Vols tune up for scrimmage-Friday morning practice

Media and invited guests who attend Tennessee's full-scale scrimmage Saturday at Neyland Stadium will be looking for a ''gamer'' ... a guy who plays at a higher level in game-type situations than he does in practice.

But Phillip Fulmer won't.

''Occasionally you'll have a guy that's a Saturday player but those guys usually have to learn to practice better,'' the head man said following Friday's morning workout. ''Guys like Cedric Houston who work hard every day -- all of those backs, really -- are usually the guys who play for you on Saturday.

''The Rashad Bakers and Gibril Wilsons are great workers who have great Saturdays. Parys Haralson has become one of those guys.

''I don't put much stock in those guys who just pop out of the woodwork.''

So, what will the coach be looking for in the scrimmage?

''The easy answer there is improvement. We want to build on what we've done on the two previous scrimmages,'' Fulmer said, referring to a 30-play situational scrimmage on Tuesday and a 73-play situational scrimmage on Wednesday. ''We've had two physical scrimmages, and both sides of the ball had their moments.

''The kicking game is a big part of tomorrow's scrimmage,'' he added. ''We'll give guys a chance to be on different kicking teams, and that'll be crucial. We'll work on the two-minute drill and some different plays for the offense and defense that are problem plays. We'll have those scripted in to make sure we can cover as many of those as we can.''

Tennessee's most glaring weakness as the season opener nears is defensive tackle, where an ankle injury to Justin Harrell briefly left UT with only two scholarship tackles -- Mondre Dickerson and Greg Jones. Walk-on Matt McGlothlin has been a pleasant surprise, however, and so has newly converted defensive end J.T. Mapu.

''J.T.'s doing everything he can do to help us in there,'' Fulmer said. ''J.T. has a great motor and Matt has a great motor. We need five or six guys in there that can help us. Moving J.T. in there gave us a guy kind of like what happened at receiver with Mark Jones ... an effort guy that sets a good tempo.''

PRACTICE NOTES: Haralson, who broke his nose on Tuesday, has been outfitted with a protective covering for the bridge of his nose and participated in Friday's morning session. He is doubtful for Saturday's scrimmage, however, because of the heavy contact involved.... Quarterback/receiver James Banks got some work as a punt return man as the Vol staff continues to seek ways to get the talented young athlete on the field.... Chris Hannon, C.J. Fayton and Mark Jones made nice catches in passing drills but running backs Troy Fleming and Jabari Davis dropped catchable balls coming out of the backfield.... No. 3 QB C.J. Leak continued his improved preseason work by zipping a 20-yard strike to Banks.... Receiver/DB Jonathan Wade dropped a pass that bounced off the hands of Jomo Fagan, embellishing both players' reputations for iron hands.... Juco transfer Brandon Johnson made a dandy play to break up a pass Leak intended for Wade.


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