Mapu hurt ... but not badly

Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer had to be holding his breath when defensive tackle J.T. Mapu lay sprawled on the Shield-Watkins Field following the first play of Saturday's full-scale scrimmage. Although Mapu did not return to action, the preliminary diagnosis is that he sustained only a knee sprain.

''It looks like he'll be a week or so,'' Fulmer said. ''Hopefully, we'll have him back for the first ball game (Aug. 30 vs. Fresno State).''

That may have been the best news Fulmer got all day because the last thing UT needs is to lose another defensive tackle. The Vols lost last year's starters -- Rashad Moore and Aubrayo Franklin -- to the NFL draft. They also 2002 backup Ed Kendrick (to graduation), Andre Taylor (to transfer), LaRon Harris (to academics) and Justin Harrell (to a broken ankle).

With Mapu sidelined, UT's defensive tackle corps now consists of Mondre Dickerson, Greg Jones, juco transfer Zarnell Fitch, walk-on Matt McGlothlin and career backup Terriea Smalls. Cory Anderson has seen some action at tackle but seems better suited to end.

Mapu, who was switched from end to tackle shortly after Harrell was hurt, was making a serious bid to earn a starting job at his new position before the injury.


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