More wrinkles

It turns out there are a lot more wrinkles in Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's scheme than in his 69-year-old face.

Although the acknowledged defensive guru threw an impressive assortment of stunts, blitzes and disguises at the Vol offense during spring practice, he still has some unused gimmicks in his bag of tricks.

Asked how much of his defensive scheme is in place, Kiffin replied, "Probably about 90 percent. There's another 10 percent we could do."

Having more bullets doesn't mean he'll load them into the gun, of course. Kiffin wants to make sure his troops are capable of understanding and executing the defenses they have before he gives them even more material to assimilate.

"It depends on how we come along in fall camp," he said. "I feel pretty good right now."

For a guy pushing 70 years of age, Kiffin looked awfully spry bouncing around during spring practice. It appears the game is keeping him young.

"I just love coming out to practice, seeing guys get better," he said. "That gets me excited."

Vol defenders got a lot better from the beginning of spring drills through the Orange & White Game. Still, Kiffin laughed at the suggestion that his troops might be ahead of schedule.

"No," he said, shaking his head emphatically. "When we started we were way off. We're just getting better. We are not ready to play. We will be, but we're not ready to play right now."

From all indications, the Vols have fallen in love with Kiffin's famous Tampa-2 defense. They worked diligently to learn it and were executing it fairly well by the end of spring practice. Kiffin found that encouraging.

"These guys are good people," he said. "They're studying hard. They're good players and they really want to do what we want them to do."

The veteran defensive coordinator hints that his defense might be even farther along if not for his son, UT head coach Lane Kiffin.

"Lane's got a lot of volume in his offense," Monte noted. "He's trying to get a lot in – shifting and motion and things like that. It kind of taxed us (defensive staff) a little bit but you've got to crawl before you walk."

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