Tennessee tackles improving

They may not develop into a duo as potent as John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth, but freshmen defensive tackles Justin Harrell and Tony McDaniel are on track to be outstanding players for Tennessee someday.

''They're coming along,'' defensive coordinator John Chavis said this week. ''They're still a ways away from being ready to compete on a winning level in the SEC, but they've made progress. We need them to mature in a hurry.''

Like most freshmen, Harrell and McDaniel need additional strength in order to compete with the more physically mature players they face in Southeastern Conference play each week.

''They need some time in the weight room,'' Chavis said. ''That's going to be big for them.''

McDaniel recorded two tackles last Saturday vs. Vanderbilt, including one for minus yardage. He had an assist the week before against Mississippi State. For the season, he has four solos and three assists.

''Obviously, Tony's got some potential,'' Chavis said. ''We've seen a little of it, and we're happy about what we've seen, but he's got a ways to go before we can line up and win with him in the SEC.''

Harrell has the potential to be truly outstanding if he can stay healthy. He redshirted in 2002 because of a stress fracture and missed the first five games of '03 with an ankle injury. Still, he has been making his presence felt in recent weeks. He registered two solos vs. Alabama, three assists against Duke and one assist vs. Vanderbilt. For the year, he has two solos and four assists.

''He's making progress,'' Chavis conceded, ''but he's still not close to where he was during spring practice.''


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