published Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Vols' Derrick Brodus confident but not basking in success

  • photo
    Derrick Brodus kicks during UT's game against Akron at Neyland Stadium.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — Kickers need short memories, even when things go well.

That's how Derrick Brodus is approaching his first road game since taking over field-goal and extra-point duties for Tennessee, even after making all four of his field-goal attempts against Akron.

"It's pretty high," the junior walk-on said of his confidence Tuesday morning after the Volunteers' practice. "I'm going to go into Georgia, though, acting like that didn't really happen, and I just go in and take each kick at a time. I feel like whenever you're kicking, everything's the exact same.

"The routine doesn't really change."

His 17 kicking points against the Zips tied the program's single-game record shared by three others. The accuracy, including five extra points, was a good sign after he missed an extra-point kick against Florida. It was the first time this season the Vols have made every extra point.

Brodus said coach Derek Dooley's decision to stick with him "was huge. It's always good to have a coach have your back and still believe in you. Knowing that he believed in me helped out a lot."

Though he became a fan favorite after jumping from his couch to help the Vols in a kicking pinch against Middle Tennessee State last November, Brodus, who kicked two seasons for nearby Alcoa High School's football team, wasn't with the Vols for preseason training camp because of the 105-player roster limit and the coaches' desire to evaluate freshman George Bullock.

The two-time all-state soccer player remained the Vols' No. 2 kicker even during a family vacation of "relaxation" to Maui.

"I came to the complex some, and I kicked," he said. "I feel like I'm pretty chill. I get my work in, and that's just what it is."

Jack it up

Tennessee could be making a change in its linebacking corps against Georgia.

Fifth-year senior Willie Bohannon was the first-team Jack linebacker during the open period of Tuesday morning's practice ahead of Jacques Smith, and Dooley said the 6-foot-2, 253-pounder is pushing for a starting spot.

"Consistency, and that's it," Dooley said. "You know what you're going to get when you put him in the game. He's very dependable, and guys who show that level of consistency and dependability are going to play."

Bohannon made his fifth career start in place of an injured Curt Maggitt against Georgia State and registered a sack, forced a fumble and recovered another.

Jonesing for Jarvis

The first step in the Vols' solution to better protect quarterback Tyler Bray will be locating No. 29 in red. For Tennessee tackles Ja'Wuan James and Antonio Richardson, simply noticing Jarvis Jones is just one part of the job description. The Vols' bookends will have to win some one-on-one battles with the Bulldogs' disruptive All-America outside linebacker, and James said he's "definitely" looking forward to the matchup.

"What makes him good is if you give him a play, he's going to make it," said James, a third-year starter. "If you don't account for him, he's going to make a play. He's athletic, but we're going to make sure we get somebody on him.

"We want to play the best people in America, and that's why we're here in the SEC."

If necessary, the Vols could chip Jones' edge rushes with a running back or put a tight end on his side to impede him some, but that's just a small part of the formula to slow him.

"People have done a bunch of different things, and I think what happens is it's hard to have two guys on him every single play," Dooley said. "You're not always sure where he's going to line up, and it's hard to change everything what you do. You've got to have an awareness of where he is.

"You've got to do some things in your protection schemes to try to help you, but inevitably somebody's going to have to block him one-on-one, and that's just the way it is."

Play-action problems

Georgia's dynamic freshman tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall made the Bulldogs' play-action pass game very dangerous. Quarterback Aaron Murray lit up Vanderbilt for 157 yards on 7-of-8 play-action passing.

"It's real tough, especially on first-and-10 when you're expecting them to run the ball and especially Georgia, a big run team," linebacker Herman Lather said. "You get sucked up in there, but it's just reading your keys, knowing linemen's stances and things like that. Reading keys and tendencies is going to be a big thing for us this week."

Gurley, a 220-pounder who seems to seek contact, and Marshall, the smaller, quicker complement, are averaging nearly 8 yards per carry.

"You can't tell the linebackers, 'Don't respect the run,'" Dooley said. "Then all of the sudden you have a lot of space between the linebackers and the [safeties], and that's what they do. They push those receivers down the field, and Murray's got a great arm to deliver it to them.

"There's really no weakness in what they're doing right now."

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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