Houston back on track

When a two-year starter loses his first-team berth, he can react in two ways: He can pout or put out.

Fortunately for the Tennessee Vols, Cedric Houston chose the latter. Two games after losing his job to junior Gerald Riggs, Houston came off the bench when Riggs was injured and produced a career-best 190 rushing yards on just 15 carries last weekend against South Carolina. Clearly, losing the top job lit a fire under Houston.

''There's no better deal than competition; that brings out the best in anybody,'' running backs coach Trooper Taylor said. ''The compliment to Ced, though, is his attitude. He hasn't changed a bit. He's been working his tail off. To see him work through that (disappointment of losing the first-team job) was a huge accomplishment for him.

''And now you'll see Riggs get well in a hurry.''

Riggs remains banged up this week, and Houston is nicked up himself after his big showing at Columbia. Thus, playing time this Saturday against Notre Dame will be based in large part on which back is healthiest at any given moment.

''The guy that's doing the best is going to play,'' Taylor said. ''They know that, and that makes them play better early in the game. And it makes them compete harder. I'm going to continue to do that. If one of 'em jumps and stays ahead of the others, he'll play the most.''

With Riggs and Houston less than 100 percent, head coach Phil Fulmer said former walk-on David Yancey could see some action this weekend.

''Yancey can help us,'' the head man noted, adding that he is ''still going to work'' freshman Arian Foster with the varsity in practice, so he'll be ready in an emergency.


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