Chavis isn't disappointed

Although Tennessee's offense won most of the battles in Saturday's fullscale scrimmage, defensive coordinator John Chavis isn't discouraged. He figures his troops are making steady progress as the Aug. 30 opener approaches.

UT defenders did a pretty good job stopping the run Saturday, limiting tailbacks Cedric Houston (18 carries for 48 yards), Jabari Davis (13 for 39) and Cedric Houston (5 for 20) to just 97 yards on 36 carries, less than three yards per attempt. However, the stop unit gave up several big plays in the passing game.

Noting that most of the defense's mistakes have been mental, Chavis added: ''The more you're out there, the more reps you get and the better you're going to be. I'm pleased with where we are. We're headed in the right direction. We just need to accelerate that a little bit.

''In the next week we're going to have to decide who the four or five (top) guys at each position are and try to get them ready. After the scrimmage tomorrow night, some people will probably get a few less reps than they've been getting because we've got to start getting guys ready to play in the games.''

Chavis pronounced his troops ''on track,'' but added: ''Mentally, we can't have some of the busts we've had. We've got to make sure they know what to do, then get them in position.''

Complicating matters is the fact Chavis is working some newcomers into the mix who are not yet fully versed in UT's defensive schemes. These include juco cornerback Brandon Johnson, juco linebacker Jon Poe, freshman linebacker Daniel Brooks, freshman tackle Matt McGlothlin and freshman end Turk McBride.

''We've got to decide what we, as coaches, are going to do with some of the younger guys,'' Chavis said. ''All the scheme in the world isn't worth a nickel if you can't execute it. You don't ask young kids to do things they can't do. We've got to be flexible enough with them that, when they're in there, we do things they can handle.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories