Boo' ignores negative talk

With all four starters gone from last season's defensive line, many UT football fans are suggesting that the D-line will be a team weakness this fall. Rashad ''Boo'' Moore, who figures to inherit one of the tackle spots, isn't letting the talk bother him.

B''I'm not big on people talking about what we lost and all that,'' he said. ''I know what I've got to do, and the three guys playing with me know what they've got to do. We've got to go out and prove ourselves EVERY Saturday, regardless of what they say.

''Whether they say we've got the greatest D-line or the worst D-line, we've got to go out and play up to our potential every Saturday. Every team's got to go out and get better, regardless of whether they've got all four starters back. If they stay the same, they're going to be terrible. You've got to get better.''

Entering preseason drills, defensive line coach Dan Brooks has Moore bracketed first-team with Ed Kendrick at one tackle spot, with Aubrayo Franklin and Demetrin Veal bracketed first-team on the other side. Still, Moore bristled a bit when asked about the ''competition'' among Tennessee's tackles.

''It's not a competition among the D-line,'' he said. ''We work together, man. It's not like I've got to beat out Ed Kendrick to start. I know I'm going to get 30-35 snaps a game, and that's all I need to prove myself to anybody ... which I don't have to. That's how it's going to be. I don't have to beat nobody out.

''We're working together. If he (Kendrick) needs help on a move, I'm going to help him. If I need help on a move, I'm going to expect him to help me. That's how it's supposed to be. We're all going to rotate. Coach Brooks is a fair coach. If I'm playing the best, then I'm going to get the most snaps. If Ed's playing the best, he's going to get the most snaps. That's just how it is.''

Tennessee will rely on some freshmen for depth in the line this fall, and Moore has a piece of advice for them.

''It's not like high school,'' he said. ''That's all I can tell you. It's a lot faster tempo than high school, a lot harder hitting than high school. You've got to be ready, be in shape.''

Junior college transfer Mondre Dickerson is expected to earn immediate playing time at defensive end. He and the other newcomers will be counted on for depth in an area that was hit hard by graduation.

''Mondre and the other D-linemen will have a big impact because we're shallow in that position,'' Moore said. ''There's not very many of us, and we need a bunch of us to rotate. It's not healthy for one D-lineman to play 60 or 70 snaps a game. It's not possible if you're going to go 100 percent every snap. It's going to be real big that they come in and contribute to this team.''

Asked if any of the freshmen have caught his eye, Moore shook his head.

''Ain't nobody got on no pads; ain't nobody doing no hitting,'' he said. ''So you can't say, 'This guy is going to be the man out of this group.' They've all got to prove themselves. We proved ourselves in '98 and '99. Now they've got to do the same thing. Ain't going to be nothin' handed to nobody.''


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