KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Since joining the Vols in 2008, redshirt senior Herman Lathers has certainly faced his fair share of adversity. Now — as he participates in his final preseason camp with the Orange & White — Lathers is one of few that can say he came out on the other side.
“Through it all we stuck together, we leaned on each other and picked each other up when we needed to be,” said Lathers. “It has been a struggle, but if we had to go back and change anything, we wouldn’t change a thing. It’s made us who we are today and we’ve learned to work through adversity to handle a situation like this. It has been a good group so I’m proud to say I came in with them.”
Over the past seven months, Lathers has experienced loads of change within the program. With new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri joining the Vols and implementing a new defensive system, the 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker knew his role would change.
“It [being a leader] became clear in January once the new coaches got here,” Lathers said. “They evaluated me and knew I had a lot of playing experience and injuries, so I took the job to step up and be a leader of this team. I’m going to step up and lead this team where we need to go.”
Lathers returns to action in 2012 after missing all of last season with a fractured ankle. He started 12 games in 2010, compiling 75 total tackles, including 10-tackle performances against Vanderbilt and LSU. As the mike linebacker Lathers knows he’s responsible for the entire defensive unit, and with a new system, he’s shown a selfless attitude throughout camp to help his teammates adjust.
“They’re adjusting well. Some of them like Willie Bohannon have to learn two or three positions so I’m also learning them. I don’t have to, but as the mike linebacker, I took it upon myself to learn the positions and help those guys. Once I know it, I’ll know they know it and I’m able to help them and they can help me so it works out for all of us.”