Monday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE - Tennessee practiced inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex on Monday afternoon. The move indoors was made in order to prepare the Vols for the Georgia Dome, the site of this weekend's SEC Championship Game.

Tennessee will face Auburn for the second time this season. In the first match-up, UT was steamrolled at home, losing 34-10.

Head Coach Phillip Fulmer is hoping for a different result in the re-match. If the Vols have any plans on springing the upset, third string quarterback Rick Clausen needs to continue to play spirited football.

"Rick has done a fantastic job," Fulmer said. "He has such poise and control. You put 606 yards and the points he's put up, I think he's gotten a lot of people's attention."

Brent Schaeffer, UT's back-up quarterback for the duration of the season, doesn't look like he fits into the plans right now. Schaeffer broke his collarbone versus South Carolina and only recently began throwing again.

"Until the doctor tells me he's cleared, we won't be counting on him that much," Fulmer said. "With no more work than he's had, I don't count on him being a part of what we do."

Tennessee's special teams have been nothing short of atrocious this season. However, Fulmer isn't panicking yet.

"There's not a lot of personnel changes to be made," Fulmer said. "We're just going to keep working at it. It helps to have some experience, but it doesn‚t seem like we have that."

Across the offensive line, Tennessee was without Cody Douglas and Michael Munoz on Monday. Arron Sears was with the first-teamers at left tackle. Richie Gandy occupied Douglas‚ right guard slot.

Fulmer thinks the injury bug is something that separates the Vols from the Tigers. Tennessee has battled numerous injuries throughout the season while Auburn has sailed through the season virtually injury free.

"They've been able to stay healthy," Fulmer said. "We‚re not playing with the same people all the time. I think their center was out for a few games and that‚s the only guy that‚s missed any time at all.‰

On the defensive line, Fulmer offered up some of his thoughts on why Jesse Mahelona hasn't put up the gaudy stats as of late that fans have grown accustomed to.

"He's gotten double teamed the last couple weeks," Fulmer said. „Against Kentucky you could have put Reggie White over there and it wouldn‚t have mattered because they're throwing it off three steps."

Justin Harrell didn't practice due to the ankle injury he suffered against Kentucky. His return for this weekend's game appears doubtful.

Roshaun Fellows continued to rest his sprained foot, too.

Bret Smith and Robert Meachem were in green no-contact jerseys.

Finally, Fulmer discussed his thoughts as to why Tennessee is at it's best when they play the role of underdog.

"I guess we‚ve taken offense to it," Fulmer said. "I think this is a very prideful group of kids. This day and age just about anybody is good enough to beat you if you don't play well."


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