Dynamic Freshmen Duo of Malik Foreman and Cameron Sutton
“Malik and Cameron are going to play,” defensive coordinator John Jancek said. “That’s the reality of it. I’m glad they’re here, they’re going to take their lumps early, but the thing that I like about them is, and Cam especially has a really good demeanor. He doesn’t get too frustrated, too up or too low, so I think he has the right demeanor if you’re going to play a freshman. Because they’re going to take some lumps. He’s got the ability to snap-and-clear and come back.”
When asked about the pair, defensive back coach Willie Martinez said, “They are a work in progress. We still have a long way to go. They are getting better of understanding our defense but it is nowhere near where it needs to be as far as fundamentals and technique. They are just starting to learn, the guys that we had from spring, they understood the tempo and for them it is the first time around. They are still adjusting to that speed.”
The Vols still need more help in their rebuilt secondary. That’s why UT’s coaches moved former receiver Vincent Dallas to the defensive backfield.
“We are just in the process right now of looking at some guys and trying to get our best available on the field so we are taking a look at Vincent. We love Vincent. We love Vincent as a staff. He is an unselfish player and has a great attitude and did a good job.
“The great thing about it is, he has played defensive back before. So he’s got awareness and anytime you play the opposite position, in this case it is the wide receiver and defensive back, there are a lot of similarities and lingo that he hears so he knows how to attack it. It is very good. He feels comfortable with it.”
Redshirt junior defensive back Ja’Ron Toney also figures to garner playing time. The junior from Alcoa (Tenn.) High has played in 16 games during his time as a Vol.
“Experience,” Martinez said when asked what he liked about Toney. “He played some last year. It is showing from the spring too…He is a really good special teams player too. Understanding leverage, understanding his assignment is crucial because that is a position that you have to know a lot. You have to be involved in the checks. It gives us a tremendous amount of experience that some of the other guys don’t have.”
“He is one of the guys that is wanted on special teams by all of the coaches. I see that [he has a chip on his shoulder from being a walk-on]. But I see his personality. He is a kid that practices really hard, has a good attitude and is really coachable and you can’t ask mush more than that.”
Former Maryland signee Michael Williams has also turned some heads. The track standout is thought to be the fastest defensive back at Tennessee.
“Mike is probably the most-improved DB we’ve got,” Jancek said. “He’s just got to keep getting better and better. I’m pleased with Mike’s progress.”
And i the dynamic freshmen Duo of Malik Foreman and Cam Sutton continue to improve, Jacek may just end up being pleased with the progress of his entire unit.