Spring Practice Player Profile: Mondre Dickerson

Mondre had a slow start to his season in 2002 after enrolling last January at UT to participate in spring practice. After a year under his wing, he looks ready to play a big part in the revamping Dan Brook's defensive line.

Dickerson had a nice start to his second spring practice in early March. He checked in around 10-15 pounds lighter and looked noticeably quicker. That was a much needed improvement due to looking a little slow at times in the 2002 season. Dickerson came to Tennessee listed as a defensive end, but now may be nailing down a starting defensive tackle job.

Judging by how defensive line coach Dan Brooks is pushing Mondre, the coaching staff is hoping he comes along very quickly. Dan Brooks commented on Mondre in a recent article by Jeffery Stewart. "We are looking for consistency out of Mondre," said Brooks. "He worked hard in the offseason. He is stronger and that sort of thing. He's buying into what we want him to be. We are just looking for consistency day-to-day in his work habits and what he is doing."

When the Vols restarted Spring Practice today, Coach Fulmer restated how important it was for Mondre and the entire defensive line to be more consistent. "Mondre has a lot of potential but consistency is the key there," Fulmer said following Tuesday's workout. "He can be really good if he grows up but some of them don't have a clue."

In a recent scrimmage, Dickerson was able to string together some nice plays against his fellow first team offense teammates. Dickerson slipped through a block and made an echoing hit on tailback Jabari Davis. Because there haven't been very much live action to keep injuries to a minimum, highlights of Mondre are at a premium. He has however looked good in position drills that his coach has been putting the d-tackles through.

Dickerson must constantly think about the success that Dan Brooks has had molding great defensive tackles. Albert Haynesworth, John Henderson and Darwin Walker are enough to make any player take every mental note possible as Brooks is laying the techniques out.

Mondre has been working to improve his center-of-gravity very low to the ground. Obviously moving from outside to inside is a big change. At times in 2002, Dickerson was rolled out of his end position because he wasn't low enough. If that happened at end, it will be ten times worse playing defensive tackle.

In addition to not getting rolled off the line, Mondre said he wants to improve his lower body strength to be better against the run in 2003. Dickerson said he has added 40 pounds to his squat since the season ended and he is hoping to dramatically increase that over the summer.

Brooks has continually said the two tackle positions are wide open, and I am sure they are, but Mondre Dickerson has thus far appeared to be ready to take on of those slots going into the summer. If Dickerson can level out his performance so that he is a solid defensive tackle day-in and day-out, he has just as good a chance of winning a starting spot as any one else on the D-line.

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