Guards must play better

Cody Douglas has played a lot of great football games for the Tennessee Vols. The 2005 opener against Alabama-Birmingham wasn't one of them.

"I'm my toughest critic, and I thought that was probably the worst game I've played as a Tennessee Volunteer, if not as a football player – period," said Douglas, a 6-4, 330-pound senior who has made 16 career starts. "I was really disappointed with my play in that game."

So was head coach Phillip Fulmer. He thought Douglas and fellow guard Ramon Foster left a lot to be desired with their Game 1 performances.

"Our tackles played well," Fulmer said. "And Rob Smith (at center) did very well. It was mostly pointed at the guards. They've got to play better. They're going to have a bigger challenge this week than they had last week."

This week the Vols travel to the Swamp to face a formidable Florida squad that, like UT, is ranked among the NCAA's top 10 teams in all of the major polls. Tennessee's line – particularly the guards – must play much better if the Vols are to slip out of Gainesville victorious.

One factor weighing heavily in UT's favor is the return of senior center Richie Gandy, who missed the opener with an injured kneecap. His return frees up Rob Smith to return to guard, where he started all 13 games a year ago.

"It's going to help us to have Richie back," Fulmer noted, "and to have people back in their normal places."

The head man is hoping Smith and Douglas perform significantly better at guard in Game 2 than Foster and Douglas did in Game 1. Otherwise, the Vols could be swamped at The Swamp. Douglas vows to do his part to upgrade the guard play this week.

As he put it: "I'm definitely chomping at the bit to get back on the field against Florida and have a much better showing, try and redeem myself this week."

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