UT may have double-duty duo

Defensive coordinator John Chavis entered spring practice hoping to bolster Tennessee's end corps without depleting the defensive tackle ranks. It appears he found a way to accomplish both objectives.

Chavis is taking a long look at utilizing Turk McBride and Raymond Henderson on both the inside and outside of the defensive front. McBride (6-4, 275) has the size to play tackle, along with the quickness to play end. Henderson (6-6, 255) has ideal size for an end but has enough strength and toughness to play tackle, as well.

McBride and Henderson are listed as tackles coming out of spring practice but either – or both – could wind up playing a lot at end this fall.

"If we make the decision to keep certain people in certain spots we can be very, very good at tackle," Chavis said, clearly referring to McBride and Henderson. "But we've got to be balanced. We've got to have some good players at end. I think we've made a step in that direction but we're not there yet … not by a long shot."

McBride has started three games at tackle and one at end during his UT career. Clearly, he's versatile enough to play both positions in 2006. Asked if there's a chance Henderson also could be used at both positions in the season ahead, Chavis shrugged.

"There could be," the coordinator said. "We want to be as flexible as we possibly can. We've been able to move guys from inside to outside, so he'll probably work some at both."

Henderson lacks the bulk to play tackle on a full-time basis but he has the other requirements for the job.

"Obviously, he needs a little more lead in his pencil," Chavis said, "but he certainly got better in the spring."

The post-spring practice depth chart shows Justin Harrell and McBride listed first-team at the tackle spots, backed by Matt McGlothlin, Demonte Bolden, Dan Williams, Jared Hostetter, Henderson and Vladimir Richard. It shows Antonio Reynolds and Robert Ayers first-team at end, backed by Walter Fisher, Xavier Mitchell and Wes Brown.

Obviously, the Vols are a little short of depth at end but that problem would be solved if McBride and Henderson can move outside from time to time.

All things considered, Chavis feels pretty good about the front four.

"I don't think you ever come out of spring practice with all of the questions answered," he said, "but the biggest question was up front."

Thanks to the versatility of Turk McBride and Raymond Henderson, that question doesn't seem nearly as perplexing as it did back in early March

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