Allen takes blame

They say it takes a big man to admit a mistake, which means Tennessee cornerback Jason Allen must be a big man.

Allen shouldered full responsibility for the coverage bust that allowed Bret Smith to be wide, wide open on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Rick Clausen during Saturday's first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason.

"I take all blame for that mistake there," Allen said. "It was a miscommunication, and I take all the blame for that play. I should've been there. But we live and learn. It was a mistake I made and I've got to get better."

As the senior member of UT's secondary, Allen is counted on to be the steadying force for his fellow starters -- junior Antwan Stewart, sophomore Jonathan Hefney and sophomore Roshaun Fellows. Hefney and Fellows were part-time starters in 2004. Stewart was a part-time starter in 2003 who missed last season with a torn ACL.

Vol secondary coach Larry Slade has taken some heat because UT ranked dead last among the 12 SEC schools in pass defense last fall but Allen said the aide is doing a terrific job.

"Coach Slade has done a heck of a job the whole camp making sure the freshmen and young guys were learning, picking up well," Allen said.

After earning All-SEC honors as a safety in 2004, Allen wanted to play cornerback in 2005. UT coaches agreed to this in order to keep their star DB from bypassing his senior season in favor of the NFL Draft. Allen, who played cornerback in 2003, said the transition from safety back to corner is no big deal.

"It's just playing football," he said. "It's Xs and Os. It hasn't been a big transition for me. It's just about going out and playing football, and that's all I've been doing."

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