Allen's making like Superman

Tennessee's Jason Allen probably is playing as well as any defensive back this fall.

The 6-2, 200-pound junior leads the Southeastern Conference in tackles with 83 after recording back-to-back 15-stop performances against Alabama and South Carolina the past two weekends.

Originally a cornerback, Allen was switched to free safety one game into the 2004 season. To say he has responded well might be the understatement of the year.

''Jason's a ballplayer,'' Vol secondary coach Larry Slade says. ''He gets around the football, and he's an outstanding tackler. He's just a ballplayer.''

As well as Allen has played, defensive coordinator John Chavis says the talented native of Muscle Shoals, Ala., is still making strides on a regular basis.

''He's still learning,'' the Vol aide said. ''He's still in on-the-job training. The thing he's doing great is competing. He's playing physical and full-speed. There are some things that he's still not 100 percent comfortable with.

''You haven't seen the best Jason Allen yet. It's still out there. He's done a teffific job for us already. But as he gets more comfortable with his role, you'll see him start getting picks (interceptions) and breaking on the ball and doing some of those things that are missing right now. It's not Jason's fault; it's just a matter of him being comfortable and being able to go out and play 100 percent all the time.''

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