Hurting Vols will not play

Hurting Vols will not play

September 15th, 2009 by Wes Rucker in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE -- Saturday's 19-15 upset loss to UCLA already has enacted one University of Tennessee policy.

From this point forward, first-year head coach Lane Kiffin said Monday, any Volunteer who wants to play in a game better prove his health in practice.

Kiffin said he relied too heavily Saturday on offensive linemen and wide receivers who didn't practice enough immediately leading up to the game.

He said he won't make the same mistake while preparing the team for Saturday's game at top-ranked Florida.

"We're going to find out that stuff now," Kiffin said Monday night. "We're going to find out this week at practice, instead of waiting to find out Saturday if they can't physically do it.

"I'm very upset at myself for that. You have some older players that have played a lot of snaps here, and that we went out there and played even though they weren't able. It's nothing against them. It's not their fault. It's my fault. They tried to practice and just weren't able to. And so we're going to push them out here, and if they can't practice, we're going to go with the guys that can practice."

Several of those players, including offensive guard Vladimir Richard (Achilles' tendon) and wide receivers Gerald Jones (ankle), limped through Monday's brief practice. Kiffin said senior defensive lineman Wes Brown "actually moved around a little bit" on the chronically sore knees that forced him out of Saturday's finish, but he wasn't ready to declare the player fit for this Saturday.

Kiffin said senior guard Jacques McClendon "hurt himself" Saturday but stayed in the game. Kiffin didn't specify the injury or whether it would hamper the former Baylor School star against Florida.

McClendon, as many do, struggled to contain UCLA All-America defensive tackle Brian Price. Four of Price's five tackles came behind the line of scrimmage, and two were sacks.

"We talked about Brian Price being a dominant player all week," Kiffin said. "Unfortunately, we were right."

Jolt from Jackson

Janzen Jackson missed two key tackles Saturday in his first career start, but Kiffin still said he was pleased with the highly regarded freshman safety from Louisiana.

"We're going to continue to find ways to get Janzen on the field," Kiffin said. "What blew me away was to see Janzen still out there on kickoff coverage being the first guy down there, after playing just about every snap on defense.

"We've got ourselves a real special guy there. There are a lot of decorated recruits in this class, and he's fighting to be the best of them right now."

Maestro Monte

Junior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz said he saw UT defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin whisper something to Dennis Rogan moments before the junior defensive back sacked UCLA's Kevin Prince for a crucial safety in Saturday's final two minutes.

Reveiz didn't know what Monte Kiffin told Rogan, but personal experience left him a hunch.

"Coach Kiffin is incredible about pre-snap adjustments and knowing what's coming," Reveiz said. "Last week he keyed me in on a play on a fourth down. We stopped them because he told me exactly what was going to happen, and then that's what happened.

"He's a genius. Basically, he's just the man."