Brooks to shuffle D-linemen

If you don't like the mixture of defensive linemen Tennessee starts in Saturday's opener against Wyoming, don't fret. Just wait a few snaps and it probably will change.

Dan Brooks, the Vols' defensive line coach, vows to keep his troops rotating in and out during the contest.

''I'm going to roll people, and we're going to try and keep them fresh,'' he said. ''Don't be shocked if you see eight to 10 defensive linemen in the ballgame. That's the way we'd like for it to be going in -- with five inside guys (tackles) and five outside guys (ends) who we feel like are ready to play.''

Most likely, the five tackles will be seniors Rashad Moore, Aubrayo Franklin, Demetrin Veal and Ed Kendrick, plus redshirt freshman Wesley Holmes. The five ends probably will be senior Omari Hand, sophomore Karlton Neal, junior Mondre Dickerson and freshmen Jonathon Mapu and Jason Hall.

Asked if he has any reservations about playing two freshmen at end, Brooks shook his head.

''It's not like they've got to start or anything like that,'' he said. ''Our deal around here is we like to play guys when they're ready to play, not because they HAVE to play. We'll pick our spots and throw them in the mix. I think they're very much ready for that. They've done a good job learning the schemes and what we're trying to do.''

Brooks believes using some of Tennessee's young linemen in certain spots will keep the starters from being exhausted by the fourth quarter.

''We've challenged our young people,'' he said. ''If they can do that (provide depth), that will help you at the end of the game, when Demetrin Veal and Omari Hand can still go, and Rashad can still go, and they're not blasted.''

Keeping Vol linemen fresh will be a challenge because they probably will spend much of the afternoon chasing Wyoming quarterback Casey Bramlet. The Cowboys are expected to put the ball in the air 40-50 times, so UT must generate a decent pass rush.

''We're going to get there,'' Brooks said. ''They're going to throw the ball quick, so we've got to get out there and help make plays. We've got to get to the quarterback some because that (passing) is probably the best thing they do.''

Brooks said he and defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell are looking to add freshman tackle Greg Jones to the D-line mix at some point this fall. With five seniors among the top 10 linemen this fall, it's important that UT build some depth for 2003.

''Greg Jones is a guy we're trying to work (into the rotation),'' Brooks said. ''We want to get those young people involved or Steve and I would be in trouble in another year because we'll have all these seniors gone. We've got to play those young guys, put them in some situations, see how they respond and go from there.''


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