Monday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE - The Vols hit the practice field on Monday for the first time since their victory over the weekend against South Carolina. At this point in the season, it seems as if the injury bug is spreading like wildfire. Several bruised and battered players are making Head Coach Phillip Fulmer adjust his personnel on the fly.

Freshman quarterback Brent Schaeffer broke his collarbone on Saturday and looks to be out for five to six weeks. The void left by Schaeffer allows Rick Clausen to move up the depth chart and back-up Erik Ainge.

"Brent's going to be out," Fulmer said. "Rick will move up. Erik will get all the reps with the one's and Rick will get the reps with the two's."

As for what the future holds for C.J. Leak, Fulmer isn't counting out a return to the quarterback position.

"That‚s something that we'll look at," Fulmer said. "We're not going to be hard-headed about anything. C.J. knows about our offense. We'll decide who we'll look at as our third guy."

As for some of the other injured players, Michael Munoz and Jason Respert didn't practice on Monday. Respert sprained an ankle on Saturday. A concussion has sidelined Munoz for the past week. However, Fulmer is hopeful Munoz will be able to give it a go this weekend.

"I'm expecting him to be ready," Fulmer said. "Of course that's up to the doctors and him. It was tough being without him last week. We expect him to be ready to go." Cody Douglas has been slowed by a sprained foot as of late. He was limited on Monday.

On the positive side of the injury laundry list, cornerback Antwan Stewart practiced for the first time this season. Stewart blew a knee out in spring drills. Fulmer said he thought there was a realistic chance he could play this season. He also thought Stewart was about 80-percent.

Arian Foster, one of the many talented freshmen in the signing class of 2004, returned to the scout team after working out with the varsity last week. Foster made the trip to Columbia but did not play.

"We have worked hard trying to get our young players ready to play," Fulmer said. "We play about half our freshmen every year. There's a number of freshmen that our helping us."

Some names of note that helped the effort on Saturday include Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer who split time at quarterback. Chris Brown and David Holbert caught touchdowns. Jonathan Hefney had an interception. Ryan Karl and Ellix Wilson got some mop-up duty at linebacker. Xavier Mitchell and Antonio Reynolds saw action at defensive end.

As for Notre Dame, this week's opponent, Fulmer isn't taking them lightly.

"They've got really good players and great tradition," Fulmer said. "They beat Michigan. You don't beat Michigan without having a pretty good football team. They won't be awed by anything here in Tennessee."

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