Friday Practice Report

Phillip Fulmer finally answered the $64,000 question following Friday's practice. After much debate and speculation, the Vols will trot true freshman quarterback Brent Schaeffer out on the field to start Sunday's game.

"Brent Schaeffer will start," Fulmer said. "We have a system, but if one got really hot then it would be tough to take him out and disrupt what's going on." "'I'm excited about the whole big future for them," Fulmer said. "Erik (Ainge) could go in and get hot and not come out. The truth of it is they're co-starters. There's only one ball, one quarterback and one first snap. I think they both know this is a long term situation."

Fulmer announced the team would be without two players for the remainder of the season, too.

Robert Ayers, a true freshman, and James Banks, the team's much maligned go-to-guy, underwent successful surgeries.

"Robert Ayers will likely be ready for limited work in the spring," Fulmer said. "He‚ll be back and ready for next fall." "James Banks had his surgery this afternoon. It was repairable. That's a good thing in the long run. It's not a good thing in the short run because he will miss the season. He'll red-shirt and have two years remaining. We'll always take the interest of the athlete first. It would have been easy to be selfish. James has a future and repairing it was the right thing to do."

As for practice, The Pride of the Southland Marching Band paid the team a visit before drills got underway. The band played "Rocky Top" in front of coach Fulmer as the players danced in the end zone. Whether the band had anything to do with the team's effort is debatable, but Fulmer likes the squad's approach heading into the weekend.

"Wednesday wasn't as good as we'd liked it to be," Fulmer said. "Yesterday and today were exceptional. I've been real happy with what we've done the past two days."

Sunday's game will be televised on ESPN, not ESPN2 as originally scheduled.'

Tennessee has a walk through scheduled for Saturday.

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