Vols hold scrimmage in preparation for Cotton Bowl

KNOXVILLE - The Tennessee football team had a 65-70-play scrimmage inside Neyland Stadium on Thursday afternoon. The scrimmage served a number of purposes according to head coach Phillip Fulmer.

For some, it's chance to prove that they can play at the SEC level. For others, it's an opportunity to knock the rust off and get ready for Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. For Fulmer, he got an eye-witness account of where his quarterbacks stand.

"We had one of our best practices that we‚ve had today," Fulmer said. "It was good to see Brent Schaeffer back into it. Rick Clausen did a heck of a job. It paid dividends for us. I was really happy with the way we scrimmaged."

"We'l use this as a mini-spring practice for a lot of them," Fulmer said. "Ramon Foster, and Anthony Parker, finding out whether Ell Ash will play offense of defense. This is the best time you can do that."

"„We split Ja‚Kouri (Williams) out of the backfield a couple of times," Fulmer said. "He made a couple of outstanding plays. He's one of those guys that can make a play in the passing game."

Williams caught two touchdown passes on the afternoon. Robert Meachem also reeled in two touchdowns from Clausen.

In the defensive backfield, it seems to be more of the same, a daunting reality for the coaching staff.

"We gave our secondary a lot of looks at what Texas A&M does," Fulmer said. "We still need a lot of work. I don't know if we'll get that problem fixed this year. We've got to challenge them to tackle better and cover and not give up big plays. Without Jason Allen back there, it's a struggle."

Allen was just one of the players who didn‚t participate. He is out with a shoulder injury that was suffered in the SEC Championship Game. Daniel Brooks missed his third consecutive practice due to a neck injury. Karlton Neal has the flu. Ellix Wilson's torn hamstring continues to sideline him. Justin Harrell is limited because of his injured ankle.

The Vols have two players who will be academically ineligible. "Marvin Mitchell and Derrick Tinsley didn't make it," Fulmer said. "It really doesn't affect our team." Neither Mitchell or Tinsley passed six credit hours.

Gerald Riggs missed practice while he was writing a paper. He is not in any academic trouble according to Fulmer.

The Vols will have a 20-play scrimmage on Saturday and another 20-play scrimmage in Dallas on December 28th.

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