Help on its way?

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After doing a solid-enough job against two of the better running games in the country, the Tennessee defensive line may have found it's niche and built some confidence.

Against Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson, the Volunteers held the Alabama running back to a net of 77 yards on 17 carries. Those are hardly smothering numbers, especially given that the junior tripped to the end zone twice, but those are sub-standard stats for Richardson given his lofty status as a pro prospect.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide ran it 38 times in their 37-6 victory over UT but averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.

No. 1 LSU ran it better against the Vols but a rushing total of 237 yards on 49 carries isn't just blowing it up considering the accolades that the Tiger offensive line gets week to week.

Two categories — sacks and interceptions — help portray what kind of a pass rush a team boasts. Tennessee as a team has just 10 sacks and two INTs in seven games. Those numbers must multiply if the Big Orange wants to make a splash with the remainder of the schedule.

Looking at the future of the Vol D-line, a pair of East Mississippi Community College prospects could provide immediate help up front in 2012.

Only days after taking an official visit to Knoxville back in July, defensive tackle Damien Jacobs committed to the Vols, citing his relationship with recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph and defensive line coach Lance Thompson as two of the reasons for his decision.

While teams like Florida, Texas A&M and South Florida are trying to squeeze their way into the picture, Jacobs appears to be holding onto his verbal pledge to don the orange and white come January.

Jacobs plans to pay his own way and visit unofficially this weekend when the Vols take on Southeastern Conference Eastern Division rival South Carolina at Neyland Stadium.

The 300-pounder originally from Louisiana confirmed to that he will be joined by East Mississippi teammate Denico Autry, who is among the top targets still on the board for the Vols.

Autry has been nearly unblockable for the Lions this year, posting 55 tackles, 32 quarterback hurries, nine tackles for loss and four sacks from his defensive end spot.

Jacobs, whose strength is in run defense, has totaled 32 tackles, four tackles for loss and four quarterback hurries.

The tandem may be joined by EMCC quarterback Bo Wallace, who prepped at Giles County High School in Pulaski.

The athletic Wallace, who Jacobs affectionately calls a "freak," is completing 67.2 percent (217 for 323) of his passes for 2,967 yards with 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is also fourth on the team in rushing.

East Mississippi puts its 8-0 record on the line Thursday when it travels to play Holmes.

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