Tuesday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee continued to prepare for South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon. Most people have grown accustomed to Gamecock Head Coach Lou Holtz's pre-game remarks regarding the opposition. However, today it was Phillip Fulmer making South Carolina out to be favorite.

"They just have a ton of talent," Fulmer said. "They run a lot of different schemes getting the ball to that talent. It's going to take a tremendous effort by our guys to know where their people are. Their running backs and receivers are really good. The quarterbacks make a lot of plays. They have a very fine offensive line. Overall, this might be our biggest challenge we have had in some time from a defensive standpoint."

As for the quarterback rotation Fulmer alluded to, USC can go with either Dondrial Pinkins or Syvelle Newon.

"Regardless of which quarterback plays, our defensive team has a big challenge because of the multiplicity of their offense," Fulmer said. "There's no way you can go to the practice field, formation and play-wise, and get everything covered you need to get covered. That's where the fundamentals and basic parts of our defense come into play."

Tennessee's defense will also have to put up with another punishing ground game anchored by a tough offensive line.

"They have a very fine offensive line and good running backs," Fulmer said. "We know very well about Demetris Summers. He had a good game here last year. As we always do, we're going in to try to stop the run. We have done a good job of not giving up big plays in the last several games. That is certainly going to be a challenge in this game, to continue to improve in that area and try to stay out of as many bad down and distance situations as we can."

One of the key players that will be counted on to stop South Carolina both running the football and throwing the football is junior free safety Jason Allen.

"Jason Allen is a really outstanding football player," Fulmer said. "I've said on a number of occasions he may be our best defensive player period, whether at cornerback, where he played last year, or when we made the move to safety. He has more than achieved what we thought he would at the safety position. He's just a real rock in our defensive football team and in our scheme."

Offensively, Fulmer admitted his team hasn't been playing as well as he'd like them to. However, from a skill standpoint, the parts are certainly in place to get the team back on track. "Our offensive challenge is getting back to being efficient as far as blocking and running the football, as well as protecting, throwing and catching," Fulmer said. "We certainly have the talent to do that. We've done it in the past. The last couple of weeks, we haven't been as efficient as we needed to be." On the injury front, Jesse Mahelona and Cody Douglas were both in pads for the first time in over a week. Both are expected to play on Saturday. Finally, true freshman Arian Foster practiced with the varsity for the second consecutive day. Foster, a running back, had been with the scout team up until this point. He missed valuable practice time at the beginning of the season while waiting to be academically cleared by the NCAA.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories