Wade may have to play DB

Vol freshman Jonathan Wade has spent his first year of college football proving he's a better wide receiver than cornerback. Still, he may return to defense in the very near future.

With senior cornerback Willie Miles hampered by a pulled groin that clouds his availability for Saturday's game with Vanderbilt, Julian Battle has moved from safety to corner and Jabari Greer has moved from second team to first team on the other side. That leaves UT with just redshirt freshman Robert Boulware and junior Corey Larkins in reserve at cornerback.

''I'm pleased with Robert Boulware,'' head coach Phillip Fulmer said. ''He's continued to improve. He played eight or 10 snaps against Mississippi State. He's making progress, and that's encouraging. Corey Larkins has done a lot of things for us, so I think we'll be fine, even though depth is a concern in the secondary.''

If there is another injury to a Vol defensive back, Fulmer says he may move Wade from offense to defense, where he played almost exclusively throughout his prep career.

''We played Jonathan Wade over there (corner) a little bit early in practice,'' the head man said following Thusday's workout. ''He played a lot of corner in high school and understands it. Obviously, he'd be somewhat limited in some of our coverages.''

Fulmer went on to note that the switch of Wade to defense is ''not likely'' but could occur ''in case of an emergency.''

With Kentucky passing whiz Jared Lorenzen next up on the schedule, the Vols could find themselves in an emergency situation next Saturday.

Assuming Miles can't play vs. Vanderbilt, Battle and Greer will open at the corners, with Mark Jones and Gibril Wilson at the safety spots. With Battle concentrating on corner, the depth at safety is reduced to true freshman Jason Allen and senior Steven Marsh. Though he has played some at safety during his career, Marsh has been used mostly at outside linebacker this fall.

''He'll have to work back there (safety) some in case we have an emergency situation back there,'' Fulmer said. ''It's not ideal but he does have some experience back there.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories