No Mustang for Morley

Tennessee's most impressive freshman of the preseason will see plenty of action in Saturday's opener against Alabama-Birmingham but he'll be limited to one role.

Demetrice Morley, a tough and talented 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Miami, projects to get several snaps at strong safety but he won't be part of the Vols' so-called Mustang Package. When UT is utilizing five defensive backs (nickel package) or six defensive backs (dime package), Morley will be watching, not participating.

"I feel comfortable with Morley being in the game," defensive coordinator John Chavis said Tuesday. "But we're not going to ask Morley to learn a different position. We're going to let him play safety and safety alone.

"We're not going to ask him to learn a nickel or dime position. We try to do that with older kids, and let the younger kids learn one position. As they get older, we'll move them around a little bit. Right now Morley will play a lot of football but he will not be a part of the nickel and dime packages."

Instead, Chavis says he'll probably use second-team cornerbacks Jonathan Wade (a junior) and Inky Johnson (a sophomore) when the Vols go with extra defensive backs.

Tennessee's starting secondary consists of senior Jason Allen and sophomore Roshaun Fellows at the cornerback spots, with Antwan Stewart at strong safety and Jonathan Hefney at free safety.

The Vol pass defense ranked dead last among the 12 Southeastern Conference teams last fall. The secondary progressed in spring practice and preseason, however, and could be much improved in 2005.

"I think our secondary has the possibility of being outstanding eventually," Chavis said. "We just have to make sure we put them in situations they can handle, don't ask them to do too much too early. Hopefully, our front seven can pick a little of that slack for them early in the season and, hopefully, we can grow (in the secondary) as the season goes along."

Since UAB's passing game is more dangerous than its ground attack, Tennessee may use quite a bit of nickel and dime packages. The Vols were so lacking in quality defensive backs last fall that these packages were not an option.

"We were basically unable to last year but young guys have stepped and gotten themselves ready to play," Chavis said.

Fellows and Hefney started as freshmen last year. Both suffered some growing pains but both should be significantly better this year.

"Those two freshmen who started last year have got to be so much better this year, even though one of them (Hefney) is playing a different position," Chavis said. "Then you get (Antwan) Stewart back, which is a big plus.

"Just from the standpoint of guys who have played, you look much better."


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