Tuesday Practice Report

KNOXVILLE - Tennessee‚s football team scrimmaged for the first time this spring during Tuesday afternoon‚s two-hour workout. According to Head Coach Phillip Fulmer, the scrimmage was about 43-plays and the defense set the tone throughout the contest.

Omar Gaither had an interception from his linebacker position and the defense forced a fumble.

"The defense should be ahead," Fulmer said. "It takes a little longer with the number of guys out on the offensive side. You take a negative of having a number of people out and you turn it into a positive. There's a whole lot of guys that need work and it‚s just going to help us down the road."

Fulmer hopes that injuries to proven players give him a good gauge on what to expect from some of the youngsters.

"We took a really long look at a lot of young guys," Fulmer said. "There were some good things on both sides but there were a ton of things that we'll need to work on Thursday. Today was about seeing where the young ones were and they were about where I thought they were."

Fulmer alluded to the fact that the scrimmage revealed some weaknesses across the offensive line, too.

"A few of those offensive linemen have no idea of what it takes to play in this league," Fulmer said. "The only way they're going to learn is to get their helmets turned sideways, get their noses bloodied, and see if they're going to be tough enough to play here."

One of the big causes for concern on the offensive line is the absence of a proven center. Richie Gandy was thought to be the heir apparent to the position vacated by Jason Respert. However, Gandy tore his ACL during an intramural basketball game and is lost for all of spring practice and at least a hefty chunk of the season.

"I don't know who our center is going to be," Fulmer said. "We're kind of putting our fingers in the dike. We're not blocking anybody at center right now."

David Ligon and Anthony Parker hope to make some sort of impression on Fulmer at center over the course of the next couple of weeks. However, that might be easier said than done. Ligon suffered a concussion during Tuesday's scrimmage and Fulmer says Parker needs to learn how to snap the ball.

Finally, Roshaun Fellows appears to be making a smooth transition from cornerback to safety. Fulmer indicated that the red-shirt sophomore made some plays that grabbed his attention.


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