Fulmer previews Florida game

C.J. Leak's last name could be a problem in the days ahead, since he is Tennessee's backup quarterback but also the brother of Florida quarterback Chris Leak.

Pardon the pun, but some Big Orange fans are concerned that C.J. may 'leak' the UT gameplan to his sibling between now and Sept. 20, when the Vols and Gators collide at The Swamp in Gainesville. It's a legitimate concern since (A) Blood is thicker than water and (B) Chris Leak roundly criticized UT head man Phillip Fulmer for C.J.'s lack of playing time last fall, prompting Fulmer to pull Chris' scholarship offer.

Is there a chance that C.J. will give his brother inside information that could undermine Tennessee's efforts in The Swamp?

No chance, Fulmer says. He's so certain it won't happen that he said on his Sunday teleconference that he has no plans to discuss the subject with C.J., adding: ''I don't think there's any issue that way.''

Fulmer also took the high road when asked if his brief feud with Chris Leak last recruiting season will affect his feelings toward the Florida game.

''That's not something anybody's worried about,'' the Vol coach said. ''Chris is a fine young man.''

And Florida appears to be a fine young team. The Gators gave powerful Miami fits Saturday before succumbing to a late Hurricane rally. Fulmer had mixed emotions while watching the game, since he must play both squads this fall.

''You had to be impressed with both of 'em,'' he said. ''Florida for getting the lead, and Miami for having the wherewithall to come back the way it did.''

Tennessee's challenge against Florida is toughened by the fact the Vols must prepare to face two quarterbacks -- Ingle Martin and Leak. They have emerged as No. 1 and No. 1-A in Florida's system this fall.

''It's a challenge,'' Fulmer conceded. ''From what I saw last night, it looks like Ingle moves around some and that Chris sits in the pocket and throws.''

Another obstacle the Vols must overcome is the climate. Gainesville is almost always hot in September but the noon kickoff could make for downright sweltering conditions. Florida's players are more accustomed to excessive heat than UT's players, which does not bode well for the Vols.

''You don't know yet what the weather's going to be,'' Fulmer hedged, ''but it's not to OUR advantage.''

Assuming the weather is seasonably hot, the Vols will need to substitute freely to keep their players fresh.

''All 70 that go to Florida need to be ready to play,'' Fulmer said.

Yet another worry for UT is the health of first-team strong safety Gibril Wilson. He injured an ankle in Game 1 vs. Fresno State and played only three series in Game 2 vs. Marshall before taking a seat on the bench. Jason Allen got considerable playing time at strong safety thereafter.

''With a week of rest, I think he'll be ready to go,'' Fulmer said of Wilson. ''That (absence) really didn't kill us. Jason Allen went in and did a reasonably good job.''

One thing is for certain: The winner of the UT-Florida game will take a big step toward winning the SEC East.

''Our goal is to compete and win the East,'' Fulmer said. ''And this game is important to that.''


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