Monday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE - The Tennessee football team hit the practice field on Monday with a little pep in its step following a big weekend win over Florida. Despite the fact the Vols came out on the winning end of the score, head coach Phillip Fulmer said his troops have plenty to improve upon.

"We made enough mistakes on both sides of the ball to lose the game,' Fulmer said. "We won the game. We played our rears off. Some of the things are a thrill a minute with the young players. The fight that this team has-they're very determined. It‚'s just fun to watch them play."

As for the officiating snafu that gave the Vols better field position in the closing seconds with some extra time on the clock, Fulmer didn't think the game came down to what happened on either team's last drive.

"Officials aren't perfect," Fulmer said. "One play or one call doesn't win or lose a football game." "What goes around comes around," Fulmer said, referring to a controversial call that gave Florida the win in Knoxville in 2000.

Fulmer also admitted his instincts told him to trust his offense when going for it on fourth down a couple of times in the game's last few drives.

"It's one of those feel things," Fulmer said. "We have confidence in our offensive team."

Because of the mistakes Fulmer referred to, there could be some more moving and shaking in the secondary. Fulmer said Jon Wade, Roshaun Fellows, Inky Johnson, and Antonio Gaines would get looks at cornerback. With that being said, it looks like Jon Hefney has solidified his spot in the starting line-up at the other cornerback slot.

"Hefney's done well," Fulmer said. He's a tough son of a gun. That's what I'm looking for, a guy that's going to compete for every ball and be a tackler."

Fulmer will also weigh his options at strong safety with Brandon Johnson and Corey Campbell.

In the linebacking corps, a lot has changed since Kevin Simon went out of Saturday's game with a knee injury.

"We‚re still anticipating a torn ACL," Fulmer said. "We'll apply for a hardship at the appropriate time which is after the season. If it's not (torn) we'd be thanking the good lord, but more than likely he's going to miss the rest of the season."

Because of Simon's absence in the middle of the defense, Jon Poe and Jason Mitchell will duke it out for the starting nod at middle linebacker. If Poe wins the job, Mitchell would stay put at outside linebacker where he's started both games this season. Omar Gaither would then provide depth there along with Ellix Wilson who was moved over from strong safety. James Turner is third on the depth chart at middle linebacker.

A few players got some good news concerning injuries on Monday, too. Cedric Houston, who re-aggravated an ankle injury against the Gators should be fine. Offensive tackle Albert Toeaina, who has yet to play because of a deep knee bruise will get some individual work this week. He won't participate in any full speed or contact drills. Fulmer hopes to have him back by next Monday. The only player in a green no-contact jersey on Monday other than the quarterbacks was Derrick Tinsley.


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