KNOXVILLE — Wanya Morris and Trey Smith couldn't be more opposite.
They man the left side of the offensive line for the Tennessee Volunteers, who faced top-ranked Alabama late Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, but that's where the similarities end.
Morris recently described Smith as "the meanest offensive lineman on the team" — an assertion Smith laughed at — while also admitting that Smith pumps him up with some of the big blocks he has made.
Meanwhile, Morris said recently that toughness was something he had to develop by "remembering who you're doing this for."
"Trey really fires me up, because you'll see Trey make a block and I'm like, 'OK, he thinks he can outdo me. Let me go ahead and do something, too,'" Morris explained.
Smith had a different description of the 6-foot-4, 313-pound freshman tackle.
"Wanya is a young dude, a little goofy sometimes, but having a guy like that can make the game a bit refreshing," Smith said. "You see it from a different perspective than from when you were younger. His energy on the field, I feed off that. Sometimes where he might be a little too goofy, jumping up and down, I get a little more focused.
"But we feed off of each other and it's really good synergy we have together. I'm really happy he came here."
Morris noted the 6-foot-6, 323-pound junior's experience has helped him settle in during his first year of college football.
"If I get going, he'll calm me down, or he'll teach me how a certain block goes so it'll be easier on me," he said. "Trey just has a mean streak about him. When he gets out on the field, he's just thinking about dominating the opponent.
"Seeing him work as hard as he does is admirable."
Morris was one of the gems of Tennessee's 2019 signing class. Smith was the star of the Vols' 2017 recruits. Together they have helped in the resurgence of an offensive line that was considered a weak link last season but has shown improvement this fall. Obviously they're only two parts of the formula, but along with center Brandon Kennedy they have been the most consistent Tennessee offensive linemen in head coach Jeremy Pruitt's second season. The right side has been a work in progress throughout the first half of the schedule, with injuries a factor.
Kennedy is the only lineman to start every game for the Vols this year, while Morris and Smith have started the past four together.
Going into Saturday night, the Vols were coming off their best rushing performance against a Southeastern Conference opponent this season, totaling 190 yards in a 20-10 home win over Mississippi State a week earlier. With Tennessee clinging to a three-point lead in the second half against the Bulldogs, the Vols rode the backs of their offensive line to the win, running on six of nine plays in a 91-yard drive that sealed the program's first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in seven games.
It was a moment Smith certain made offensive line coach Will Friend proud.
"It's a great feeling, being able to share it with (Morris) and play beside him day in and day out," Smith said afterward. "It's also a good feeling to be able to impose your will, put a man from point A to point B and just keep moving and moving, and they know that there's nothing they can do about it. You can see it in their eyes, and you just keep going.
"Coach Friend preaches that every day — 'Make them quit' — and I think at one point we got there."