This Article Is From A Friend Of Mine Ron Bliss, Permission Was given To publish, Enjoy!--
John Chavis likes what he sees and openly talks about his defensive backfield being something special.
"We had guys breaking on the ball and getting in position to make plays,'' said the Tennessee defensive coordinator on Saturday after the team's first scrimmage of spring practice. "We made some good hits. You like to see that early. We have to keep our focus throughout spring practice. We have nine more days and a long ways to go, but with the attitude we have, I like where we are.
"Those guys in the secondary know what they're doing. We have some real good skill. I don't want to say it yet, but it could be some of the best skill we've had back there and that makes it exciting. We'll see how they keep progressing.''
One of the reasons for the optimism is the return of safety Demetrice Morley, who was dismissed for academics before the Outback Bowl game against Penn State 15 months ago, but worked his way back by taking classes at nearby Pellissippi State and has returned in good academic standing.
"I think he's actually a littler farther ahead now than he was,'' said Chavis. "He has learned more and he is playing really well right now. He's building on what he's done before.''
Morley joins Freshman All-American safety Eric Berry -- giving the Vols two five-star high school All-American safeties in the same defensive backfield for probably the first time ever. Both were rated No. 1 at their positions coming out of high school. Dennis Rogan and DeAngelo Willingham started at cornerback and both gained experience last year. Not playing this spring due to surgery is cornerback Brent Vinson, another five-star signee. Antonio Gaines, who was granted another season by the NCAA, is also back at cornerback.
"It feels good to get back out here,'' said Morley. "Getting that interception (he picked off Jonathan Crompton and returned it 23 yards) felt real good. I haven't had that feeling in a while. I want to get used to making big plays on both defense and on offense.
"I've been working hard and all the guys are helping me, as a unit. That makes it easy for me. I'm trying to just take it day-by-day.''
“Demetrice is a football player,” Fulmer said. “I’m excited about him being back. I know he is appreciative to have a second opportunity. I just want to see him consistently do the things off the field, in the classroom, that he is supposed to do and he is doing a real good job of that right now.”
Defensive tackle Dan Williams is also gaining notice, though Chavis said it still isn't what it needs to be.
"It's good that he's getting his hands up,'' said Chavis, when asked about Williams' three pass break-ups. "But what we need even more is for him to be rushing the passer and getting sacks. Sacks are drive-stoppers and we need more of them.''
The only sacks registered in the scrimmage were by Morley and by DT Demonte Bolden. Berry had the only other pass break-up, besides the three recorded by Williams.
Williams started at defensive tackle in the scrimmage along side Walter Fisher. Robert Ayers and Wes Brown were the defensive ends and Rico McCoy, Ellix Wilson and Adam Myers-White started as linebacker.
Nevin McKenzie was making a move to secure the linebacker spot owned by Myers-White before spraining an MCL in Saturday's scrimmage.
"I really like what Nevin has done,'' said Fulmer. "He was battling with Adam for that starting job there, but both can also play at Will Linebacker, too. I hate that he's going to miss some time.''
Here is the depth charge for now:
TE -- Luke Stocker; 6-6, 245 So.; Jeff Cottam, 6-8, 260 Jr.(out with injury).
LT -- Chris Scott, 6-5, 310 Jr.; Ramone Johnson, 6-5, 315 So.
LG -- Vladmir Richard, 6-4, 300 Jr.; Cody Pope, 6-6, 285 Fr.
C -- 75 Anthony Parker, 6-3, 300 Sr.; Josh McNeil, 6-4, 280 Jr. (out with injury)
RG -- Jacques McClendon, 6-3, 320 Jr.; Jarrod Shaw, 6-4, 330 So.; Darris Sawtelle, 6-6, 295 Fr.
RT -- Ramon Foster, 6-6, 325 Sr.; William Brimfield, 6-5, 320 Fr.
WR -- Austin Rogers, 6-2, 185 Jr.; Quintin Hancock, 6-3, 200 Jr.
WR -- Josh Briscoe, 6-3, 183 Sr.; Gerald Jones, 6-0, 185 So.
WR -- Lucas Taylor, 6-0, 185 Sr. (out with injury); Denarius Moore, 6-1, 185 So.; Ahmad Paige, 6-1, 180 Fr.
QB -- Jon Crompton, 6-4, 220 Jr.; Nick Stephens, 6-4, 215 So.; B.J. Coleman, 6-3, 210 Fr.
TB -- Arian Foster, 6-1, 215 Sr.; Montario Hardesty, 6-0, 210 Jr.; Lennon Creer, 6-1, 210 So.
FB -- Kevin Cooper, 6-0, 240 So.; David Holbert, 6-1, 250 Sr. (out with injury)
PK -- Daniel Lincoln, 6-0, 204 So.; Devin Mathis, 5-11, 150 Fr.
KOR -- Dennis Rogan, 5-10, 185 So.; Lennon Creer, 6-1, 210 So.; Denarius Moore, 6-1, 185 So.; Gerald Jones, 6-0, 195 So.
LE -- Wes Brown, 6-4, 256 Jr.; Chris Walker, 6-3, 230 So.
LT -- Demonte Bolden, 6-6, 290 Sr.; Walter Fisher, 6-3, 275 Sr.; Victor Thomas, 6-4, 270 So.
RT -- Dan Williams, 6-3, 310 Jr.; Chase Nelson, 6-4, 270 Jr.; Donald Langley, 6-2, 290 Fr.
RE -- Robert Ayers, 6-3, 270 Sr.; Ben Martin, 6-3, 240 So.
WLB -- Rico McCoy, 6-1, 215 Jr.; Savion Frazier, 6-2, 210 So.; LaMarcus Thompson, 6-1, 220 So.
MLB -- Ellix Wilson, 5-10, 25 Sr.; Nick Reveiz, 5-10, 225 So.; Chris Donald, 6-1, 225 Fr.
SLB -- Adam Myers-White, 6-2, 215 Sr.; Nevin McKenzie, 6-2, 215 Sr. (out with injury)
LCB -- DeAngelo Willingham, 6-0, 200 Sr.; C.J. Fleming, 5-10, 173 Fr.; Marsalous Johnson, 5-9, 180 Jr. (out with injury)
RCB -- Antonio Gaines, 5-9, 185 Sr.; Art Evans, 6-1, 185 Fr.; Brent Vinson, 6-0, 190 So. (out with injury)
FS -- Dennis Rogan, 5-10, 185 So.; Demetrice Morley, 6-2, 195 Jr.
SS -- Eric Berry, 5-11, 195 So.; Anthony Anderson, 6-1, 180 Fr.
P -- Chad Cunningham, 6-3, 210 So.; Britton Colquitt, 6-3, 205 Sr. (out with suspension)
DS -- Morgan Cox, 6-4, 225 Jr.; Nick Guess, 6-3, 230 Fr.
H -- Bram Cannon, 6-2, 185 Jr.; Geoff Courtney, 6-1, 175 So.
PR -- Dennis Rogan, 5-10, 185 So.; Austin Rogers, 6-2, 185 Jr.; Gerald Jones, 6-0, 185 So.; Eric Berry, 5-11, 195 So.