Steady Eddie assesses Vol 'D'

Vol linebacker Eddie Moore is a low-key guy. So, when a TV news reporter asked following Tennessee's 26-3 defeat of Middle Tennessee State if the Vol defense deserved an A for its performance, Moore quickly shook his head.

Eddie Moore Profile

''I'd say a B,'' he replied. ''An A says somebody's perfect, and I don't think we played a perfect game. We did a lot of good things but we didn't play a perfect game.''

Asked what cost the Vols an A rating, Moore replied: ''We were in the wrong position sometimes, and sometimes we didn't get the call in.''

Though imperfect, Vol defenders played well enough against MTSU to limit the Blue Raiders to 209 yards of total offense, 3.4 yards per play and 12 first downs. When asked what he and his cohorts can take from that type of performance, Moore paused briefly before answering.

''You take the joy of another win but (then) it's back to business. You put this one behind and start looking forward. This was just another rung on the ladder we've got to climb to get where we want to be.''

Asked if the defense is where it needs to be heading into next Saturday's game with Florida, he again shook his head.

''I wouldn't say that,'' he said. ''We're good right now but we can always get a lot better.''

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise so far this season is the inspired play of Kevin Simon, who assumed the outside linebacker post opposite Moore when Kevin Burnett suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the opener vs. Wyoming. Simon registered a team-high nine tackles vs. MTSU and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

''He stepped up to the challenge,'' Moore said. ''He was questioned about how good he was going to perform and I think he showed everybody he can be a great UT linebacker.''

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