Monday's Practice Report

Tennessee's progress over the last couple of days came to a screeching halt during Monday's afternoon practice. Whether it was the first day of two-a-days, or just the after effects of full contact drills is anybody's guess. Head Coach Phillip Fulmer seemed to believe it was a combination.

"We hit a litttle wall today," said Fulmer. "I don't think we had quite the tempo that we need to have at the end of practice. Mental and physical toughness is just as much a part of execution as anything else. We got some nicks and bruises and stretches. I'm sure they're tired. We'll fight through it. The cream will rise to the top."

One of the bright spots for the Vols during Monday's afternoon work-out was some depth being developed.

"The second team was much better today then they were yesterday," Fulmer said.

Nevertheless, Fulmer is still looking for some stability at three key positions. From the start of spring practice, wide receiver, defensive tackle, and cornerback have all been big question marks.

"Depth at all those spots is a concern. We've got some positions wide open in the defensive line and wide open in the secondary at corner," Fulmer said. "I think we've got an issue at corner we just haven't quite solved yet. Hopefully Jason Allen will come back and solidify that and Antwan (Stewart) or Brandon (Johnson).

As for the receivers, the talent pool is certainly not in doubt. However, everything seems to be up in the air as to who will take the lead. Yet, each of the freshman continue to look impressive when they step onto the football field.

"Nothing is settled at all yet at wide receiver," Fulmer said. "Swain, Meacham, and Bret Smith, and Bill Grimes have all done a good job. I think they're all going to be good players. How fast they catch on to what we're doing and how they do in some of those game situations that are coming up are going to be real crucial."

Other freshman of interest should look to be prepared when the first game rolls around in just under three weeks. Fulmer said he doesn't anticipate redshirting anybody that can help the team.

Aside from that, Jonathan Wade, a sophomore, is one of the youngsters that has the ability to provide depth at either cornerback or receiver. His speed is a huge asset. He may be the fastest player on the team. On the other hand, and speaking of hands, his catching the football is always an adventure.

"He's playing receiver and trying to get some on defense right now," Fulmer said of Wade. "It's kind of the reverse of what Mark Jones is doing right now."

Jones is seeing significant time at wide receiver as one of the Vols potential game breakers. He also expects to see some duty on defense as one of the defensive backs in Tennessee's six man mustang package.

On the offensive line, Fulmer is pleased with the way that Sean Young is progressing in his final year on the team.

"I think Sean has matured and he's playing with confidence," said Fulmer. "He's off to a good start." The team also got word on Monday that offensive lineman Anthony Herrera will be granted a final year of eligibility. Herrera made two B's and an A in summer school. As a partial qualifier, he needed to graduate in four years in order to have a fifth year of eligibility restored.

One final note sees junior wideout Derrick Tinsley without the walking boot he had been wearing since last week.

The Vols resume one-a-days on Tuesday before a situational scrimmage on Wednesday and a big scrimmage on Saturday.

Fulmer hopes his team will approach Tuesday's practice with the same intensity that made week one a resounding success.

"That's what practice is about," said Fulmer. "You go learn and polish. You get better and the best guys play with the ones and the second best guys play with the twos and so on."

We'll see who is playing where on Tuesday afternoon around 5pm.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories