Wilhoit, McDaniel out

Spring practice is a time when head coaches often take a long look at their younger football players. Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer has no choice but to do so this spring; most of his OLDER players are sidelined.

Two rising juniors -- kicker James Wilhoit and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel -- are the latest spring casualties. All told, 12 Vols will be sidelined or limited this spring.

Wilhoit recent underwent a surgical procedure to remove an extra bone from his right (kicking) foot. He says the foot hurt when he kicked last season and hints that it contributed to the fact his numbers slipped from 2003 to 2004. After hitting 17 of 24 field goal tries (70.8 percent) as a freshman, he slipped to 10 of 17 (58.8 percent) as a sophomore last fall.

McDaniel, already suspended in connection with a pending assault charge, has had his suspension suspended through spring drills. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly decking a fellow student with a single punch during a Jan. 12 pickup basketball game.

McDaniel's case has been reset for April 13, so it will not be resolved in time for spring practice, which begins Thursday. In addition to his legal difficulties, McDaniel must survive a review by the university's judicial affairs council if he is to rejoin the Vols in time for preseason drills this August.

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