Toeaina vs. Haralson

Fans lucky enough to attend tonight's UT football scrimmage (by invitation only) may want to focus some attention on one special matchup.

It'll pit the Vols' biggest offensive lineman (6-6, 355-pound Albert Toeaina) against their quickest defensive lineman (6-2, 248-pound Parys Haralson.

Because of the size differential, their engagements resemble a mongoose battling a cobra -- with the small but combative Haralson cast in the mongoose role and the imposing Toeaina playing the sizable serpent.

Even head coach Phillip Fulmer has commented on the ferocity of the Toeaina-Haralson matchups. The premise is simple: Toeaina attempts to dominate via his size, while Haralson attempts to navigate his way around the big guy by utilizing his technique and superior speed.

"I just have to get my hands on him," Toeaina said recently. "Once I get my hands on him, he's done. But if I let him get his hands on me, I'm done. It goes both ways. Whoever gets their hands on first wins."

Because he is a senior captain and returning All-SEC player, Haralson scarcely played in last Saturday's full-scale scrimmage. That made life a little easier for Toeaina, whose pass protection helped the Vol offense pile up 400-plus aerial yards and four touchdowns in the game-type workout.

Asked if the offense is on a faster track than in 2004, Toeaina nodded enthusiastically.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "Things are rolling, clicking faster than last year. I can see it."

For one thing, the 2005 attack unit has more veterans and fewer unsettled positions than a year ago. Toeaina was battling Arron Sears for a tackle job last August, while Erik Ainge was battling Brent Schaeffer, Rick Clausen and C.J. Leak for the quarterback job, and Cedric Houston was battling Gerald Riggs and Corey Larkins for the tailback job.

"Last year it was a lot of Albert/Arron Sears battle, so-and-so/Erik Ainge battle," Toeaina recalled. "Now we know who (the probable starters are), and we're just going to roll it out from here."


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