Wade's worry

Tennessee cornerback Jonathan Wade faced a big test in Game 8, when he had to cover South Carolina superstar Sidney Rice. He faced another big test in Game 9, when he had to contain LSU's trio of Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Early Doucet.

Wade faces an even bigger test – physically, at least – this weekend against Arkansas. The Razorbacks' top receiver is 6-foot-6 Marcus Monk. In addition to his size, Monk has good hands and surprising speed. He ranks third among SEC players with a 19.5 yards-per-catch average. His 33 receptions have produced 642 yards and six touchdowns. Only a junior, he needs just four more TD grabs to tie the school's career record of 23 held by Anthony Lucas.

"Monk is a big guy with real good speed," Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis said. "If you're not real careful he'll put you to sleep with his size, then get behind you. He's a very talented receiver. Everybody in the league has those guys but most of them aren't 6-6 and 215 pounds."

Because Arkansas averages 238 rushing yards per game, UT likely will load the box to stop the run, leaving Jonathan Wade to cover Monk one on one much of Saturday evening.

"He's a good playmaker," the Vol corner conceded. "He's not just a tall, jump-ball type of receiver. He'll go across the middle. He makes a lot of tough catches. It's going to take a lot of tight coverage and a lot of pressure to try and force some bad balls."

If Arkansas tries the same strategy LSU used, however, Wade won't have to worry about covering Monk or anybody else. The Tigers threw almost no passes in Wade's area last Saturday.

"That was the first time I ever witnessed that," he said. "It was frustrating. It felt like there was nothing I could do in some situations."

Asked if he finds it difficult to stay focused when no balls are thrown into his territory, however, Wade shook his head emphatically.

"No! No! No! No!" he said. "Especially in a game like that, where so much is at stake. I'm always looking for something to come my way."

One thing sure to come his way Saturday will be carrying the ball and wearing a No. 5 on his jersey. That would be Darren McFadden, Arkansas's sensational sophomore tailback. He leads the SEC in rushing yards (1,038) and averages 6.2 yards per carry. Backup Felix Jones is almost as good, ranking fourth among SEC rushers (714 yards) and averaging a mind-boggling 8.1 yards per carry.

"He reminds me of Adrian Peterson," Wade said of McFadden. "He's big, fast, runs hard. They have two good running backs, actually. They've got some good playmakers at running back, and they put the ball in their hands as much as possible. Felix might be a little faster but they're both good running backs."


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