Tuesday Practice Report

The comings and goings of the 2003 pre-season continued on Tuesday afternoon. The good news is that <!--Default For Tennessee is to ignore-->Tennessee learned they will have the services of freshman defensive tackle Tony McDaniel for the upcoming year.

Freshman receivers Jayson Swain and Bret Smith should also be ready to play when Saturday rolls around.

The bad news is that the team will be without J.T. Mapu for an undisclosed amount of time due to an injury and a family emergency that kept him off the field on Tuesday.

Offensive guard Heath Benedict was not with the team either during the afternoon work-out. Benedict has given up football completely.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer is obviously pleased that the NCAA ruled in favor of McDaniel's appeal. McDaniel was just .004 of a point of being a full qualifier after he graduated high school. However, it looks like his hard work since then has paid off.

"Tony did a really good job in summer school so I think that helped his cause," said Fulmer. "I think the NCAA made a good decision. Now he needs to take advantage of it."

Having McDaniel available to play helps the Vols in a number of ways. Most importantly it gives the defensive front an extra body to play with.

"It's good for us because we need the depth at defensive tackle," said Fulmer.

Morevoer, it looks like the sky's the limit for this 6-foot-7-inch 290 pound behemoth.

"If he continues to improve he could push for a starting position," Fulmer said. "Once he grows into his body I think he can be a real special player."

Tennessee should also know by the end of the week if sophomore defensive tackle LaRon Harris will be able this year. The results of Harris's appeal are expected to be announced on Thursday.

On the special teams front, Tennessee has their hands full on both sides of the ball. Fulmer is still not ready to name UT's place-kicker for the opener. James Wilhoit, Phillip Newman, and Ryan Fusco are in the mix to win the position.

"One of them will win the job between now and Saturday," Fulmer said. "It's not like they're kicking poorly. I've watched them everyday. It's an ongoing competition. Just because a guy makes his first kick doesn't mean he'll be kicking all year. It's a good situation."

As for Fresno St., the Bulldogs are a team that have quite a reputation for making things happen in the kicking game. Over the course of the last six years, Fresno St. has blocked 20 punts and 20 kicks.

Tennessee returns to the practice field on Wednesday and Thursday before Friday's walk-through.


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