Who'll rush the passer?

Parys Haralson recorded 8.5 sacks for Tennessee's football team last fall but he's out of eligibility.

Fellow defensive end Jason Hall added 7 sacks but he's out of eligibility, as well.

Outside linebacker Omar Gaither chipped in four sacks but guess what? He's gone, too.

Fellow seniors Jesse Mahelona (2), Kevin Simon (1), Jason Mitchell (1) and Jason Allen (1) combined for five more. All told, Tennessee has lost 24.5 sacks to graduation.

Moreover, the Vols return just 8.5 sacks. These came from tackles Justin Harrell and Turk McBride (2.5 each), ends Xavier Mitchell (1.5) and Robert Ayers (1) and cornerback Inky Johnson (1).

So, defensive coordinator John Chavis didn't hesitate when asked the most important thing that needs to happen between now and Tennessee's Sept. 2 opener against California.

"We've got to have someone come on and be an outstanding pass rusher for us," Chavis said.

Perhaps Mitchell can fill that role. In addition to his 1.5 sacks last fall, he registered 6 quarterback hurries. Maybe he can pick up some of the slack created by the departure of 2005 ends Haralson and Hall. If not, McBride may have to move from tackle to end.

"We haven't decided yet exactly where we're going to play Turk McBride," Chavis said. "If we play him inside, we could have a pair of tackles as good as any in the country. But we may have to play Turk outside to get the kind of pass rush we need."


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