Chavis Smith back to defense?

Vol football coach Phil Fulmer didn't ask me -- he never does -- but I think Tennessee should move Chavis Smith back to defensive tackle.

Smith spent his first season as a Vol (2000) at D-tackle, then moved to offensive guard in 2001 and 2002. Although he has been an occasional starter at guard the past two seasons, Tennessee's depth at guard, coupled with its total absence of depth at defensive tackle, could make him more valuable at the latter.

Heading into preseason drills, converted end Mondre Dickerson and sophomore Greg Jones are Tennessee's projected starters at defensive tackle. Now that LaRon Harris has been ruled ineligible and Andre Taylor has elected to transfer, the depth at D-tackle consists of two redshirt freshmen who have never played a snap of college football -- Justin Harrell (who missed most of spring practice due to surgery on his leg) and walk-on Matt McGlothlin. Even if juco transfer Zarnell Fitch proves capable when he arrives in August, the Vols need more depth at tackle. Smith has some experience at the position, so he's the obvious choice to provide a quick fix. Heck, he may even win a starting job.

Even if Smith moves to the defensive front, Tennessee's offensive line should boast adequate depth. Michael Munoz and Cody Douglas project to start at offensive tackle, backed by senior Sean Young. Jason Respert and Anthony Herrera project to start at guard, backed by Rob Smith. Scott Wells returns for his fourth year as the starting center, backed by fellow senior Chuck Prugh. Sophomore Richie Gandy is just about ready to help. Brandon Jefferies, Gil Dumont and Steven Jones are improving, and the Vols have two touted freshmen -- Arron Sears and Eric Young -- who'll join the mix in August.

Given Tennessee's shaky situation at defensive tackle, moving Chavis Smith to bolster the depth seems like an obvious solution. If injuries hit the offensive line, he could always be used as a parttime player on both lines.

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