you."

Part of the job has been asking about Tennessee's remaining position battles. Dooley plans to release an official depth chart on Thursday. But as camp winds down and story lines dry up, virtually question is about — you guessed it — the depth chart.

"I'm not sure how many (questions) I can dance around before y'all figure out I'm not telling you who our starters are," Dooley said.

While official word won't come until after the Vols' two-day break for the start of classes, the last week of practice has offered plenty of clues.

The latest came Monday when junior safety Byron Moore confirmed that he had been moved to the first team, apparently beating out Brent Brewer.

Brewer started eight games last year before suffering a season-ending ACL injury Oct. 29 against South Carolina. Moore played sparingly in 2011. Coaches have said both players were having strong camps.

Moore could be one of several starters with a junior college background. He was a top national juco prospect out Los Angeles Harbor College when he signed with UT in 2011.

"(Moore) has been productive in both scrimmages," Dooley said. "He's had a great attitude, made some interceptions, tackling very well. He's doing all the things that we thought he could do when we signed him."

The other position that seems close to being locked up is the tailback spot. Rajion Neal has had a consistent camp and has shown no signs of relinquishing his hold on the top job.

"Rajion's had a great camp," Dooley said. "I'm proud of him. He's been very consistent. He's been more consistent than he's ever been. He's improved on the things he needed to improve on, and he's going to have a real critical role for us."

Dooley wouldn't confirm the depth chart status of either Moore or Neal, saying those answers would come Thursday.

But Moore said coaches moved him onto the first team two days ago. He expects to start alongside Brian Randolph.

"After the second scrimmage, they promoted me to starter. As of right now, I would start," Moore said. "They said the guys who were being productive out there were going to be the guys on the field. So I just tried to make as many plays as I could each day."

Even after Thursday's release, none of the positions are likely to be set in stone. Dooley said positions with untested newcomers are most likely to fluctuate. That might include defensive line, where two junior college transfers (Darrington Sentimore and Daniel McCullers) could start and a third likely starter (end Maurice Couch) is playing a new position. There also could be plenty of "co-starters" listed.

"We don't really know who's going to be productive on game day," Dooley said. "All we can do is suspect. We'll set a starting lineup based on what we suspect, but ultimately they have to go out there and prove it."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 45

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

He signed in 2001?? That means he is in his 30's now..Alrighty then, GBO!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

He signed in 2001?? That means he is in his 30's now..Alrighty then, GBO!

Haven't you seen his Peewee highlights on youtube?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

He signed in 2001?? That means he is in his 30's now..Alrighty then, GBO!

Yeah, he's drawing money from his retirement fund, and he was also fitted with a new walker he can run with! Aint technology a wonderful thing?

VolinCalif writes:

Yo'll took all the wind out of my sails.

allntl1#565211 writes:

Another Kelly Washington?

tennrich1 writes:

I thought I had a decent grasp on our roster too. But I must admit I read that several times before I finally said "thats a misprint"....funny....boys had me going there for a minute...I knew the JC route was limited...but 11 years would be a bit much....Hopefully Brent will get plenty of reps as well....

foosballer writes:

Signed with UT in 2001...geez, how many years of eligibility does the guy have? :)

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Rajion Neal....

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Depth is a good thing!! FINALLY!!! Pretty reassuring to know Moore will be spelled with a quality guy with game experience like Brewer..Gotta love it!!

orangeman1 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Depth is a good thing!! FINALLY!!! Pretty reassuring to know Moore will be spelled with a quality guy with game experience like Brewer..Gotta love it!!

Exactly what I was thinking. brewer had some talent and lots of potential. We must have two quality DBs

Huttdawg100 writes:

Moore's JUCO film was ridiculous. I mean, I thought he was returning punts when he was actually returning interceptions (that's how often he was taking an INT back). Pete Carroll wanted him, so you know he's good. I'm glad the kid gets his shot. Now, if we could just see Mr. Pick Six Eric Gordon a little more often...

I don't care who's a fan of what team, we're all ready for some College Football!

Timbo_Slice writes:

I had high hopes that Moore would be a special player from the moment he signed. Maybe because he originally came from USC? It worked out pretty well for Malik Jackson! Sounds like we have quality depth at that posistion, we'll see Thursday how the others shake out. As far as RB, I thought Marlin Lane would be the man, but looks like I was wrong about that one. I just hope Neal has improved his ability to hold on to the ball. 10 more days ladies and gentlemen...

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to tennrich1:

I thought I had a decent grasp on our roster too. But I must admit I read that several times before I finally said "thats a misprint"....funny....boys had me going there for a minute...I knew the JC route was limited...but 11 years would be a bit much....Hopefully Brent will get plenty of reps as well....

Yeah, leave it to the peanut gallery to find obvious mistakes..We did a fine job highligting it also..GBO!!

gc_scvol writes:

Watched the interview with CDD yesterday and after he asked,"Do I look edgy today?" He followed with "Well, I'm not." Evan, you've been doing a very good job reporting the Vol's practice. The remainder of the qoute being added would have clearified the feelings of CDD. Keep up the good work.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Who?

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Who?

You'll find out "who" soon enough, tool!

gc_scvol writes:

If you'll look all the way down the page under OTHER SPORTS you'll find an article about the AP basing a writer in Knoxville. You have to look really hard to find it. Wonder why it wasn't at the top of the page like the ua, uf, an ky stories?
.....

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to VOLFORLIFE:

You'll find out "who" soon enough, tool!

Will he be the one hopelessly chasing Debose into the endzone?

gc_scvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Who?

The sad thing is, you probably have forgotten "who" since last night. Just like a baby duck, wakes up in a new world every day.

utfaninga writes:

I really dont think Randolph will start over Brewer...lets wait and see. But if for some odd reason he does...it wont be for long.

utfaninga writes:

Im sorry, I meant Moore.. I really dont think Moore will start over Brewer...lets wait and see. But if for some odd reason he does...it wont be for long.

jobrando#216494 writes:

We all grow up at some point....This is his

seaplane#216536 writes:

Good to see this secondary revamped. They were our weakest link last year.

SCVFL writes:

At least CDD's deleima is deciding which one. Better than his first two years where he was hunting for bodies to fill holes. Let's hope all of them can get their hands and minds around the 3-4 and that the backs are all capable of one on one.
Love me some VOL football
GO BIG RNG...VFL

volwr88 writes:

Co starters IMO..BREWER will also rotate in nickel, dime package as OLB with Moore at Safety. Book it. Brewer much faster now and still will "knock the taste out of ur mouth".. Moore plays passing game better..IMO

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Who?

the one and only lil zz is at it again

TheCopper writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Will he be the one hopelessly chasing Debose into the endzone?

Actually he will be the one who puts an imprint of his facemask on Debose's chin.

voloffaith writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Yeah, leave it to the peanut gallery to find obvious mistakes..We did a fine job highligting it also..GBO!!

Doggone peanut gallery will HIGHLIGHT....notice ewe were gracious enough to include yourself in the gallery....now that was obvious to a few....

on topic, looking forward to being at the dome for game 1.....seeing Byron mimic his counterpart(history of int's) on the other side by having a pic 6.

62vol writes:

Now, someone name the starting defense or just the linebackers. Who will be the starters beside A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to seaplane#216536:

Good to see this secondary revamped. They were our weakest link last year.

The almost total lack of a pass rush and thin numbers due to injuries and other losses put the defensive backfield in an impossible situation last year. UT's far stronger and deeper front seven will provide enough pressure that the DBs won't have to cover guys for six or seven seconds at a time like they did last year. Better numbers and more experience among the DBs ensure that anybody who does have to take more than a couple of long dashes down the field can sit down in favor of a fresh guy almost as good. The whole defense will show up in a big way this year.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Sounds like a pretty good secondary shaping up.

We see where Delta Dawn, the little kid who is another of the bandwagon U F fans can't resist trespassing here once again. Now that
this teeny bopper has made his day, he/she
can go back out and play.

Any early line on the N C State game yet Vols?

Stooley_Dinks writes:

in response to 62vol:

Now, someone name the starting defense or just the linebackers. Who will be the starters beside A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt?

Lathers and J Smith

CoverOrange writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Will he be the one hopelessly chasing Debose into the endzone?

Who?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Doggone peanut gallery will HIGHLIGHT....notice ewe were gracious enough to include yourself in the gallery....now that was obvious to a few....

on topic, looking forward to being at the dome for game 1.....seeing Byron mimic his counterpart(history of int's) on the other side by having a pic 6.

Ewe?? Definitely Ram on this end, Judas..And I believe Byron will fiil the bill like JJ did when he terrorized UT's secondary..GBO!!

Rumblefish writes:

So Moore says he is starting. Meanwhile, Dooley says in an interview the same day, that the depth chart and starters are still under review and have yet to be set. Umm....ok.

murrayvol writes:

"Moore confirmed he had been moved to the first team"

That's great but you have to prove you belong there. We'll see.

OrangePsyched writes:

This defense will be good with chance to be very good. Offense will be great. If kicking game comes around we will be opening a few cans of...you know this year.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to murrayvol:

"Moore confirmed he had been moved to the first team"

That's great but you have to prove you belong there. We'll see.

Brewer is a gamer and a half. If he's really starting above him, we're doing better than I thought in the secondary.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

So Moore says he is starting. Meanwhile, Dooley says in an interview the same day, that the depth chart and starters are still under review and have yet to be set. Umm....ok.

Dooley was talking about game day, Moore was talking about practice.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Dooley was talking about game day, Moore was talking about practice.

ok. do teams not practice for gameday anymore? especially when it's 10 days away?

i think moore just overstepped his verbal bounds with the media is all.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

ok. do teams not practice for gameday anymore? especially when it's 10 days away?

i think moore just overstepped his verbal bounds with the media is all.

And I think you're just looking for something to be negative about. It's almost here, and just like the players, we fans have to pull together. I' ve noticed a lot of negativity from your posts, and feel as though you might be straddling the fence and not really a big time fan. Hope I'm wrong. GET IN OR GET OUT!!! GBO....VFL

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

ok. do teams not practice for gameday anymore? especially when it's 10 days away?

i think moore just overstepped his verbal bounds with the media is all.

I think he is the number 1 safety on the depth chart and he simply relayed that fact..I would probably be too excited to wait for the roster announcement if I were in his shoes as well..GBO!!

Rumblefish writes:

in response to gc_scvol:

And I think you're just looking for something to be negative about. It's almost here, and just like the players, we fans have to pull together. I' ve noticed a lot of negativity from your posts, and feel as though you might be straddling the fence and not really a big time fan. Hope I'm wrong. GET IN OR GET OUT!!! GBO....VFL

no need to question...i'm a huge fan. but i temper my enthusiasm with reality. sorry if it comes off as negative.

neither a homer nor a troll. guess i'm in the minority :)

CCLC writes:

Did Teague sprain a knee. I hope not. I sure would miss him in the secondary.
just sayin'

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8290644

Navaloranges writes:

in response to CCLC:

Did Teague sprain a knee. I hope not. I sure would miss him in the secondary.
just sayin'

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8290644

In case you haven't noticed, we're not relying on players like Teague to "fill in" anymore. If he can burn Moore, Waggoner, Brewer, Coleman, Randolph, or Gordon, with more experience under their belts, THEN he's doing something. We'll see.

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