published Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

No new Vols coaches hired

ATLANTA -- Head coach Lane Kiffin said Monday that he hasn't filled the last vacancy left on his University of Tennessee coaching staff.

ESPN.com reported Sunday that Kiffin will hire Tampa Bay Buccaneers associate head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

"We've not hired anyone in that position," Kiffin said. "We're focused on this game. I'll continue to work on it after we get through this game."

Bisaccia, who has also coached Tampa's running backs, is widely regarded as one of the NFL's best special teams coordinators. He seems a solid fit for the dual roles left open by Eddie Gran's recent departure to Florida State, though Sunday's report raised eyebrows of some in the NFL community who figured most professional teams would desire Bisaccia's skills.

Tampa's season will finish after Sunday's home game against the Atlanta Falcons, and NFL assistants rarely leave before that point. Vols offensive line coach James Cregg's mid-season departure last year from the Oakland Raiders -- where he also worked under longtime friend Kiffin -- infuriated many within that organization.

Virgil void

Virginia Tech coaches and players expect UT to attack the cornerback position early in Thursday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl, considering the academic ineligibility of senior starter Stephan Virgil.

UT junior receiver Gerald Jones concurred.

"I don't know how much his backup has played this year, if any, but we'll definitely take shots at him," Jones said. "He'll have to make us respect him."

But "he" hasn't been defined just yet. Hokies coach Frank Beamer said he hasn't determined whether freshman Jayron Hosley or sophomore Cris Hill will start in Virgil's place.

"We're going to see who ends up practicing the best all week," Beamer said. "Hosley was feeling bad yesterday, and so he wasn't able to practice the whole time. We'll make a decision on that later on.

"I think Cris Hill has a lot of ability, but he just needs to be a more consistent player. I think Hosley has got a great future, but he just hasn't played a lot. I think it's just one of those things where you wait for your opportunity and then step up to the plate. That's what I'm hoping these guys will do."

Kiffin said the Hokies' defensive philosophy would help them deal with Virgil's loss.

"I think the scheme they play is not very demanding on the corners," Kiffin said. "They make it difficult for you to attack them. They're not a press-man team, where he's going to be out there to the field all day long, and they're going to leave him in man coverage."

Beamer said he didn't anticipate the Hokies losing any other players for health, academic or discipline issues.

Vols notes

Freshman tailback Bryce Brown (concussion) and redshirt freshman offensive tackle Aaron Douglas (knee) were cleared for full contact before Monday's practice, but senior defensive tackle Wes Brown (leg) and junior defensive end Ben Martin (neck strain) were held. ... Senior defensive tackle Dan Williams will miss today's practice to attend his grandfather's funeral, but he's expected back in Atlanta before Wednesday's workout. ... Junior All-America safety Eric Berry said he delayed his NFL draft decision because he "wanted to make sure there was no stone unturned," and he's since had more conversations with family, coaches and former UT players. Berry said his mind was "kind of made up," but he doesn't plan to discuss the situation before the Thursday's game. "I want to focus on Virginia Tech right now," he said.

Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.

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