Position changes can be hard for a college football player, but not necessarily for UT junior Vincent Dallas, who has accepted that positions change while keeping only his team in mind.
With injuries to cornerbacks Riyahd Jones and Michael Williams coupled with an overall lack of depth in the defensive backfield, Dallas once again finds himself at cornerback after starting fall camp as a wide receiver.
"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," said Willie Martinez, defensive backs coach. "We love Vincent. We love Vincent as a staff. He is an unselfish player and has a great attitude and did a good job."
In his third season with the Vols, Dallas has yet to find a permanent home on the field.
His freshman season was spent as a reserve wide receiver where he recorded three catches for 37 yards.
As sophomore year approached, former Vols head coach Derek Dooley decided to switch Dallas to defensive back for all of the 2012 fall camp. But prior to the start of the season, Dallas found himself on the opposite side of the ball as a wide receiver. He played all 12 games, finishing with nine catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.
"I mean basically he (Coach Jones) just asked me what I thought about it," Dallas said. "I just told him that I am a team player and whatever he needs me to do I am going to do it."
Versatility is a trait that already has Martinez excited to work with the Ellenwood, Ga. native.
"The great thing about it is, he has played defensive back before," Martinez said. "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."
One of the questions left for the Vols offense is at wide receiver. Dallas had the second-most receptions of any returning player at the position.
"Those are personnel decisions that Coach Jones makes and you know, for our situation at the corner right now, I think Coach Jones is just experimenting a little and putting the best players on the field," said wide receivers coach Zach Azzani.
The change in position not only affects Dallas, but has also caused some momentary hiccups for quarterback Justin Worley.
"It's funny after going through ten practices with him on your side, and then him out there tackling your receivers so he has done a good job transitioning," said junior quarterback Justin Worley. "I haven't heard a word out of him complaining. I think he just wants a chance to play wherever he can and wherever he can help the team out is what he wants to do."
Other position changes
Jalen Reeves-Maybin entered fall camp listed as a safety. He is not switching sides of the ball, but the freshman from Clarksville, Tenn. has been moved to linebacker where he should bolster depth as Curt Maggitt continues his return from knee surgery.