Derek Dooley: No change in status for freshman cornerback Deion Bonner

Tennessee defensive backs Deion Bonner, left, and Eric Gordon, right, run a drill 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 Deion Bonner, left, and Eric Gordon, right, run a drill 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)

Derek Dooley reviews the 55-48 win against Troy

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True freshman cornerback Deion Bonner was listed as a suspect in a campus cellphone theft last week, but he hasn't been charged or arrested in the case. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Monday he has no evidence that Bonner did anything wrong.

Dooley said Bonner would remain on the team in good standing unless new information came to light.

"There's no change in his status," Dooley said.

***

Defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry sprained an MCL and is doubtful for the Vols' game Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) against Missouri, Dooley said.

Running back Devrin Young, who missed the Troy game with a concussion, should be back this week. Running back Rajion Neal (ankle) and offensive linemen Antonio "Tiny" Richardson (undisclosed) and Zach Fulton (ankle) all played through injuries against Troy.

***

Dooley spent most of Monday's news conference talking about "the bad." But he did indulge a few moments of talking about the good from Saturday's 55-48 victory against Troy.

"Of all the things that were good, the best is what happened with three minutes to go in the game when we were down seven," Dooley said.

It wasn't an SEC opponent, but the defense made stops, quarterback Tyler Bray made plays and the Vols came from behind to win.

"That's the kind of grit a team has to have down the stretch to win a football game, and we haven't had that against anybody recently, so that was encouraging to see," Dooley said.

***

Dooley also showered praise on Bray, who has made key turnovers late in close games this year but played four flawless quarters and engineered a comeback against Troy.

"He did something he had never done: bringing a team back in the fourth quarter and winning the game," Dooley said. "That's a big monkey off a quarterback's back."

***

Teammates are trying to keep freshman cornerback Daniel Gray positive after a shaky debut as a starter.

"I told him plays are going to happen like that. Big plays are going to happen like that," said sophomore Justin Coleman. "Sooner or later you're going to learn how to make plays on that, and you'll learn from your mistakes."

***

Dooley said there are no plans to move senior Prentiss Waggner from cornerback to safety, where he played last year. Waggner was benched in favor of Gray against Troy, but quickly returned to action when Gray struggled.

"Dan competed hard but he gave up a lot of plays. We still need Prentiss at corner," Dooley said.

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Comments » 8

Ironcity writes:

We wouldn't want Wagner playing every down when we have top notch safeties like Moore and McNeal out their making plays all over the field.

Chope writes:

How did Prentiss Waggoner go from an up an coming star with a bunch of ints to some guy out of position getting benched by a freshman who hits guys out of bounds twice and gets burned for tds ? Problem with coaching ??

florida-volfan writes:

in response to Chope:

How did Prentiss Waggoner go from an up an coming star with a bunch of ints to some guy out of position getting benched by a freshman who hits guys out of bounds twice and gets burned for tds ? Problem with coaching ??

No disrespect to Waggner....but he just isnt that good, he is a product of our recruiting the last several years, having to take what we can get. I'm not saying he doesnt work hard, just nothing special there. We do have some young talent back there, but I have to say after watching Justin Coleman last Saturday he would be doing nothing but serving Gatorade on the bench the last 3 games, along with Marsalis Teague. I watched Coleman totally give up on a play when he could have made a tackle and saved a TD....unacceptable

clvolfan writes:

in response to Ironcity:

We wouldn't want Wagner playing every down when we have top notch safeties like Moore and McNeal out their making plays all over the field.

Waggner was supposed to be all world preseason.What happened?

born2ride writes:

Maybe Bonner can join Cam Clear at Arizona Western.

JDX47 writes:

I see that many of you are still negative about our defense. Haven't you heard?...Dooley is going to focus on the defense now, everything is going to be GREAT!!!

UTVolWarrior98 writes:

Good question! What the heck HAS happened to Waggner?! He was an All SEC 2nd teamer with possible NFL aspirations after the 2010 season. Why is he so irrelevant anymore? Its like he isnt even on the team anymore. Very disturbing...

JonGrudensAgent writes:

"That's the kind of grit a team has to have down the stretch to win a football game, and we haven't had that against anybody recently, so that was encouraging to see," Dooley said.

I agree wholeheartedly but it raises the question of why it has taken two plus seasons to do that.

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