Monday Morning Practice Report

Saturday's full-scale scrimmage was the hot topic following the Vols first practice of the week on Monday morning. Head coach Phillip Fulmer saw some good, some bad, and some ugly from his team after evaluating the tape.

"I guess the best way to put it is that things aren't always as bad as they seem or always as good as they seem," said Fulmer. "Some things in the film offensively were very discouraging. The turnovers, some of the penalties, the lack of execution at times. I found some things that if we do better we‚ll be alright."

Offensively, the team just never got it going for a variety of reasons. Fulmer addressed the offensive line's problems before delving deeper into some of the more troubling situations. "You'd have four guys doing exactly what they needed to do and one guy not quite getting it done," Fulmer said. "That just destroys the continuity. You put that on top of the dropped balls and snaps over the heads and that will get you beat by anybody. We've got to have our five best guys out there that will play their best all the time. They didn't do that on Saturday."

The quarterback race is still in limbo, too. However, this week should go a long way in determining just how the snaps will be divided heading into the Vols first game.

"C.J. (Leak) will get more than he got the other day," Fulmer said. "Obviously, we have got to get the reps pointed towards the guys who are going to play. We won't know that totally until after Wednesday. We can't keep practicing five quarterbacks."

On the defensive side of the football, Fulmer saw some flashes of brilliance from a mainstay at linebacker and some fresh faces across the front four. Yet, questions still remain in the secondary.

"Defensively they flew around and did some good things," Fulmer said. "It looks like we'll have some depth at some spots. I'm still worried about a couple of positions, particularly the depth at safety. The defense had a good day but not everything was perfect."

Fulmer addressed Kevin Simon's new role as an inside linebacker. So far, he likes what he is seeing from highly touted junior.

"I think he's still getting a feel for the position," Fulmer said. "He's improved a lot. The thing he's improved most on is that he's healthy. Whoever he's going against, he's getting off the blocks as well as anybody we've got. I'm really happy with what he's got done."

The defensive tackles also impressed Fulmer.

"Tony (McDaniel) had his best scrimmage since he's been here," said Fulmer. "Justin Harrell had a good scrimmage and Jesse (Mahelona) had a good scrimmage."

Triumphant Returns: The wide receiving position looked a little more crowded on Monday. Bill Grimes and Bret Smith both returned from injuries.

MIA: On the injury front, Victor McClure was spotted on the sidelines. He is still nursing a sprained shoulder. However, he was no wearing the sling he had on last week. Jared Hostetter was on crutches. His sprained left ankle is in a cast. Robert Ayers and Cody Douglas did not participate either.

A Look Ahead: Tennessee practices again on Monday night and on Tuesday afternoon. However, Fulmer sounds as if most of the work during the early part of the week is geared for Wednesday's scrimmage.

"Wednesday will be really crucial for us," Fulmer said. "This morning, this afternoon, and tomorrow's practice will be really crucial for us in getting ready for the scrimmage."


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