No cover corners

Vol secondary coach Larry Slade was encouraged that cornerbacks Jonathan Hefney and Roshaun Fellows recorded crucial interceptions last weekend against South Carolina. But he was just as encouraged by their work in run support. That's as important to a Vol defensive back as coverage skills.

''Certainly,'' Slade said. ''We don't have any 'cover corners' in this program. You've got to be tough and be able to tackle. We're getting better at it but we're still a ways from where we need to be.''

Hefney is a wiry 5-10, 172-pound freshman who offsets his lack of size with explosiveness and toughness. Fellows is a 6-foot, 185-pound redshirt freshman who has improved as a tackler on a weekly basis since the season began.

As important as run support is, cornerbacks face tremendous pressure everytime an opposing quarterback throws deep. Hefney and Fellows passed that test with flying colors last Saturday in Columbia.

''Those guys are beginning to play well,'' Slade said. ''On those (long pass) plays, they need to grade 100 percent. It was good he and Jonathan graded 100 percent on those plays when they were challenged deep.''

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