Wednesday Practice Report

With game day rapidly approaching, the Tennessee football team tightened some screws at practice on Wednesday afternoon. For the most part, this pre-season has provided some pleasant surprises for head coach Phillip Fulmer.

There were plenty of question marks heading into camp. However, most of those questions have been answered.

"I'm real pleased with the progress that we've made," Fulmer said. "Early on I didn't know if we'd have a defensive tackle that could play in this league. Now we've got three. Our safeties have made really good progress. Justin Reed has given me some real optimism that he's going to be a good player for us (at tight end)."

The quarterback carousel is still in full rotation. Fulmer said he "possibly" could name a starter as early as Thursday. Yet he didn't rule out keeping his starter a secret until Saturday or Sunday. Regardless of who the starter is, Fulmer is downplaying the significance of who trots out onto the field for the first series.

"It doesn't matter who goes out there first," Fulmer said. "Both of them are going to get opportunities."

The only other positions that were discussed in-depth on Wednesday were punt returner and kick returner. Whoever is back there, Fulmer said they would have big shoes to fill.

"(Corey) Larkins is the heir apparent returning kick-offs," Fulmer said. "The punt game is very difficult to replace a guy like Mark Jones or Rashad Baker. We've got three of four good candidates there. Jayson Swain, Derrick Tinsley, and Jonathan Hefney are all good candidates."

On the injury front, James Banks did not participate in drills on Wednesday.

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