UT's defensive backfield depth could be thin

UT's defensive backfield depth could be thin

November 20th, 2009 by Wes Rucker in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE -- Walk-on Tyler Wolf likely will play another large role in Tennessee's defensive backfield Saturday against Vanderbilt, UT coach Lane Kiffin said after Thursday's practice.

Kiffin said Wolf, a junior from Cookeville, Tenn., will have to start at safety if Dennis Rogan's sore quad hasn't healed by game time.

"Even if Dennis is there, we'll shuffle people around and (Wolf) would play the nickel," Kiffin said. "Tyler will probably play a lot Saturday night."

Wolf, who normally sees the field only in special-team situations, played a few snaps in the nickel package during Saturday's 42-17 loss at Ole Miss.

Kiffin said Rogan tweaked his quad during the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss.

"He played through it and has been really sore all week and really hasn't been able to do much," Kiffin added.


Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney praised senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton's Thursday practice performance.

"I thought practice was pretty good today," Kiffin said. "I thought the quarterback threw the ball extremely well. The quarterbacks and receivers had a really good day. Hopefully that will continue on Saturday night."

Chaney went a step further, calling Crompton's day "excellent."

"He's hitting hands," Chaney said. "He's throwing it where we need to throw it. He was really good today. He was all over it.

"There were a couple of things on the script that were wrong thanks to my intelligence, and he got them corrected before we ever got to the huddle. He's really locked in."

Chaney, typically the staff's funny man, joked that his errors were a test.

"That's what I always tell them, but they know I'm a dumb (person)," Chaney said. "They scratch that off pretty quickly."


Kiffin watched closely as junior Daniel Lincoln (quad) took extra field-goal attempts after Thursday's practice. Lincoln, who has had three tries blocked this season, was asked to kick from distance and over lifted blocking dummies at the line of scrimmage.

The results were a mixed bag, Kiffin said. One kick hit the dummy and made a loud noise.

"He made a couple, kicked one low," Kiffin said. "We'll see (again) on game day."

Kiffin said junior punter Chad Cunningham would fill in for Lincoln if necessary. Cunningham was 1-for-2 while filling in for Lincoln earlier this season, but his miss also came via block.

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