Monday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE – The Tennessee football team practiced indoors to avoid the rain on Monday afternoon. However, there's no avoiding the next game on the schedule. It's not the third Saturday in October this year, but the Vols are preparing for their annual match-up with Alabama.

"I think our kids understand the challenge we have," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "They've done a wonderful job of running the football," said Fulmer when talking about Alabama's offense. "They're leading the SEC in rushing. We'll work hard to get ready for that. Everybody has to take responsibility to do their jobs."

In order to stop the Tide's vaunted run game, Tennessee will need a tremendous effort from their defensive front that may be a bit undermanned.

Jesse Mahelona, UT's best defensive tackle, sprained his knee against Ole Miss.

"We'll have to prepare like he's (Jesse Mahelona) not going to play," Fulmer said. "Jesse has great quickness and toughness and intensity. He's just one of those special kids. He's become a good technician." "Tony McDaniel has to step up," Fulmer said. "Laron Harris played some snaps and he has to do okay. We'll use Turk (McBride) in there like we have been. My hope is that Jesse will play, but I don't know."

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, Fulmer is approaching Cody Douglas's injury as day-to-day. If Douglas cannot go this week, than Arron Sears would get his second consecutive start at right guard.

Also on the injury front, UT welcomed Justin Reed back to the practice field.

Finally, Fulmer addressed all of the off the field drama surrounding the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry.

"I don't think anything off the field has anything to do with it," Fulmer said. "It's two fine universities playing in a special game that's been special for a long time."

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