Thursday Practice Report

Tennessee bounced back nicely from their poor practice on Wednesday. Apparently, the team responded to head coach Phillip Fulmer's prolonged post-practice meeting from the previous day.

After practice on Thursday, Fulmer discussed the importance of playing a game of this magnitude at home under the lights.

"We saw last week what that can do to help an offensive football team," Fulmer said. "The week before when we played South Carolina it helped us. It's one great advantage of a night game. Everybody's ready to go."

The team is clearly upbeat to take down a foe that has beaten them three consecutive times. As a matter of fact, you couldn't write a better script for the Vols to exorcise their demons.

With a win, Tennessee would be one game up in the SEC east. The Vols would also own the coveted tie-breaker if they should win on Saturday, but stumble later on.

"I think that our team is excited about the opportunity they have," said Fulmer. "Obviously there's a lot at stake in this kind of football game. It's interesting every year to see how your team handles these kind of situations and these kind of games."

The ground game has been a point of concern lately on Rocky Top. Both offensively and defensively Tennessee has had their fair share of problems in the running game.

The defensive addition of Justin Harrell could solve some of those issues though.

Harrell hasn't played any organized football since his senior year in high-school two years ago because of injuries.

Two surgeries later, it looks like Harrell is finally going to be unleashed on Saturday.

"I would expect he'll get 15-20 plays in the game," Fulmer said. "He had a good week of practice. He's much further along than I thought he might have been."

Offensively, Fulmer expects the running game to be the cornerstone of both team's offenses.

"I hope we can run the football better," said Fulmer. "That will be a good key in the ballgame and who can make something happen on first down."

However, at wide receiver, Fulmer has been particularly pleased with the the progress sophomore Chris Hannon has made as of late.

"He's really taken off in the last three or four weeks," said Fulmer. "He's plenty bright but sometimes the techniques and his confidence take a little longer. I'd say he's ahead of most guys. I think there's a lot of confidence in him, Mark Jones, James (Banks) and that group of guys who have fought like heck to get better."

The Vols have a walk-through scheduled for Friday afternoon in Neyland Stadium.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories