Tennessee looks to youngsters to help struggling secondary after Brian Randolph's season ends

Moore expects more from himself in taking on leadership

Tennessee defensive back Brent Brewer (17) tackles Florida running back Trey Burton (8) at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee defensive back Brent Brewer (17) tackles Florida running back Trey Burton (8) at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Brian Randolph forged a reputation as a solid tackler and a big hitter not long after arriving at Tennessee last year.

This year, as only a sophomore, Randolph emerged as a vocal leader who knew the defense well enough to direct other players on the field.

On Monday, Randolph hobbled through the Vols' football facility on crutches, wearing a large brace on his right knee. Coach Derek Dooley confirmed that Randolph tore his ACL in the fourth quarter in the loss to Florida on Saturday and would miss the rest of the season.

"We hurt for Brian, but he's going to be fine, and we'll move on," Dooley said.

Randolph's defensive contributions could make him tough to replace. On a defense plagued by communication problems and in a secondary that is sometimes porous, Randolph was one of the players who seemed to get it.

"(Randolph's loss) is really big. It's really key," said linebacker Curtis Maggitt. "He's a really vocal guy. He's really smart. He understands his position and understands others' positions. He can help out a lot and you can trust him behind you."

When Tennessee (2-1) plays Akron (1-2) on Saturday (TV: CSS, 7:30 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium, junior Brent Brewer will move up to the starting lineup to join junior Byron Moore in one of the two safety spots. Freshman LaDarrell McNeil will join senior Rod Wilks in a backup role.

"Byron Moore has been playing pretty good football, and he just needs to keep doing what he's doing," Dooley said.

Moore said he would try to take on some of Randolph's responsibilities.

"I'll take on more of a leadership role back there and make sure those guys are right," Moore said. "He was another leader. He was a real smart player and knew the defense well. Me and him combined were able to get the DBs lined up right. We should be fine. I'm going to have to step

up even more now. I'll be ready for it."

McNeil was a consensus four-star prospect and Parade All-American out of Dallas. He committed to the Vols last August and stuck with the team through a rocky 2011 season and widespread coaching turnover. He made his debut against Georgia State and played again Saturday against Florida.

"He's a real high-motor guy," said Moore. "He flies around every time he goes out there and always goes 110 percent. We just have to get him learning the plays and ready to go now."

The secondary endured an ugly stretch late in the 37-20 loss to Florida, most notably when Gators receiver Frankie Hammond blazed past the Vols on his way to a 75-yard touchdown.

"We're not going to go into a total panic because we've been playing pretty good back there," Dooley said. "We had a stretch of bad plays. It doesn't define who we are. It defines what we did and what we did poorly. Time will prove that out."

Dooley said he would continue "promoting competition" at cornerback, where seniors Marsalis Teague and Prentiss Waggner are currently starters. Freshmen Daniel Gray and Deion Bonner and sophomore Justin Coleman should see plenty of action against Akron.

"We had an opportunity to prevent some of those big plays from happening and we didn't do it," Dooley said. "We need the young guys to come on."

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

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Comments » 16

ftblcoachc writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pullingguard writes:

Teague looked really slow on both TD,s where he should have made a play..

volunteerintexas writes:

Mr. Gruden, a Mr. Hart from Tennessee on line one... shall I patch him through, sir?

florida-volfan writes:

in response to ftblcoachc:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If it were up to me Teague would be serving Gatorade on the bench and nothing else. I dont know what their seeing in this guy. I still dont understand that run by Trey Burton....everybody in the freakin stadium knew he was going to run off tackle and nobody even touched him, minus Teagues chicken**** attempt. Covering more than one side of the field might be sufficient also

SEC__Headgear writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Teague looked really slow on both TD,s where he should have made a play..

His lack of making plays and getting tagged for stupidity in the form of retaliating makes the case that he is pretty much worthless.

volpreacher writes:

in response to florida-volfan:

If it were up to me Teague would be serving Gatorade on the bench and nothing else. I dont know what their seeing in this guy. I still dont understand that run by Trey Burton....everybody in the freakin stadium knew he was going to run off tackle and nobody even touched him, minus Teagues chicken**** attempt. Covering more than one side of the field might be sufficient also

NO, volunteerintexas would be serving the gatorade. That's about the extent of his football knowledge.

VolMan126 writes:

I think most of you are missing the point. We not only have problems with communication we continue to not set the edge on run plays . We bite on fakes in places that there is no need to bite. Our corners and LBS dont seem to understand gap control or playing the alley and stopping those sweep and end runs. Smith has never set an edge and controlled the sweep play this year . He gets caught inside almost every play and cant get out to even slow the play until the pursuit get there. What ever happened to keeping your outside hand free, coach Chavis taught me that and it works at every level of football. If that pitch flat is your resp. and setting an edge is your job then keep that outside hand free and squeeze plays inside your gap down to the next man. Thats how its played at every level. WE DONT DO THAT and no one seems to see it..not just on here but where it counts..our coaches. Now understand some calls made changes your job and gap but how its played stays the same. I watched the reply today and it makes me even more sick to see us give that game away. The plays fl scored on should have went for nothing. We bit on ball fakes at places that were not even that players job. Thats a lack of coaching. and D for it to work you have to trust that the guy next to you will do his job while you do yours. You get beat when you try to much. And thats what we did! GO VOLS!

florida-volfan writes:

in response to carbonatedmilk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea, but that was with David Cutcliff as OC, and Georgia coaches said they were glad to see him go to duke....he gave them a lot of problems. Im not a big fan of Jim Chaney, he knows a lot about passing but the run game is like greek to him, no clue. His play calling seems to be predictable to me, I hate to say it but Lane Kiffins play calling was better

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

1...Those idiots calling for CDD to be fired know nothing about college football and how to rebuild a program.

2...Even NFL players take 2 YEARS to learn everything and get good at a 3-4 D and this was GAME 3 so expect lots more mistakes.

3...The D got no time in the 2nd half to catch their breath much less have time to have coaches teach then how to make their adjustments.

4...We always want our best players on the fiels as much as possible but even CDD admitted that we played too many guys o D too much and they ran out of juice...NOT quit on D but were exhausted and made big mistakes that CAN be corrected.

5...Bray needs to grow up...He still can't read the D and checkoff to a play that will work based on what he sees at the line...He also sulks and quits like a spoiled brat when everything doesn't go the way he wants.

6...Bray constantly looks at the sidelines to get plays at the line because he can NOT read the D and call his own plays but by the time CJC gets a play sent in the D has changed their look and the play can't be changed at the line like a good, smart QB would do.

7...We;re still rebuilding our roster and as bad as we were that's going to take at least 4 years of good recruiting before we'll have SEC type players at every position that starts and the same SEC type players as backups for a solid 2 deep rotation.

CDD has 2 of his recruiting classes on campus but they're only Sophs and Freshmen that are still learning and getting some playing experience when the opportunities allow.

We have some really good Sophs and Freshmen that are going to get us back up to the level we belong but we're still at least 2 more recruiting classes away from being aboe to compete with teams in the SEC that's been stockpiling 4* and 5* players for 10 years or more.

Most people on here are just dumb about real college football and how long it takes to rebuild the worst team in the country which IS what we were when CDD took over.

If you OVERexpect too soon then you WILL get disappointed and that's what we fans are doing this year, OVERexpecting because we don't have a SEC roster...yet.

VFL...GBO!!!

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to florida-volfan:

If it were up to me Teague would be serving Gatorade on the bench and nothing else. I dont know what their seeing in this guy. I still dont understand that run by Trey Burton....everybody in the freakin stadium knew he was going to run off tackle and nobody even touched him, minus Teagues chicken**** attempt. Covering more than one side of the field might be sufficient also

I don't like piling on players, but I'm with you about Teague. Can't count the number of times he was beaten deep last year. His half-azzed attempt at an arm tackle allowed one score last Saturday. A simple stiff-arm took him out of the play.

Note to #10: There was a moment when he could have made the play against a faster Florida player. Go for the feet next time...you'll stand a better chance of actually stopping 'em that way.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Tray Burton is about the 20th fastest player on UF's team (and that's not to say he's slow), but he was obviously faster than anyone on UT's defense.

Speed, and an entire roster of 4 and 5-star guys as opposed to one or two spread here and there, is the difference in these two programs... And coaching.

tomatosoup writes:

Ok, as Coach Dooley said….there was a lot for him and team to learn from Saturday’s Florida implosion. While I realize that Coach Dooley often uses this phrase after every loss, I do think he means what he says. I now actually have the mindset that this 2nd half meltdown will really bother our Vols and will be taking it out on our opponents, starting with the Akron Zips. As I said yesterday, the way to beat Tennessee (or at least slow them down) is to pressure Tyler. I’ve watch Georgia this year and honestly, I think our O-line will be able to provide the support that Tyler needs. I think it’s going to be a close game but as always, I’m willing to share my thinking of the scores for the next two games…..UT 45 Akron 17……UT 26 GA 21 (the only reason I’m going with 26 for UT instead of 28 is that I believe we will miss 2 extra points). Go Vols and folks, now that it’s Wednesday, it’s time to get that bad Gator taste out of our mouths and move forward!!!! P.S. I forgot to mention….I see a Top 25 ranking of 17 after the GA game!!!!

usafvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Tray Burton is about the 20th fastest player on UF's team (and that's not to say he's slow), but he was obviously faster than anyone on UT's defense.

Speed, and an entire roster of 4 and 5-star guys as opposed to one or two spread here and there, is the difference in these two programs... And coaching.

You're a dumbazz; Go away.. Most classless people I've ever known are from Fla and seem to be proud of it. You're right up there..

OrangePride writes:

in response to VolMan126:

I think most of you are missing the point. We not only have problems with communication we continue to not set the edge on run plays . We bite on fakes in places that there is no need to bite. Our corners and LBS dont seem to understand gap control or playing the alley and stopping those sweep and end runs. Smith has never set an edge and controlled the sweep play this year . He gets caught inside almost every play and cant get out to even slow the play until the pursuit get there. What ever happened to keeping your outside hand free, coach Chavis taught me that and it works at every level of football. If that pitch flat is your resp. and setting an edge is your job then keep that outside hand free and squeeze plays inside your gap down to the next man. Thats how its played at every level. WE DONT DO THAT and no one seems to see it..not just on here but where it counts..our coaches. Now understand some calls made changes your job and gap but how its played stays the same. I watched the reply today and it makes me even more sick to see us give that game away. The plays fl scored on should have went for nothing. We bit on ball fakes at places that were not even that players job. Thats a lack of coaching. and D for it to work you have to trust that the guy next to you will do his job while you do yours. You get beat when you try to much. And thats what we did! GO VOLS!

Great post,and great read VolMan. I played DE and coached myself. Outside hand and wide responsibility is the first thing you are taught. Force everything back inside and DON'T GET HOOKED. I kept asking myself, do these guys think they have out responsibility help? If so, where is it supposed to come from? As you said, we got burned big time on plays that are designed for 2-4 yards...yet we went for a fake, left our gap responsibility, got sealed off and it was away to the races. The good news, if any....that kind of stuff should be fixable! And we better do it......FAST. GO VOLS.

OrangePride writes:

Oh, and just BTW. I think there are very folks sitting in the stands that realize just how fast things happen down there in the trench and how little time you have to read and react. I do not find it a bit surprising that, with a new defense, these guys make that fast read and get caught. Just lets learn, move on, and avoid repeatedly making those same mistakes. GO VOLS!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolMan126:

I think most of you are missing the point. We not only have problems with communication we continue to not set the edge on run plays . We bite on fakes in places that there is no need to bite. Our corners and LBS dont seem to understand gap control or playing the alley and stopping those sweep and end runs. Smith has never set an edge and controlled the sweep play this year . He gets caught inside almost every play and cant get out to even slow the play until the pursuit get there. What ever happened to keeping your outside hand free, coach Chavis taught me that and it works at every level of football. If that pitch flat is your resp. and setting an edge is your job then keep that outside hand free and squeeze plays inside your gap down to the next man. Thats how its played at every level. WE DONT DO THAT and no one seems to see it..not just on here but where it counts..our coaches. Now understand some calls made changes your job and gap but how its played stays the same. I watched the reply today and it makes me even more sick to see us give that game away. The plays fl scored on should have went for nothing. We bit on ball fakes at places that were not even that players job. Thats a lack of coaching. and D for it to work you have to trust that the guy next to you will do his job while you do yours. You get beat when you try to much. And thats what we did! GO VOLS!

That is very well said. I'm glad to have my own suspicions confirmed by someone who has played since I have not. However, it does seem to me that in nearly every defensive setup, somebody has to be as wide as the widest and as deep as the deepest and the Vols too often don't seem to be where they are supposed to be. I can't say whether it is the coaches failing to coach or the players failing to do what they are coached to do. Either way, it has, as you say, been a problem for YEARS, and it IS going to cost them more games down the line if they don't get it fixed ASAP. Losing Randolph surely doesn't help.

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