Monday Night Practice Report

The <!--Default For Tennessee is to ignore-->Tennessee football team that was on the field at the conclusion of practice on Monday looked sharp. But what about the ones who weren't? The Vols were dealt another heavy dose of bad luck as the team learned they will be without freshman wide receiver Robert Meachem for up to 12 weeks.

"It's real blow to our football team and to him," said Fulmer. "We'll pick up and go right on." "We're fortunate a group of guys has developed at that position along with a couple of the younger guys, too."

Meacham's knee surgery on Monday morning turned up more of a problem than originally expected. It remains to be seen whether or not Meacham will be redshirted. However, if one thing has been proven this pre-season, when one player goes down, there's another one ready to pick up the slack.

Other players of note missing the late practice on Monday included Kevin Burnett, Jayson Swain, Gerald Riggs, Jabari Greer, and Sean Young. Corey Larkins returned to action after battling back from a bad ankle. C.J. Fayton made a triumphant return, too.

Meacham's absence has allowed a couple of his freshman classmates to step into the fold and show off some of their skills. Bret Smith wasted no time in announcing his presence as he returned to practice late last week.

"He's got some maturity and some athletic ability," Fulmer said of Smith. "I've been consistnetly pleased with Bill Grimes. He's probably developed as quickly as any of the freshman."

As for practice as a whole, Fulmer seemed happy with the way two-a-days wrapped up.

"I was really encouraged by the way the kids came out tonight and went to work," said Fulmer. "I was really pleased how we practiced tonight."

Fulmer has been particularly happy with the play of quarterback Casey Clausen. However, more seems to be made of how Clausen's back-up, C.J. Leak is playing.

"C.J. understands he's made some progress," Fulmer said. "He's made some plays and some throws. He's still got to get things on time. He's still got to get things consistently called in the huddle. We're much better then we were."

Not only was Fulmer a fan of Monday night's work-out, but also of the revamped rules for the way two-a-days are conducted.

"I've liked the schedule," Fulmer said. "We've had more time for teaching and rest."

Tennessee's second full scale scrimmage will commence on Tuesday before classes start on Wednesday. Tuesday's scrimmage in Neyland Stadium will give the coaching staff a chance to use junior-college transfer Brandon Johnson exclusively at cornerback. Jonathan Wade should also see plenty of time in the secondary. Wade is expected to contribute when Tennessee goes to their nickle and/or dime packages.

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