Wednesday Practice Report

Wednesday's practice reassured Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer that this year's team still has some fight left in them. Instead of folding up their proverbial tents and going home, the 2003 squad has approached the open week with the intention of battling back from two straight losses and getting better.

"I've learned from 12 years of doing this that every team is different," said Fulmer. "One of the things you always worry about when you have an open date is if your kids are going to have the right attitude about improving."

"I think the coaches did a good job and I thought the players particularly on the offensive side did a really good job today of working hard to get some things better, have some tempo, we really made some good strides."

On the other side of the ball, Fulmer remains equally optimistic.

"Defensively, the challenge would be to continue to improve as well," said Fulmer. "I think we got a good two days of an open date in."

Fulmer and the rest of the defensive staff could be counting on plenty of youth to pull Tennessee through the remainder of the season.

Obviously, the Vols have plenty of experience at linebacker.

However, up front and in the secondary, numerous newcomers are going to have a chance to show what they can do.

"There are some young guys out there with a lot to learn," Fulmer said.

"I think Cory Anderson is continuing to come along. Turk McBride is continuing to come along. Every week he seems to get a little bit better. We need Tony McDaniel to play more than he's playing. He's just got to get fundamentally better. Justin Harrell, we need him to continue to come on and help us."

"Either one of those safeties, Corey Campell or Jarod Parrish, are getting all of those second team reps but yet they're not playing much in the game. I'm hopeful that those two guys can get themselves in a position to help our team."

Bret Smith is another young star on the rise who has had his chance to shine in a couple of games. However, Smith was dealt a bit of bad news on Wednesday.

The freshman receiver injured his thumb during the Georgia game. The injury will require surgery and Smith will be out for four weeks.

Derrick Tinsley was thought of as one of the team's best play-makers in the pre-season. Six games into the season and Tinsley has yet to display any of his attributes.

However, Fulmer said the junior hasn't been lost in the shuffle.

For the second straight day Tinsley worked some in the backfield. Yet, Fulmer mentioned he's also still counting on him to make plays catching the football.

"We're looking for a guy that can give us a play offensively," Fulmer said. "He's got to play receiver because of our numbers."

Tennessee will work-out on Thursday at 10am before taking Friday off for fall break. The team will reconvene on Sunday night.

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