For the second week in a row, Tennessee tried out some fresh faces on defense in an effort to find solutions for the unit's ongoing problems.
Last week it was defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry, who was given the most extensive playing time of his career. On Saturday at South Carolina, freshmen cornerbacks Deion Bonner and Daniel Gray and veteran reserve safety Rod Wilks all got long looks.
"We were giving up a bunch of yards with those other guys," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Sunday. "We needed to start playing (the newcomers). I said I would."
*Dooley said he rarely directs specific adjustments of the defense during a game, instead focuses on his areas of expertise on offense and special teams.
"Not much," Dooley said Sunday when asked how much input he gives to defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri during a game. "I'll give some big-picture, philosophical opinions, but I'm not going to tell them what call to run. I spend all my hours on offense and special teams. I don't know anybody who can do all three. I want to meet them if he can. That's Superman."
*Senior Zach Rogers wasn't the only receiver who had a career day at South Carolina. Sophomore Vincent Dallas, who began the year at defensive back, caught three passes for 78 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
*Dooley said his goal was 100 yards of rushing against South Carolina. At 91, the Vols fell just short.
The return of starting running back Rajion Neal, who did not play for the second game in a row with an ankle injury, could help, although Marlin Lane has probably played well enough to continue to see some carries going forward.
"(Neal) just hadn't practiced 100 percent, and we were just not comfortable putting him out there," Dooley said. "Until his mind's ready, I'm not going to put him out there and have him underperform or put the ball on the ground. I don't think it's fair to the team."
*Even after Tyler Bray's fumble with 1:08 remaining with UT driving for the go-ahead score, the Vols had one last chance to win the game after the defense forced a South Carolina punt. But Bray's deep pass intended for Justin Hunter was intercepted by Victor Hampton.
Dooley called it an "opportunity ball" that could have gone either way. Both players seemed to get their fingers on it.
"The ball went deep. I tried to rush over there as fast as I could. I guess I jumped too late," Hunter said. "I had the ball on my fingertips. He just made a good play on it.
"I was just mad. I think I should have jumped a different way to shield him away from the ball. He made a really good play."
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.