Saturday Practice Report

Saturday's kicking scrimmage didn't reveal much in the fiercely competitive battle to be this year's place kicker for the Vols. As a matter of fact, Saturday was more of an exercise in special teams duties.

"We got to cover alot of situations that could come up in a ballgame," Fulmer said.

The staff look a look at several players who could make an impact on special teams, too. It looks like it's going to be more of the same with Rashad Baker returning punts. However, Fulmer mentioned Mark Jones and James Banks as candidates for the job.

This year's top two kick returners should be Corey Larkins and Jonathan Wade. Although Jabari Greer, Cedric Houston, and Jones could see some time there as well.

Aside from breaking down the special teams activity on Saturday, Fulmer also discussed some of the battles taking place on the field for starting positions. Fulmer likes the competition at offensive tackle, cornerback and place-kicker.

Cody Douglas is trying to hold off Sean Young at right tackle. Jason Allen, Antwan Stewart, and Brandon Johnson have been fighting for the right to start at cornerback. Either James Wilhoit, Phillip Newman, or Ryan Fusco could kick field-goals.

"Sometimes that means you've got two good one's," said Fulmer. On defense, UT is trying to overcome the heavy losses they suffered on the defensive line. After losing four starters, several players will see their first dose of meaningful playing time. However, with the tremendous reputation of defensive coordinator John Chavis, Fulmer is far from worried.

"I have alot of confidence in our defensive staff," Fulmer said. "We take risks when we have to. Last year the defense at the end of the season carried the offense. The main thing is to play as a team and I think we've got that. I think we can be really good in the secondary and the front is going to be okay."

The Vols will take Sunday off and return to the practice field on Monday. Fulmer said he expects to have David Ligon and J.T. Mapu back. Chris Heath should also return after being hospitalized on Friday as a precautionary measure with heat exhaustion.

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