* Spring 2004 marked several position changes for several Alabama football players. Some of the more significant changes were Taylor Britt from defensive tackle to offensive guard; Evan Mathis from right tackle to left guard, Charlie Peprah from cornerback to strong safety and Kyle Tatum from defensive tackle to offensive tackle.
* Sophomore Ramzee Robinson was beneficiary of one position change, when Peprah moved to safety, Robinson took over the starting left cornerback slot.
* After playing 13 games the previous two seasons, the Alabama schedule reverts back to a traditional 11-game schedule in 2004.
* Junior offensive guard Von Ewing (6-5, 304) had a star part in Theatre Tuscaloosa's production of "To Kill a Mockingbird". He played to rave reviews. Ewing, obviously, is a Theatre major at the Capstone.
* A number of Tide players missed all or major parts of spring practice while rehabilitating injuries. Wide receiver Antonio Carter (leg) and offensive tackle Wesley Britt (leg) missed all of spring practice. Defensive tackle Dominic Lee (leg), Travis West (hernia) and Greg McLain (elbow) missed parts of spring workouts. All are expected to be at full speed by fall practice.
* Quarterbacks Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington, while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, did not participate in contact drills during the spring. Both should be a full strength for fall camp.
* Arkansas defensive line coach Tracy Rocker received some good news during spring practice. The former Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner from Auburn is a member of the 2004 class of inductees for the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition, former Razorback linebacker Wayne "Thumper" Harris was selected for enshrinement. Arkansas now boasts 15 members (head coach, assistant coach or player) of the College Football Hall of Fame.
* Senior quarterback Matt Jones sat out the first week of spring practice after completing a season with the Razorback basketball squad. Jones rejoined the Razorback football team in time for 11 of the Hogs' 15 allotted spring practices. Jones is the only returning offensive starter for the Razorbacks.
* With the Hogs' victory over Missouri in the 2003 Mainstay Independence Bowl, Arkansas secured its second-consecutive nine-win season. The Razorbacks finished 9-4 in 2003 after posting a 9-5 mark in 2002. It marks the fifth time in school history that Arkansas has posted at least two-consecutive seasons of nine wins. The Razorbacks accomplished the feat for the first time in 1964-65. The Hogs posted three-consecutive nine-win seasons from 1968-70 and from 1977-79. The school record for consecutive nine-win campaigns is five. Ken Hatfield led the Hogs to nine wins in five-consecutive seasons from 1985-89.
* The 2004 season will mark the 40th and 50th-anniversary of two of the most significant seasons in Razorback football history.
Arkansas won its only national championship in school history in 1964 when Frank Broyles led the Razorbacks to a perfect 11-0 season. The Hogs defeated Nebraska 10-7 in the Cotton Bowl to win the national title and the Grantland Rice Trophy. In the mist of that historic run, the Razorback defense posted a school-record five-consecutive shutouts.
A decade earlier in 1954, Bowden Wyatt guided Arkansas to an 8-3 record and a Southwest Conference Championship. The "25 Little Pigs," as they were affectionately named, upset Johnny Vaught's nationally ranked and heavily favored Ole Miss Rebels 6-0 in Little Rock. The only touchdown of the contest came in arguably the most famous single play (The Powder River Play) in Razorback football history.
* When Arkansas hit the practice field this spring, it was missing a few key components of its 2004 roster. Seven Razorbacks missed all or portions of spring practice while rehabilitating injuries.
Senior split end Steven Harris and senior defensive tackle Arrion Dixon missed all of the Razorbacks' spring work while recovering from left shoulder surgeries. In addition, junior wide receiver Caleb Ceaser sat out while nursing a right knee injury.
Sophomore defensive tackle Chase Pressley (left foot), junior nose guard Reggie Banks (right knee) and redshirt freshman Landon Leach (right shoulder) saw limited action in spring practice. Sophomore David Thompson did not participate in contact drills while recovering from a right knee (ACL) injury suffered early last fall.
* Opposing offensive coordinators are most likely sorry that Jeb Huckeba made the move from linebacker to defensive end last season. Huckeba posted a solid junior campaign that included 70 tackles including 14 tackles for loss (-33). His tackle total was fourth on the squad and the Searcy, Ark., native was second only to Caleb Miller (15) in stops behind the line of scrimmage. He was tied for sixth in the SEC with an average of 1.08 tackles-per-loss per contest. Huckeba was back at it in the spring leading the Razorbacks with four tackles for loss (-18) in three major scrimmages.
A series of spring football awards were originated in 1977 to recognize outstanding effort and performances during spring training. They were revised in 1981 and again in 2000 to recognize the outstanding performance by position. Following are the awards for 2004 spring drills as voted on by the Auburn coaching staff.
Eddie Welch Attitude & Effort Award
Bret Eddins (Defense)
Tre Smith (Offense)
Pat Dye Leadership Award
Danny Lindsey (Offense)
Travis Williams (Defense)
Most Improved Offensive Skill Player
Courtney Taylor, WR
Most Improved Offensive Lineman
Most Improved Defensive Lineman
Most Improved LB/Defensive Back
Kevin Sears, LB
Off-Season Conditioning Award
Three spring awards honoring excellence in the classroom were instituted in 1997. Following is a listing of those award winners for 2004:
Top Freshman GPA - Cole Bennett, TE
Most Improved GPA - Silas Daniels, WR
Overall Top GPA - Ben Obomanu, WR
Spring Practice Leaders
Auburn participated in three full scrimmages and three half scrimmages this spring. The following are the leaders in several different statistical categories:
Highest Average Per Rush: 6.1 avg., Tre Smith
Most Rushing Yards: 401 yards, Tre Smith
Most Rushing Yards in a Scrimmage: 123 yards, Kenny Irons
Longest Run: 68-yards, Carnell Williams
Highest Completion Percentage: .643, Brandon Cox
Most Passing Yards: 646 yards, Brandon Cox
Most Passing Yards in a Scrimmage: 206 yards, Brandon Cox
Most Catches: 11, Devin Aromashodu, Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor
Most Receiving Yards: 233, Devin Aromashodu and Courtney Taylor
Highest Average Per Catch: Maurice Anderson (4 catches/106 yards)
Most Receptions in a Scrimmage: 4; Ben Obomanu; Carl Stewart; Courtney Taylor
The following players won the 2004 A-Day Awards:
Mark Dorminey Defensive MVP Award: DE Stanley McClover
Lionel James Offensive MVP Award: QB Brandon Cox
Lewis Colbert Specialty MVP Award: P Kody Bliss
McClover collected five tackles including a sack in the game while Cox finished the game 12-of-13 for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
Several players played different positions in the spring than where they lined up last season. On offense, Danny Lindsey moved from center to guard. Lindsey started all 13 games at center in 2003, but started 11 games at guard in 2002. Ben Grubbs moved from tight end to guard and is listed as the first-team left guard after spring practice.
On defense, Jay Ratliff moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. A senior from Valdosta, Ga., Ratliff played in 21 games including nine starts in his career at defensive end.
Karibi Dede moved from safety to linebacker after playing in all 13 games in the secondary last season.
In the only change from defense to offense, Kyle Derozan moved from defensive end to tight end.
Offense Has Strong Spring
After starting slowly in the first scrimmage of the spring, Auburn's offense directed by coordinator Al Borges, produced strong numbers in the last two full scrimmages. In the March 13 scrimmage, Auburn's offense scored on three of its first four possessions and finished the scrimmage with 10 touchdowns, including touchdowns on all four possessions during goal line work. In the A-Day game, Auburn's offense totaled 574 yards and average 6.4 yards per play.
QBs Respond in New Offense
Senior quarterback Jason Campbell finished the spring by completing 55.7 percent of his passes playing solely against the first-team defense. He threw for 567 yards and averaged 11.6 yards per completion.
Brandon Cox, a redshirt freshman, solidified his spot as the number two quarterback after completing 64.3 percent of his passes in the spring scrimmages. In his last two outings, he completed all but two passes, finishing 20-for-22 for 309 yards. He threw six touchdown passes in the six scrimmages.
* The 2004 Spring Awards were handed out at often. They went as follows:
* Most Improved Lifter: Travis Harris
* Iron Gator Award (Voted by Team): Travis Harris
* Gator Performance Award: Chris Leak
* Lifter of the Year: Mo Mitchell, 1,360 pounds - Bench, Squat and Power Clean
* Jon McBeth Award: Daryl Dixon
* Best Effort - Offense: Lance Butler
* Best Effort - Defense: Channing Crowder
* Most Improved - Offense: Ronald Dowdy
* Most Improved - Defense: Jarvis Herring
* Most Improved Walk-On(s): DeJuan Lawrence, Zephrine Augustine
* Greg See Most Courageous Award: Kenny Parker
* Bob Bryan Student-Athlete Award: Mike Degory
* President's Award: Steve Rissler
* Mike Degory has been selected as one of 36 preseason candidates for the Dave Rimington Trophy, presented annually to college football's premier center. Degory has started all 26 games of his career, the longest active streak on the team. Degory earned a spot on the Second-Team All-SEC (Coaches') and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. A versatile and skilled lineman, Degory was one of only two Gators on the offensive line who started every game at the same position, lining up at center in every contest. He was named Most Physical Lineman three times and Offensive Lineman of the Week three times during the 2003 season.
* Florida returns 43 letter winners and eight starters from a squad that won a share of the Southeastern Conference East Division for the eighth time in school history last season. The offense features 21 letter winners (up from 17 a season ago) and the defense should have 18 returning (UF had 13 come back in for the 2003 season). An additional four letter winners return to the special teams.
* The Gators will return five starters on offense and lose six, while the defense will return two and lose nine although Mo Mitchell will be switching from defensive tackle to offensive guard. UF will only lose two threeyear starters (OL Shannon Snell and OL Max Starks) and six two-year starters (FS Daryl Dixon, WR Kelvin Kight, WR Carlos Perez, CB Keiwan Ratliff, SS Guss Scott and TE Ben Troupe) from the 2003 squad.
* Entering the 2004 season, UF's returning leaders in each of the following departments have better totals than did those who were department leaders heading into last season: passing, rushing, scoring, punting, kicking, tackles, tackles for loss and sacks.
* Overall, the Gators will return 19 players who made at least one start during the 2003 season, which matches the same total from a year ago. They also will lose 17 players who started at least one game.
* Georgia had three true freshmen enroll in classes in January--QB's Blake Barnes and A.J. Bryant and TB Danny Ware. All three participated in spring drills. Bryant was moved to WR mid-way through the spring and was named the Biggest Offensive Surprise of the Spring. Barnes and Ware were also impressive with Ware being the leading rusher in the annual spring G-Day game.
* At the end of last season, Georgia was playing with only nine scholarship seniors. What many did not realize was that the Bulldogs only had ten scholarship juniors, two of whom have left to enter the 2004 NFL draft.
* Three years after sustaining a crippling knee injury in spring practice, former Parade Magazine All-America TB Albert Hollis participated in full contact the final week of spring drills, including his first carry in the annual spring G-Day game--a six yard run that resulted in a standing ovation.
* Senior DE David Pollack could become only the second Georgia player in history to be named a first team All-American three consecutive years (the other being Herschel Walker).
* Senior QB David Greene is on track to set several school records--he's currently 2,133 yards short of Eric Zeier's career passing mark of 11,153 yards; 164 completions short of Zeier's 838 career mark; 15 TD passes shy of Zeier's 67 school record; and 2,012 yards shy of Zeier's career total offense record of 10,841 yards.
* Greene is also on track to become Georgia's all-time winningest starting QB. He currently has 32 victories -- four short of the 36 recorded by four-year starter John Rauch (1945-48).
* Since Richt came to UGA in 2001, the Bulldog teams are 12-1 when playing in an opponent's home stadium.
* The UK offensive line, considered to be the team's biggest question mark going into spring practice, appeared to make good progress. Entering the spring, the O-Line had only one returning starter, left guard Jason Rollins. Sophomores Michael Aitcheson (left tackle) and Hayden Lane (right tackle), along with Navy transfer Matt McCutchan (center) came along well in the spring. The line got a boost midway through the drills when another returning starter, Matt Huff, returned from injury. Huff seems to have made a new home at right guard after starting the last couple of seasons at left tackle. "We have a fairly solid unit right now in our first-string line and we have some guys pushing in the backup positions," Coach Rich Brooks said.
* UK also should be stronger at tight end in 2004. Returning starter Jeremiah Drobney looked more authoritative as a blocker in the spring after playing most of 2003 with a broken hand. Redshirt freshman Eric Scott showed a nice pass-catching ability and junior-college transfers Jamir Davis and Kurt Jackson also will figure in the mix, giving the Wildcats good depth at the position.
* Senior Shane Boyd quickly established himself as the successor to departed starter Jared Lorenzen, the leading passer in Kentucky history. Boyd and the backup, redshirt freshman Andre' Woodson, each looked sharper as the spring progressed. The agile Boyd is a threat with his feet as well as his arm.
* Kentucky returns all of its running backs for 2004. Junior tailback Arliss Beach, the team's leading rusher a year ago, had a good off-season and showed his improved strength with a greater ability to break tackles.
* UK's running backs got a boost during the spring with the move of Dominic Lewis from tight end to tailback. Lewis, a 6-3, 245-pound redshirt freshman, showed ability to be a power runner.
* Sophomore Keenan Burton appears to be the heir apparent to the pass-catching and kick-returning roles filled by departed All-American Derek Abney. Burton made numerous big plays in the spring. In the Blue/White Game, he returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and he later added a spectacular 44-yard diving catch to set up another TD. "Keenan has made tremendous strides and you can't forget that this is the spring of his freshman year," Brooks said. "He has big-play capabilities and runs great routes."
* Senior Ellery Moore, who shared the nose tackle position with SEC All-Freshman performer Lamar Mills last season, moved to defensive end and played well during the spring. Moore finished spring drills bracketed with Trey Mielsch as the starter at one end in UK's 3-4 alignment. With Mills, Moore, Mielsch, and All-SEC end Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns returning, the Wildcats could have a formidable D-Line in the coming season.
* Perhaps the best position change of the spring was the move of sophomore Karl Booker from wide receiver to cornerback. The talented Booker made an immediate impression at his new position, picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown in one practice, then nabbing another pickoff in a scrimmage. He will be a strong contender for playing time.
* Although all four starters are back from last season, the UK secondary has some question marks coming out of the spring. Cornerback Bo Smith continued to have problems with a nagging groin injury and corners Earven Flowers and Andre' Jones missed most or all of the spring while dealing with academic issues. Strong safety Mike Williams, a potential All-SEC performer, missed the contact portions of the spring while recovering from a shoulder injury. He is expected to be full-go in August.
* UK should have good depth in the kicking game. At punter, returning starter Anthony Thornton missed most of the spring with a calf injury and Sevin Sucurovich punted well in his place. Placekickers Taylor Begley and Clint Ruth also excelled in the spring; Begley is a two-year starter at field goals and extra points and Ruth is a three-year regular on kickoffs.
* LSU concluded its spring drills on April 24 with the White beating the Purple, 22-3, in the annual spring game.
* Sophomore wide receiver Dwayne Bowe caught 2 TD passes for the White squad, a 30-yarder from quarterback Marcus Randall and a 20-yarder from running back Alley Broussard on a halfback pass. Bowe finished with 5 catches for 93 yards.
* Quarterback Marcus Randall completed 9 of 23 passes in the spring game for 131 yard and a touchdown. LSU's freshman quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who split time with both the White and Purple teams during the spring game, combined to connect on 9 of 21 passes for 128 yards. Matt Flynn, playing for the Purple squad, was 12 of 28 for 112 yards and 1 interception.
* LSU used the spring session to move some players around to different positions, which included All-America cornerback Corey Webster seeing time on offense as a wide receiver. Webster, who played his first year at LSU as a wideout, caught 2 passes for 50 yards, including a 41-yard reception, in the spring game. He also added 2 tackles for the White squad on defense.
* Other moves for the Tigers during the spring had junior defensive tackle Brandon Washington moving to the offensive line and senior defensive back Ronnie Prude seeing time as a wide receiver on offense.
* Another experiment during the spring for the Tigers had junior running back Joseph Addai split time between the backfield and the receiver position. Addai, considered the best receiver among LSU's stable of running backs, responded with 3 catches for 66 yards in the spring game.
* Joe Lawrence, a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization for several years, joined the Tigers this spring as a defensive back. Lawrence, who is the oldest of all LSU players at 27, played 55 in the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays in 2002, hitting .180 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI.
* Among the new coaches to join the Tigers for the first time this spring were Bobby Williams (wide receivers), Kirby Smart (defensive backs), and LeRoy Ryals (tight ends). Mike Collins (linebackers) joined the Tigers on a full-time basis in February after spending the 2003 as an intern with the program.
* LSU's list of spring awards includes: Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award - David Jones, Marcus Randall, Corey Webster, Joseph Addai, Steve Mares, Peter Dyakowksi; Eric Andolsek Leadership Award - Ben Wilkerson, Justin Vincent; Mike Miley Leadership Award -Marcus Spears, Cameron Vaughn; Toby Caston Performance Award -Kyle Williams, Travis Daniels; Ralph Norwood Performance Award - Andrew Whitworth, Alley Broussard.
* Senior defensive back Eric Oliver, who has led Ole Miss in tackles the last two years, received the Chucky Mullins Courage Award and will wear the late Mullins' No. 38 during the 2004 season.
* Permanent team captains for the 2004 season will be offensive guard Doug Buckles, wide receiver Kerry Johnson, offensive guard Marcus Johnson, defensive back Eric Oliver, and linebacker Rob Robertson.
* Offensive lineman Marcus Johnson received the 2004 J. Richard Price Courage and Compassion Award, which goes to a rising senior lineman who, in the opinion of his coaches, has demonstrated extraordinary courage and unusual compassion in their dedication to the team and to Ole Miss.
* Junior quarterback Micheal Spurlock was named the Most Improved Offensive Player of spring drills, while defensive lineman Michael Bozeman received the Most Improved Defensive Player award.
* The Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame presented 2003 Scholar-Athlete Awards to defensive lineman Viciente DeLoach, offensive lineman Darryl Harris, quarterback Robert Lane, defensive back Trumaine McBride, and linebacker Patrick Willis.
* One of the biggest position switches during spring drills was the shifting of starting left tackle Tre' Stallings to right tackle.
* Junior Micheal Spurlock, as expected, nailed down the No. 1 quarterback spot as the heir apparent to All-America Eli Manning, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft, being selected by the San Diego Chargers and then being traded to the New York Giants.
* Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe had two new coaches on his staff this spring. Defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Jay Hopson, a former player at Ole Miss, joined Cutcliffe's staff from Southern Mississippi and running backs coach Arlington Nunn came from Troy State.
* With the addition of Jay Hopson as the secondary coach, last year's defensive backs coach Chuck Driesbach, who also serves as defensive coordinator, moved back to coaching linebackers.
* There will not be a special teams coordinator on the Ole Miss staff this fall. Head Coach David Cutcliffe has divided the duties among his entire staff.
* The AstroPlay surface at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium/ Hollingsworth Field, which was installed in the summer of 2003, came in handy during 2004 spring drills. Although the Oxford area received an unusual amount of rain, the Rebels did not have to alter their spring schedule. * Construction of the new indoor practice facility, located just south of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, is expected to be completed by this fall.
* Sophomore QB Omarr Conner, who started the spring #1 on the depth chart, solidified that spot with his spring performance. He led all Bulldogs, completing 18-of-37 passes for 294 yards and three TDs in three spring scrimmages.
* Senior McKinley Scott also had a solid spring and appears to have secured one of MSU's wide out positions. He led all receivers this spring with five catches for 135 yards and two scores.
* Redshirt freshman Joey Sanders moved into the top spot at the flanker position following spring work.
* Four MSU halfbacks - junior Jerious Norwood, senior Fred Reid, and redshirt freshmen Jason Jude and Carlton Rice - all saw plenty of playing time this spring, each carrying the ball over 20 times each. Norwood is MSU's leading returning rusher from a year ago. Reid led spring action with 24 carries for 85 yards and four touchdowns.
* NT Ronald Fields was solid in spring action, as he returns for his senior season in 2004. He notched 10 takedowns this spring, including three sacks for 20 yards.
* SLB Clarence McDougal looked impressive in his play this spring, totalling 12 tackles, including five for 17 yards in losses.
* Sophomore Adrian Griffin impressed Bulldog coaches enough to earn the top spot at the left corner position exiting spring drills. Griffin had six tackles and an interception he returned 38 yards for a score.
* Sophomore Deljuan Robinson has six stops for MSU this spring, four of which were sacks for -27 yards. Robinson also had three pass breakups to led the team in the three scrimmages.
* Sophomore SS Jeramie Johnson was fourth on the team in total stops this spring with 13. He also picked off one pass.
* Sophomore Brad Horton, who ended the spring first on the depth chart at the WLB position, was second on the team with 14 stops.
* Redshirt freshman Avery Hannibal led all MSU tacklers this spring with 15, eight of which were for 29 yards in losses (including three sacks for 15 yards). He is currently listed second at middle linebacker.
* Defensive end Moe Thompson and quarterback Dondrial Pinkins received the Joe Morrison Memorial Awards prior to the Spring Game on April 17. The awards, named in honor of former Gamecock head coach Joe Morrison, go to the defensive and offensive MVP of the spring.
* The Spring Game ended in a 13-13 tie between Team Carolina (#1 offense and #2 defense) and Team Gamecocks (#1 defense and #2 offense). Some players, such as quarterback Syvelle Newton, played on both teams. Newton provided many of the game's highlights, as the true sophomore completed 14-27-2 for 277 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Newton also ran for 71 yards on 11 carries. Newton, who was recruited as a quarterback last year, played wide receiver for the Gamecocks in 2003, catching 12 passes for 277 yards. He has worked strictly at quarterback this spring and heads into the fall as a candidate for serious playing time at that position this season.
* The Gamecocks welcomed the addition of five new assistant coaches to their staff this spring. First-year assistants include Rick Minter (defensive coordinator), Ron Cooper (defensive backs), Steve Shankweiler (offensive line), Rick Stockstill (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator), and David Reaves (defensive backs assistant).
* Gamecock center John Strickland is on the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, presented to the nation's top center. Strickland is a senior from Bainbridge, Ga.
* This spring practice may have been the most physical and hard-hitting USC has had during Lou Holtz's tenure. In fact, the head coach even took a hard hit of his own. Midway through spring camp, tailback Cory Boyd collided with Coach Holtz during practice, knocking the coach to the ground. Holtz gathered himself, jumped up and quickly asked -- "Cory, are you okay?" Come to find out, the collision resulted in Holtz suffering a hairline fracture in his left fibula, which fortunately is a non-weight bearing bone. Holtz walked with a limp throughout the remainder of the spring workouts, but did not miss one practice. Surgery was not required, nor was the leg ever put in a cast. Boyd, a sophomore from Orange, N.J., said he felt "terrible" about the accident, but joked that "some of the players wanted to see if I could do it again so maybe we wouldn't have to practice."
* A few position changes of note during the spring: Senior Rodriques Wilson moved from safety to linebacker; junior Andre Hemphill moved from wide receiver to safety; junior Fran Person moved from tight end to center; and as mentioned above, sophomore Syvelle Newton, who played wide receiver in 2003, moved back to quarterback.
* Construction began in late March on a new weight room and recruiting area for the Gamecock football team. The 30,000 square foot addition to the south end zone, will cost approximately $3.2 million and should be completed by this October.
* In mid-February, a group of approximately 30 Gamecock football players accompanied head coach Lou Holtz to the homeless shelter in Columbia, which was renamed the Beth and Lou Holtz Winter Homeless Shelter this past December. The players helped feed supper to the more than 200 individuals who were staying at the shelter that particular night. The Holtzes have been generous contributors to the homeless shelter since they arrived in Columbia more than five years ago.
* Tennessee maintains its standing as the winningest team in the SEC over the last 10 years in terms of victories and percentage. The Vols are 99-26 during that span for a percentage of .792, ranking them fourth nationally in both percentage and victories. The Volunteers also have compiled a 66-17 record in conference games during this period, winning three Eastern Division titles, two overall league crowns and the 1998 national championship. Five different SEC teams have won the championship since 1998: Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Georgia.
* Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer takes over the reins this year as dean of Southeastern Conference coaches. The Vols' mentor began his UT tenure during the 1992 season and continues to produce championship caliber football in the nation's most outstanding conference. The Volunteers under their native son have 113 triumphs against only 28 defeats for a winning percentage of .801. No active Division I-A coach with at least a decade in the business has such a lofty victory rate.
* Tennessee has led the SEC in football attendance for 30 straight years while ranking in the top three in NCAA attendance for 28 straight years. The Vols finished 2003 ranked third with an average of 105,038.
* The Volunteers have won at least eight games for 15 straight seasons, joining Michigan (19) and Florida State (17) as the three teams with such a streak. UT also has managed to post a winning conference mark each year during that span.
* Tennessee made a number of position changes during spring practice that likely are permanent. Senior Jason Respert moved from guard to center and sophomore Cory Anderson moved from defensive end to fullback. Jonathan Wade, coming off an injury redshirt season, likely has found a permanent home at cornerback after playing both in the defensive secondary and at wide receiver thus far during his collegiate career.
* Phillip Fulmer has guided UT to a bowl game all 12 years of his tenure. He and former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne are the only coaches to lead a team to a bowl game in their first 12 years of coaching. Osborne led the Huskers to a bowl game for 25 consecutive years before retiring after the 1998 Orange Bowl. Under Fulmer, the Vols have played in 15 postseason games. They are 2-1 in the SEC Championship Game and 6-6 in bowl contests.
* A pair of sophomores vying for playing time at key positions earned the most improved player awards for Tennessee's 2004 spring practice. Turk McBride, a 6-4, 260-pound defensive end from Camden, N.J., was named winner of the Andy Spiva Award as most improved defensive performer. Rob Smith, a 6-4, 308-pound offensive guard from Fort Thomas, Ky., earned the Harvey Robinson Award for most improved offensive player. Smith sat out last season as a redshirt but played in nine games during his true freshman