Tuesday Night Practice Report

Tuesday's scrimmage in Neyland Stadium didn't reveal much about the Vols. However, when you look between the lines, it's tough to ignore the subtle improvement of the defense.

Without starters Kevin Burnett and Kevin Simon, the Vols were short-handed. However, a select few rose to the occasion and made a big impact with head coach Phillip Fulmer.

"Parys Haralson is certainly one of the best football players I've ever seen," said Fulmer after the scrimmage. "He'll be on the field an awful lot."

Haralson wreaked havoc all over the place while playing with a broken nose suffered in practice last week. His toughness and enthusiasm has brought a bright spot to the defense. Moreover, Fulmer has obviously taken note of what the sophomore from Mississippi brings to the table.

Turk McBride and Cory Anderson are a couple of other players on defense that made an impression with Fulmer.

"Turk McBride and Cory Anderson have a future," Fulmer said. "They can make it hard on the offense."

Speaking of the offense, there were a few players who took a step in the right direction according to Fulmer.

With a depleted wide receiving unit, Fulmer may have found a true freshman or two that can play immediately.

"Bret Smith is taking up some of the slack," said Fulmer. "I believe Jayson Swain will, too."

At the other skill positions on offense, C.J. Leak continues to look more and more confident as the season moves onward. Leak found Mark Jones on a nifty 35 yard touchdown strike.

Gerald Riggs shaked and baked his way up the middle on a spectacular 30 yard run, his longest of the evening. He left linebackers and defensive backs grabbing air on his way by.

However, on the ensuing play, Riggs jumped before the ball was snapped. This series of events is a perfect microcosm that sums up the talented sophomore's career thus far.

Clearly, Riggs is a talent. He may be the best overall runner on the team. If he hopes to see more of the field, he'll need to cut down on his mental mistakes.

Other than Burnett and Simon, Scott Wells was the only starter on either side of the ball who did not scrimmage. Wells had a personal issue that sidelined him. The Vols did welcome Jabari Greer back into the line-up at cornerback. Greer had been out with a sore ankle.

Sean Young saw some time with the second unit on the offensive line. Young's knee kept him from competing in the last few practices.

Phillip Newman did nothing to hurt his chances as this year's place-kicker. Newman connected on both of his field goals. James Wilhoit, who is pushing Newman for playing time did not participate beacuse of a sore foot.

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