Fulmer praises frosh QBs

Vol head man Phillip Fulmer was pleased with the work of freshman quarterbacks Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer in Saturday's scrimmage, especially considering the heavy downpour they encountered near the end of the workout.

''I think they both did fine,'' he said. ''I was scared to death in goalline snaps because that's something they hadn't done fullspeed. They handled that fine. In the two-minute drill, one (Ainge) was better than the other but that's the first time they've done it.

''Both of 'em did some good things. We're going to have to live with some of their shortcomings as far as their inexperience but I think it's pretty obvious to everybody that they're pretty talented.''

Asked if he might let passing whiz Ainge and the elusive Schaeffer share QB duties in Game 1 since each boasts different strengths, Fulmer ducked the question.

''Until I get to a point where I need to make a decision (he won't).''

Senior C.J. Leak, who lost the first-team quarterback job when the frosh were elevated earlier this week, worked at safety in Saturday's scrimmage and acquitted himself fairly well.

''He was flying around out there,'' Fulmer said.

The Vol boss is clearly pleased by the classy way Leak has accepted his demotion.

''Golly! What a great attitude,'' Fulmer said. ''You talk about a guy who's been a tremendous joy through this. I appreciate him so much.''

With many of Tennessee's offensive linemen hobbled by injuries, Saturday's scrimmage was devoted mostly to the passing game. There were few noteworthy runs until the No. 3 offense took on the No. 3 defense. Then freshman Arian Foster, who joined the team two days ago after being approved for eligibility by the NCAA Clearinghouse, showed some shifty moves in making runs of 7, 17, 3, 9 and 5 yards.

''I'm really pleased with Foster,'' Fulmer said. ''He's got fresh legs, while everybody else is kind of dead, but he's got some juice to him.''

The head man was also impressed with the work of Justin Harrell, Jesse Mahelona and Tony McDaniel, who are having to be iron men since UT's depth at defensive tackle is so thin.

''I'm really proud of what (line coach) Dan Brooks and those three inside guys have done,'' Fulmer said. ''We just need another one or two (tackles) to come through for us ... or they've got to be in the best shape of their lives because they may play the whole game.''

The head man said he'll use ends Turk McBride and Karlton Neal as fill-ins at D-tackle if the need arises.

Overall, Fulmer seemed very pleased with where his team is two weeks shy of the Sept. 5 season opener against Nevada-Las Vegas. Noting that his troops mainly need ''to know what to do and understand WHY we're doing it'' to be successful, he said, ''I think we have a pretty talented football team.''

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