Although Bolden's hustle was impressive, even more so was the quickness the 6-6, 290-pound junior exhibited on the play. He finished the game with 4 solo tackles, more than any other Vol lineman.
"He's just playing at a real high quality now," defensive coordinator John Chavis said this week. "We saw some of that in him early. He's learned how to practice, he's learned how to prepare and he's learned how to play with excitement.
"He's playing at a tremendous level right now. That's a big plus for us and a big plus for him."
Bolden's development into a top-notch tackle is owed in part to Dan Brooks, the defensive line coach who fine-tuned such quality tackles as John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Darwin Walker, Rashad Moore, Jesse Mahelona and Justin Harrell. Perhaps Bolden is destined to join that elite list.
"Dan Brooks has done a tremendous job in terms of getting people ready," Chavis said. "Just look at the people he's coached. Demonte always had the talent, and he's playing up to that level."
These are the same guys who played horribly against Cal in Game 1 and against Florida in Game 3. So what happened to elevate their play so dramatically?
"It was pad leverage and getting off blocks," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "There wasn't a day or period last week that wasn't geared to getting that where it needed to be. That had to happen. You can't be married to blocks and make tackles."