Tuesday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE - Tennessee's coaches and players were dealt a bit of bad luck on the injury front on Tuesday. UT officially learned that it would be without starting middle linebacker Kevin Simon for the rest of the year because of a torn ACL.

Dave Nathan "It‚s tough," said head coach Phillip Fulmer. "We've lost guys like that before. He and (Kevin) Burnett have a lot of personality. You could relate it to the offensive loss of Jamal Lewis (in 1998). It's a big loss."

However, the team is rallying around an unsung hero as they try not to miss a beat.

Jon Poe looks like he will be the first player who will try to fill Simon's shoes. From what Fulmer says about Poe, it's far from the toughest thing he's ever had to deal with. Other than tearing both of his ACL‚s in high-school, Poe has taken a long and winding road to get to Knoxville from his hometown of Covington.

"He's lost both his mom and his dad," Fulmer said of Poe. "He was basically the caretaker of his siblings. I think he's one of sixteen children. Everybody recruited him out of junior college. There was never any doubt he wanted to come to Tennessee."

Poe will spearhead the attack to slow down Louisiana Tech's star running back Ryan Moats. The speedster provides an ample challenge to the UT defensive unit.

"Moats is as good a running back as we've faced to this point," Fulmer said.

Offensively, Fulmer paid wide receiver Chris Hannon some high praise while discussing his rapid improvement.

"He's just gotten better and better," Fulmer said. "He's the go-to-guy. He sets the right example on the practice field."

Tennessee practices Wednesday and Thursday before Friday's walk through in Neyland Stadium.

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