Rattle the young QB

Pardon UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince if he feels a little overwhelmed Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.

- He is a redshirt freshman who lost two interceptions and a fumble in his college debut last weekend against San Diego State.

- He will be playing his first college road game before a crowd of 100,000 screaming Vol fans and a national TV audience.

- He has played just one game in the past two years - having sat out his senior year of high school ball due to injury and having sat out his first year of college ball due to redshirting.

- He will be targeted by two of the most ferocious pass rushers he'll face all season - Tennessee ends Chris Walker and Gerald Williams.

- He is sure to be confounded by some of the defensive wrinkles thrown at him by Monte Kiffin, one of the premier defensive coordinators in football history.

"We're going to give him a lot of different looks, try to disguise some things to try to mess with his head a little bit," Walker said. "It's important for us upfront to get after him early, so we can shake him a little bit."

All-America safety Eric Berry agrees that the Vols must "shake him" at every opportunity.

"That's very important," he said. "Before he gets in a groove and remembers that he has played football, gets that rhythm going, we need to keep him out of rhythm and make sure he doesn't get open looks and easy completions. We just need to stay on his case the whole game."

The key words, of course, are "the whole game." Tennessee forced UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft to throw four first-half interceptions last fall at Pasadena, then allowed him to regain his composure and guide the Bruins to a come-from-behind overtime win.

"Yeah, we did," Walker recalled somberly. "We came out really fast and started really well but we faltered at the end. We kind of lost focus. That's something we're going to learn from and we're not going to do this year."

Prince beat out Craft in preseason, then tightened his grip on the first-team QB job with a reasonably good showing in Game 1. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 170 yards in the Bruins' 33-14 defeat of San Diego State.

"Prince played extremely well, especially for his first game in about two years after his injury in high school," UT head coach Lane Kiffin said. "It's a much improved team, especially at the quarterback position. It looks very different from last year. We're going to have our hands full."

Kiffin is so impressed with the new-look Bruins that he asks Vol fans to show up in big numbers and full voice this Saturday.

"We really need our fans," the coach said. "We need our stadium to be rocking. We need our fans to understand that we need 'em all game but especially on third downs.

"Here's a quarterback making his first start on the road. Here's a left tackle (Xavier Su'a-Filo) as a true freshman making his first start on the road versus a great right end. Here's a junior college guard (Eddie Williams) making his first start on the road.

"We need our fans a lot, especially on third down. We need our stadium to be rocking to help us win this game."


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