Friday Afternoon Practice Report

Tennessee's football team wrapped up its second full week of practice at Lower Hudson field on Friday. Both the early and late practice were clearly designed by head coach Phillip Fulmer to get the team ready for Saturday's scrimmage.

"Really everything this morning and this afternoon has been geared toward trying to cover situations and different things we're going to try to do in the scrimmage tomorrow," Fulmer said. "There's a lot of goals in the scrimmage but the main thing offensively is just to improve and take another step forward and take care of the football better. We need to have fewer turnovers and penalties and things that stop drives."

There were plenty of drive stoppers held out of Friday's light work-out. Kevin Burnett missed out on another day. Fulmer says that his junior linebacker is still suffering from soreness and swelling in his knee. The prognosis on Burnett is day-to-day.

"Hopefully he'll be back Monday," Fulmer said. Jabari Greer was also missing in action. A bum ankle kept the senior from Jackson out of sight. Antwan Stewart stepped in at cornerback in Greer's absence.

On the offensive side of the football, the Vols welcomed back a couple of key components. Rob Smith, a sophomore guard, returned from a virus and heat exhaustion after sitting out for a couple of days.

Bret Smith looked sharp at receiver, too. Smith, a freshman from Arkansas, had been slowed by sore ankles.

"Bret Smith pushed himself out here," Fulmer said.

Smith may have been out on the field, but injury-wise he's not out of the woods. Fulmer mentioned he's not back to 100 percent.

Tony Brown is still dressed for success. However, his attire looked a little different on Friday. Brown donned the green 'no contact jersey' for the first time this pre-season.

"We're at the point now where we can't afford to lose anybody," said Fulmer. "We'll put Tony and probably a couple others in the green jersey tomorrow just because we're thin all of a sudden. Tony's played a lot of football so we've got to take care of him the best we can."

There are a couple of reason why the team's pickings are slim at wide-out. For starters, freshman sensation Robert Meacham is out with a torn meniscus. Meacham will have surgery on Monday. Fulmer hopes to regain his services for the Marshall game on September sixth. Jayson Swain, another freshman stand-out continues to nurse a pulled groin back to health. Offensive tackle Sean Young suffered an injury similar to Meacham. Yet, Young's prognosis is far better than his teammate's.

"Sean is still being evaluated," Fulmer said. "It looks like he's okay, but we won't know until the swelling goes away."

Cody Douglas is filling in admirably at tackle for Young.

As far as tomorrow goes, Fulmer hopes some major questions are answered. Defensive tackle, cornerback, and wide receiver are the main three holes to fill. However, Fulmer seems focused on developing back-up quarterback C.J. Leak.

Thus far is looks like Leak has made some strides. However, it's also apparent he still has some roads to travel.

"C.J has definitely improved from a management standpoint," Fulmer said. "Occasioanlly he'll let one play affect him, but he's got to get past that."

Saturday's scrimmage is probably the biggest measuring stick the team has faced so far. Plenty more should be known about this group once the final whistle sounds tomorrow night.


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