Scaling Mount Cody

Cody vs. Cody sounds like a divorce proceeding. Instead, it's the key matchup of Saturday's Tennessee-Alabama football game.

The Tide's Terrence Cody is probably the most dominating nose tackle in college football. He's certainly the most imposing nose tackle in college football, packing 354 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame. Hence the nickname: "Mount Cody."

The task of scaling Mount Cody falls to Vol senior Cody Sullins, who is one of the least imposing centers in college football. He's a former walk-on who packs 260 pounds on a 6-foot-1 frame.

Terrence Cody's stat line is modest - 15 stops, 5 tackles for loss and 1 pass deflection through seven games - but his impact is not. Bama ranks No. 4 nationally in scoring defense (11.57 points per game), No. 3 nationally in run defense (63.29 yards per game) and No. 1 nationally in total defense (226.57 yards per game). Mount Cody has played a huge role in that success by clogging the middle and taking away the run between the tackles.

"It's classic 3-4," Vol head coach Lane Kiffin said. "That's why the big guys get paid so much on the next level ... because they're so hard to deal with."

Cody's heft limits his ability to pressure the passer - he has zero sacks and just 2 hurries this fall - but the fact he's immovable against the run is a trade-off Tide head coach Nick Saban is glad to make.

"You don't get a great pass rush out of him," Kiffin said of Cody, "but it's so hard to run in the middle and so hard to get your center to the next level. We're going to have our hands full. We're probably giving up 80 pounds at center between us and them."

Terrence Cody may have a weight advantage but he doesn't have a twin brother helping him ... as Cody Sullins does. Vol teammates believe Cody and left guard Cory Sullins can hold their own against Mount Cody.

"I've had confidence in those guys ever since they've been here ... even when they were walk-ons," Vol defensive end Chris Walker said. "I knew they could play here just by the way they work, the heart and the technique they have."

Senior linebacker Rico McCoy also has confidence that Cody Sullins will meet the challenge posed by Terrence Cody.

"I think Sullins will do fine," McCoy said. "He goes against Dan Williams every day in practice, and Dan's a big guy - maybe an even more disruptive guy than Cody - so I think Sullins will do just fine."

Tennessee's chances of neutralizing Mount Cody could get a lift later this week. Vladimir Richard, who started the first three games at left guard before missing the past three with a strained knee, may be cleared to play again this Saturday.

"We don't know if Vlad will play," Kiffin said, "but he practiced yesterday and moved around. We'll look at that throughout the week to see how healthy he is."

Terrence Cody's effectiveness is enhanced by the fact he's flanked by two king-sized defensive ends - seniors Lorenzo Washington (6-5, 290) and Brandon Deaderick (6-4, 306). Moreoever, sophomore backup Marcell Dareus (6-4, 296) is almost as good as the starters.

"Obviously, when you look at size and playing experience inside, it's not to our advantage in this game," Kiffin said. "All three interior defensive linemen are really good, then they bring a backup in and you're not sure if he's not better than the first-team guy.

"We've got to figure out a way to move the ball inside. We're giving up a lot of size and weight in there."

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