Monday Practice Report

Tennessee began its preparations for Miami on Monday afternoon. Despite a lackluster win over Duke last weekend, the Vols find themselves right in the middle of the hunt for an SEC eastern division crown.

Georgia's loss to Florida on Saturday enabled the Vols to get back to the top of the league in the loss column. Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia all have two losses in the league.

If the three teams win out, the SEC's athletics directors not involved with the SEC Championship would vote on a representative. A unanimous vote for the highest ranked team is the most probable scenario.

"We're somewhat in control of our destiny at least as far as the SEC east goes," Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I believe our football team is prepared to take advantage of it."

Obviously, the next step in the process for the Vols is beating Miami.

The Hurricanes are coming off a loss of their own. Nevertheless, Tennessee is facing what may be their biggest challenge since the 2001 team beat Florida in Gainesville.

"This team has yet to play near the consistency of that 2001 team," Fulmer said. "We need to put a whole game together. In 2001 we had a bunch of seniors and high draft picks."

As for that consistency, Fulmer tracks his team's troubles back to a lack of what they've done on third down plays.

"We haven't been very good at making plays on third down to get off the field," Fulmer said. "I'd say that's the root of the whole thing."

In the backfield, Gerald Riggs looks to build off of a solid performance against the Blue Devils.

"I hope Gerald Riggs is able to carry a little bit more of the load," said Fulmer. "The protections are still an issue. He's still got to work at those. But he did okay in that. He gave us a little bit of a spark on Saturday."

UT's secondary should also display some youthful exuberance. Corey Campbell will most likely get his second consecutive start.

Rashad Baker, the usual starter, is still battling back from an injured knee.

Thus far, Fulmer likes what Campbell has done. However, he realizes that Miami will be playing at a much different tempo than Duke did.

"He made some significant plays and progress," Fulmer said. "Rashad's probably not going to be ready so he (Campbell) has to."

Mark Jones didn't play defense at all on Saturday. Fulmer said the decision not to play Jones on both sides of the ball is because of a shoulder injury.

Jones did play in UT's goal line mustang (six DB) package on Monday during practice though. Fulmer indicated that Jones's ability to play defense rests firmly on whether or not the condition of his shoulder improves.

Finally, the Vols may have to be prepared for more than one quarterback this weekend. Miami has the capablity of playing both Brock Berlin and Derrick Crudup.

"They're considerably different," Fulmer said. "Berlin's a pocket kind of guy. Crudup's athletic and can run really well."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories