Wednesday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee continued its preparations for Alabama on Wednesday afternoon. With the way both of these teams play, it looks like special teams could have a big impact in the way this game unfolds.

"We spent a lot of extra time on the kicking game today," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I think that will be a big part of this game. Dustin (Colquitt) is back kicking the ball well. That's important to us, the field position part of it. They've got the number-one kick-off return team in America. We had some issues we needed to correct. We made some personnel changes that helped us."

On the injury front, it looks like both Jesse Mahelona and Cody Douglas are fighting uphill battles in order to be ready for this weekend's game. Neither player has practiced this week, which in Fulmer's mind makes the task of playing that much more difficult.

"It would be hard not practicing and getting much done and playing," Fulmer said. "He (Jesse) thinks he can play. Cody's kind of the same way. If we're going to risk further injury you'd certainly like them to be in this kind of game."

On the other hand, after missing the last couple of games, it looks like tight end Justin Reed is ready for action.

"Justin's looked good this week," said Fulmer. "He'll probably have to wear a knee brace."

Finally, the Vols find themselves in the middle of a brutal stretch of playing on seven consecutive weekends. With all of the added stress on the players, Fulmer indicated some of the practice sessions could be shortened. However, that is contingent upon how the team plays.

"We've backed off some of the contact," Fulmer said. "We've held selective guys as we've gone along. We'll cut 10-15 minutes off practice if we continue progressing. If we don't than obviously we've got to do what we've got to do to get better. That doesn't mean we won't work the young ones just as long. Right now we're holding the older ones to half-periods. They're just getting mental reps."


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