KNOXVILLE -Tennessee returned to the practice field on Monday afternoon for the first time since last Thursday. The Vols donned full pads as they began preparations for the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer thinks the team has plenty to accomplish in a relatively short span of time. One of the things he would like to see is a return trip to the SEC Championship Game.
"We've got a lot to do in the next three weeks," Fulmer said. "It's like a new season with a new focus."
However, in order to get to Atlanta, first the Vols have to beat Vanderbilt
and /or Kentucky
. UT hasn't lost to Kentucky since 1984. Vandy hasn't defeated UT since 1982.
The odds are pretty long on the Commodores taking down the Vols. Yet, Fulmer made his team aware that the rivalry that's about to be renewed goes back quite a ways.
The teams have been playing one another for 98 years. It‚s the fourth longest rivalry in the country.
With Tennessee having an open date last week, it gave several players some much needed time to heal.
Across the offensive line, Michael Munoz, Jason Respert, and Arron Sears returned to the field of play. Fulmer said Cody Douglas‚ availability is the only real concern.
Richie Gandy slid into the starting rotation due to Douglas‚ absence.
In the secondary, Jason Allen made a triumphant return after missing practice last week because of a sprained ankle.
Robert Meachem, a wide receiver worked out in a green no-contact jersey. Bill Grimes did not practice at all.
Finally, on the injury front, Fulmer said that his two freshman quarterbacks, Brent Schaeffer and Erik Ainge, would be evaluated in two weeks.