O&W is no omen

As impressive as some of the performances were in last Saturday's Orange & White football game, that doesn't mean Tennessee will be an impressive team in the fall. It just doesn't work that way.

Vol head man Phillip Fulmer has seen great spring games, good spring games, mediocre spring games and bad spring games. If there is a link between the quality of the spring game and the quality of the season that follows, he hasn't noticed it.

''I don't think there's any correlation I can remember,'' he said. ''If you've got good players and they play good, that's what you want to make happen in the spring.''

Except for missing dozens of players due to injuries and suspensions, the Vols had a reasonably productive spring. The defense dominated the early scrimmages but the offense showed some life in the Orange & White game.

Best of all, young players such as tailbacks Arian Foster and JaKouri Williams, wideout Josh Briscoe, offensive lineman Ell Ash, cornerback Inky Johnson, plus linebackers Jerod Mayo and Ryan Karl showed signs of developing into significant contributors. That's encouraging.

''Building depth is what we've always been most concerned about,'' Fulmer said.

That depth will depend a lot on 21 Vols who underwent surgical procedures since the 2004 season ended. The complete recovery of these players is crucial to Tennessee's hopes for 2005.

''The summer is more important even than the spring because of rehabs and building the team's strength, conditioning and confidence,'' Fulmer said. ''It's become the most important time of the year.''


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