Another terrific tandem

Good safeties work in tandem, and the Tennessee Vols seem to be on a roll in terms of safety tandems these days.

In 2007 they had Eric Berry and Jonathan Hefney. In 2008 they had Berry and Demetrice Morley. Last fall they had Berry and Janzen Jackson. The 2010 tandem appears likely to be Jackson and fellow sophomore Darren Myles.

"We have a lot of chemistry," Myles said following Saturday's Orange & White Game. "That's my homeboy (Both were born in Louisiana, although Myles grew up in Atlanta). We communicate a lot and we understand each other."

Both players provide exactly what Tennessee seeks in a safety - tough tackling, one-on-one cover skills and an aggressive attitude.

"We're both competitive," Myles said. "When I got a pick, he said, 'D. Myles, I'm coming right behind you and get my pick.' If he gets a big hit, I'm trying to get a big hit. It's just that competitive spirit in both of us."

In addition to being competitive, Myles and Jackson are a bit devious. They love to deceive quarterbacks into making poor decisions.

"At the safety position, me and Janzen have a connection where we like to confuse the quarterback (as to) what coverage we're in," Myles said. "You never know because we disguise a lot. I think that kind of messes with the quarterback's head. That's one thing we like to do a lot."

Another thing they like to do a lot is make interceptions. Myles got one just before halftime of the O&W Game. Running stride for stride with receiver Gerald Jones, he lunged in front at the last instant to pick off a pass from Matt Simms.

"I saw the quarterback looking at the receiver the whole time," Myles said. "That was his mistake, so I just made a play on the ball."

Anthony Anderson and Stephaun Raines also picked off passes as the Vol secondary put on quite a show in the annual spring game.

"We came a long way this spring," Myles said. "We had to adjust to new coaches and different schemes. Through all the adversity we had to stick together and we got through it. We motivate each other."

Although Tennessee's players are working under their third defensive coordinator in three years, Myles says adjusting to another new scheme has been no problem.

"It's not really different," he said. "I won't say it's simpler but it's easier to understand. It's better for the defense as a whole."

The defenders allowed just 30 completions in 66 attempts during the Orange & White Game. They also permitted just 75 net yards on 25 rushing attempts, and that's not including yardage lost due to sacks.

"We had a couple busts but I think we did OK," Myles said. "We still have some work to do, though."

Although he essentially is inheriting the role filled the past three seasons by Eric Berry, Myles says he does not feel compelled to replace the departed superstar.

"I don't look at it that way because I think it would put more pressure on me to try to step in to someone's shoes," he said. "I just try to play my game to the best of my ability. I don't really look at it as trying to replace him. I just keep working to be me."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mere hours after meeting with reporters following the Orange & White Game Myles was arrested on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at a Knoxville club.


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