Auburn 'backers look familiar

Tennessee center Scott Wells says the Auburn linebackers he and his offensive linemates will be blocking Saturday night look a lot like the linebackers he blocks every day in practice.

'Their linebackers have a lot of strength,'' he said. ''They remind me a lot of (UT's) Kevin Simons and Kevin Burnett. It'll be a good battle for us.''

Like Simons and Burnett, Auburn's linebackers have tremendous range in going sideline to sideline. That will test a Vol ground game that has sputtered at times.

''It'll be crucial for us,'' Wells conceded. ''We weren't as successful as we would like to have been the past few games -- the first half of the Florida game and most of the game against South Carolina. That's definitely something we've taken as a challenge this week to improve, pick up our fundamentals and get the offense two-dimensional again.''

Although Tennessee likes to run the ball between the tackles, the Vols have enjoyed greater success this season running outside. The question is: Why?

''We do an excellent job of reach blocking,'' Wells said. ''We've got a lot more athletic guys on the line who can get out there and seal off the edges.

''We've got an outstanding blocking fullback in Troy Fleming and a huge tight end in Victor McClure. We've got a lot of strength outside. When we pound it and pound it up the middle, that opens up big plays on the outside.''

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