Injuries could impact Tennessee pass rush

UT defensive backs take on wideouts

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee already is encountering a couple of obstacles in its attempt to revitalize a pass rush that has been dormant for several years.

Senior defensive end Jacques Smith has a fractured right thumb that is expected to sideline him for four to six weeks and freshman defensive end Corey Vereen is undergoing an MRI on his knee. Those injuries could force the Volunteers to open the season without two of their most promising pass rushers, though Tennessee coach Butch Jones hasn't ruled Smith out for the Aug. 31 opener against Austin Peay.

"It lends itself to more players getting an opportunity," Jones said. "We have some veterans at that position who have played a lot of football here. ... We have a standard of expectation at a position that will never change no matter who's out there playing for us."

Tennessee is trying to upgrade a pass rush that has produced a combined total of 33 sacks over the last two years. Tennessee had just 17 sacks last season and ranked 13th out of 14 Southeastern Conference teams in sacks per game.

The Vols have said throughout training camp that they planned to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. They aren't backing down from those predictions now.

"We had a meeting today about having adversity happen in any type of situations," senior defensive end Corey Miller said after Wednesday night's practice. "Third-and-long, fourth-and-2 at the goal line, making a big stop, having the offense (turn over) the ball and having to go back on defense. Adversity is going to strike at any given time. We're always going to be prepared for it."

Tennessee opened training camp with seniors atop the depth chart at all four spots on the defensive line: Smith, end Marlon Walls, tackle Daniel McCullers and nose tackle Daniel Hood. Miller and Maurice Couch give the Vols two more senior linemen competing for starting jobs.

There's plenty of experience. There just hasn't been much production up to now. Smith's 4 ½ career sacks are the most of anyone on Tennessee's roster.

The Vols believe the new coaching staff and the return of the 4-3 defense will help turn things around. They struggled last year to adapt to the 3-4 scheme implemented by former coordinator Sal Sunseri.

New defensive line coach Steve Stripling, who has over 30 years of coaching experience, joined Jones at Central Michigan in 2009 and followed him to Cincinnati and Tennessee. His teams have averaged 32.3 sacks over the last four years. Tennessee hasn't had more than 26 sacks in a single season since recording 33 in 2005, the last year it ranked in the top half of the SEC in sacks per game.

"If you can't pass rush, you can't be on the field," Walls said. "He teaches it a whole lot, and he preaches it a whole lot. That's where the sense of urgency is. That's the reason we're going to be better."

But their job just got tougher.

Smith has 19 ½ career tackles for loss and has won raves from teammates and coaches for his leadership. Vereen had four sacks in the spring game, and Stripling has called him "one of the highest-motivated young men I've ever seen."

The Vols may need to lean more on junior Jordan Williams, who made five starts last year. Maybe they turn to redshirt freshman LaTroy Lewis, who missed last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Jones said freshman Jaylen Miller has done "a great job" and could contribute.

"We knew from the start we needed to have a lot of intensity and a sense of urgency going into camp to begin with," Lewis said.

That sense of urgency only increases now.

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Comments » 21

BigOrangeDan writes:

Things happen and great teams find a way to win. Go Big Orange

antonio14313 writes:

i think that we'll get a sack within the first 13 defensive plays of our first game.

go vols!

t

frblalack writes:

Lest we forget...Curt Maggitt can pass rush with the best. I see a lot of blitzes this year!!!

Go Big Orange - All Vols - All the Time - VFL

oldster writes:

The Vols have had no luck since the firing of Fulmer (coincidence that Kiffen started the same year as Obama?). No reason to expect a change. One player, or even several at different positions can be overcome, but when a team keeps getting injury after injury at the same one ....

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Really the oranged crushed!bwhahahahaulp

ok niner! No more than our OLine will crush the opponent's Dline THIS SEASON arrrrrggg!!

Go BIG OLINES!! I hope our DL improves this year I think so. But it was our secondary too last yer. yuch

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to antonio14313:

i think that we'll get a sack within the first 13 defensive plays of our first game.

go vols!

t

I hope we get a sack on every play that first game. I'm not sure we shouldn't? APSU is probably not the team they were when they used to lose to the Mocs...ok SOMEtimes lose to the Mocs.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to oldster:

The Vols have had no luck since the firing of Fulmer (coincidence that Kiffen started the same year as Obama?). No reason to expect a change. One player, or even several at different positions can be overcome, but when a team keeps getting injury after injury at the same one ....

"If it weren't fer bad luck I'd have no luck at all"

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

in response to BigOrangeDan:

Things happen and great teams find a way to win. Go Big Orange

Too bad the Vols aren't a great team and have no prospects of becoming one. Those days have long since passed.

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

in response to oldster:

The Vols have had no luck since the firing of Fulmer (coincidence that Kiffen started the same year as Obama?). No reason to expect a change. One player, or even several at different positions can be overcome, but when a team keeps getting injury after injury at the same one ....

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.

Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!

Geeze....lighten up Francis.

jack4444 writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Too bad the Vols aren't a great team and have no prospects of becoming one. Those days have long since passed.

Your QB is scared of Clowney and since the SEC meetings, everybody knows it.

oldster writes:

in response to Rock_E_Topp88:

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.

Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!

Geeze....lighten up Francis.

Ever hear of inertia, momentum, Newton's laws (a body in motion tends to remain in motion)? Once things get going in a certain direction, it is hard to stop them, much less reverse them. Recognizing that is not pessimism. It is facing reality.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

If I were a 5th year Senior, an instate player fro OOtawah i think I'd find in my guts to somehow play against Florida the final time with a cast on my sore thumb (or hand or wrist or forearms or right leg). Time to man-up Jacques this is your last time in the barrel at UT.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Ya think it could?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to oldster:

Ever hear of inertia, momentum, Newton's laws (a body in motion tends to remain in motion)? Once things get going in a certain direction, it is hard to stop them, much less reverse them. Recognizing that is not pessimism. It is facing reality.

"Gloom despair and agony on me"

Pessimism= only recognizing the downside of things. Always looking at the bad side of life.
ok ok I didn't really look it up.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

pessismis - a person who habitually sees or anticpates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.

sounds like you. Today at least. But If I look at all your old posts I'd be pessimistic that they are optimistic in nature.

clemvol writes:

Injuries impact a pass rush, a running game, a passing game, a kicking game and so on. Depth is always the key with any team. The Vols may not have this now but it's coming. Looking forward just to watch the progession the players make. Right now it's all about attitude.Remember, you can't really appreciate winning until you've been humbled for a while. Since this has happened now every win will be enjoyed and that's how it should be.

oldster writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

pessismis - a person who habitually sees or anticpates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.

sounds like you. Today at least. But If I look at all your old posts I'd be pessimistic that they are optimistic in nature.

re·al·i·ty
[ree-al-i-tee] Show IPA

noun, plural re·al·i·ties for 3, 5–7.
1.
the state or quality of being real.

2.
resemblance to what is real.

3.
a real thing or fact.

4.
real things, facts, or events taken as a whole; state of affairs: the reality of the business world; vacationing to escape reality.

5.
Philosophy .
a.
something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.

b.
something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speaking of your age or IQ; i can believe you are age 8!

Are the GatorS at UFAG still barking at police dogs? When is Little Williw MissCHIMP going to blow an artery with that temper.

Poor wittle UFAG Gator; trolling because the bottom-feeders will be out of the race by Oct 15th!!

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Too bad the Vols aren't a great team and have no prospects of becoming one. Those days have long since passed.

Ready to be Butch's B!TCHES, Moron? Can't wait to see the Mangy Mutts get neutered by USuCk!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to oldster:

re·al·i·ty
[ree-al-i-tee] Show IPA

noun, plural re·al·i·ties for 3, 5–7.
1.
the state or quality of being real.

2.
resemblance to what is real.

3.
a real thing or fact.

4.
real things, facts, or events taken as a whole; state of affairs: the reality of the business world; vacationing to escape reality.

5.
Philosophy .
a.
something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.

b.
something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.

reality??

How can our season be real if it hasn't happened yet? It's IN THE FUTURE.

You're fantasizing that we already have a bad team.

Fantasy- An island where a little person welcomes old movie and tv stars for a vacation that's not real because it's a made up tv show starring Recardo.

You sir live on this island. We haven't played one game and you're calling it reality?

Rock_E_Topp88 writes:

Everyone please know that the creep posing as a Dawg fan is NOT a UGA fan at all. Actually, he is the most vile slimy troll to ever disgrace this site. I refuse to mention his disgusting name but if you think about it, you will know who it is. He is here to stir us up and get some attention for himself. He fancies himself smarter than all of us but the reality is that he is just a pimple on the *** of TRUE Vol fans.

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