Bama game's special for Allen

Coming off a 41-14 loss to Georgia, you'd figure Tennessee's defensive players would be (a) embarrassed and (b) discouraged as they prepare for this Saturday's game at Alabama. But cornerback Jason Allen says Vol defenders are neither.

''We're fine,'' he said, when asked about the mood of the team. ''We've just got to get out there and play ball. That's all we have to do.''

Asked if the players are embarrassed about the debacle against Georgia, he paused thoughtfully before answering.

''We were embarrassed to a certain extent,'' he said. ''I feel like we were disappointed more than embarrassed.''

Because he grew up in Muscle Shoals, Allen views the Alabama game as something special. He knows many of the Tide's players from high school football -- a fact he was painfully reminded of by his homeboys during last year's game, a 34-14 Bama victory.

''I remember they were talking trash to me before the game, after the game and during the game,'' he recalled. ''I want to turn it around this year.''

Allen took even more grief when he went home during school breaks -- this time from people disappointed that he picked UT over Alabama coming out of high school.

''Oh, man, everytime I go home I hear about it,'' he said. ''Last weekend (during the open-date week) I went home and had to hear it. We've got to turn it around because I've already got to live with Auburn beating us for a whole year. I hear from them, too, but I get a lot of grief about Alabama beating us last year.''

Allen estimated that Muscle Shoals is about a 90-minute drive from Tuscaloosa, site of Saturday's game. Thus, this game represents something of a homecoming for him.

''There's nothing like going back home -- playing in front of people you played against in high school, your family and friends, guys you played basketball with and stuff like that,'' he said. ''It's a great feeling.''

It'll be an even greater feeling if the Vols win.

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