Taylor seeks return job

Speedy freshman Lucas Taylor, probably the most pleasant surprise of last Saturday's Tennessee football scrimmage, is getting a look as a kickoff return man.

Taylor, a 5-10, 168-pound receiver who caught four passes for 95 yards in the scrimmage, was one of seven Vols assembled to handle returns in a full-speed kickoff drill Tuesday afternoon. The others were wideout Chris Hannon, running backs LaMarcus Coker and David Yancey, defensive backs Jonathan Hefney, Jonathan Wade and Inky Johnson.

Johnson fielded the first kickoff and ran perhaps 20 yards before being belted to the turf by Gerald Williams, a 6-5, 225-pound freshman who was another bright spot in Saturday's scrimmage. Williams recorded five tackles from his linebacker spot in the game-type workout and delivered another big hit to open the kickoff drill.

The second kickoff went to Wade, who found a hole up the middle and popped through for a big gain. It appeared coaches blew the play dead before Wade was knocked off his feet. The horn ending the period sounded at this point, bringing an abrupt halt to the return drills. Presumably, the other return candidates – including Taylor – got a chance to show their stuff in one of the later periods … AFTER the media was asked to leave.

James Wilhoit, who nailed three of three field goals Saturday (including a 52-yarder), continued his outstanding preseason work. He was deadly inside 40 yards, missed his first try from around 45 yards, then nailed his second attempt from that distance.

Britton Colquitt, first-team punter who is vying for the second-team kicking job, continued his good work on placements. He is kicking the ball higher and straighter this week than last week, when he tended to be somewhat erratic.

If Colquitt wins the second-team kicking job, he and Wilhoit will back up one another when UT goes on the road. Wilhoit was an outstanding punter in high school but could not wrest that job from Dustin Colquitt, Britton's older brother, the past two years.

Should Colquitt edge out Ryan Fusco for the backup kicking job, Tennessee would have one more spot available on its road roster for a position player. That could be significant in the early season heat at Gainesville (Sept. 17) and Baton Rouge (Sept. 24).

We'll post a more complete practice report, featuring quotes from head coach Phillip Fulmer, at around 6:30.

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