Keyon may see double duty

The loss of senior middle linebacker Dominique Stevenson following the 2001 season caused UT's coaching staff to move Keyon Whiteside from weakside 'backer to the middle last spring. Now, the loss of Kevin Burnett to a torn ACL may force Whiteside to play both ... not at the same time, of course.

Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis says Plan A for replacing Burnett consists of merely elevating backup Kevin Simon into the first-team job. Though coming off a major knee injury, Simon played the last 3 1/2 quarters against Wyoming in Game 1 and performed well.

When Simon needs a breather, though, odds are that Whiteside will move into the weakside linebacker spot, with backup MLB Robert Peace filling in for Whiteside.

''Keyon Whiteside would be the next guy to go outside,'' Chavis said, ''with Robert inside.

''We're going to look at that situation in practice. We're scrambling a little bit to create depth right now. We'll be fine. We're having to move some people around and we're having to ask some guys to play two positions. That's part of what we're going to have to do in order to have the kind of depth we need.''

Freshmen Omar Gaither and Parys Haralson saw action at outside linebacker in Game 1 but neither is ready to step into a starting role just yet.

''They're coming on,'' Chavis said. ''They're not ready to go out and play 35-40 snaps in a ballgame yet. We've got to get them to that point. Obviously, it's time to accelerate their reps on the field, and that'll happen in practice this week. Hopefully, we can get them ready to rest some of the other people.''



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