Finding pieces to puzzle

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With the Tennessee Volunteers first scrimmage on the horizon, Tennessee fans may have a change in statistics for the first time in a while.

Often times the defense far outshines the offense in the first scrimmage of the spring, but with the Vols adjusting to new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri's 3-4 defense things could flip flop Saturday morning (11 a.m.).

However, the now seasoned Tennessee defensive group is taking to Sunseri's new scheme and even coaching style in a hurry.

"Coach Sal is a great guy," said junior JACK linebacker Jacques Smith. "He's up-tempo, he has a lot of energy and he has a lot of passion for football.

Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri
(Danny Parker/

"That is the type of coach I love. From day one when he introduced himself to the defensive side of the ball, the guys love him and we are getting along great. I'm excited about the season."

Smith is coming off a lackluster sophomore campaign after earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2010, but the change in scheme might be just what the pass rusher needs.

"Really what I'm looking at is body types," Derek Dooley said of the new 3-4. "You take a guy like I think Jacques (Smith) is a good example. When he plays in a 4-3 and he's a defensive end, he's a little bit undersized. It doesn't mean he can't be good. It doesn't mean he can't play. From a prototype of what you want, he's a little undersized. When you stand him up as an outside linebacker, he's a perfect size."

Fans can look forward to seeing multiple looks from the Vols new defensive system, which will cause players to change roles as well and adapt to multiple positions.

"With this defense we mix (positions) a lot," said defensive end Marlon Walls. "You have to know both end spots and you have to know what the guy next to you is doing. I have to know what the nose guard is doing which tells me what I have to do. You have to know (the positions)."

The most multiple position will come from the edge of the second level with the JACK position, which is a welcome change for Smith.

"We have different fronts and there are different times when I'll be down and up, same thing as last year, just the concepts are a lot different," Smith said. "It's really the little key things that are different within this defense so we will have to see in the spring."

Tennessee nose tackle Maurice Couch talks about the Vols new alignment below:

Couch talks 3-4 defense from Inside Tennessee on Vimeo.

Tennessee sophomore safety Brian Randolph talks about the secondary and their progress in the 3-4 below:

Randolph talks first spring from Inside Tennessee on Vimeo.

Newly converted defensive end Marlon Walls talks about where he fits into Sal Sunseri's new defense below:

Walls talks new 3-4 alignment from Inside Tennessee on Vimeo.

Chris Price is a staff writer for He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

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