Vol defenders 'hungry'

Despite being shredded by Auburn and Georgia the past two games, Tennessee's defensive players aren't pointing any fingers. Instead, they're pointing to this Saturday's game at Alabama as an opportunity for redemption.

''I think they're hungry,'' Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis said. ''I think they're excited about the opportunity to go out and play again. It's a defense that's growing and, hopefully, they feel that and see that.

''They've certainly had a great attitude in practice. I really like what I've seen in terms of preparation.''

Although Alabama boasts a balanced offense (161 rushing yards per game, 184 passing yards per game), Chavis noted that the Tide offense starts with the running game. That's because Bama features one of the NCAA's premier runners in Shaud Williams, who averages 110.6 rushing yards per game. Chavis called Williams ''a heck of a back,'' but added: ''It seems like the one you're getting ready to play is always the best one.''

Tennessee's chances of slowing Williams are better now that burly tackle Justin Harrell is available. Harrell missed the first five games with an ankle injury but played around a dozen snaps in Game 6 vs. Georgia. He'll play probably two dozen snaps vs. Bama.

''He gives you a big body in there who can get off blocks and make plays,'' Chavis said. ''He's not 100 percent yet but he's a guy who can help us. He'll help us more and more as we go along. He's not in playing condition but he's getting better each day.''


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