Hardesty out for year

The preliminary diagnosis was correct: Promising freshman tailback Montario Hardesty suffered a torn ACL in Tennessee's 27-10 defeat of Ole Miss Saturday and will miss the rest of the season.

Hardesty, a 6-0, 190-pounder from New Bern, N.C., suffered the injury to his right knee during the fourth quarter. Hardesty should qualify for a redshirt season, since he played in just two games this season.

He did not play in Games 1 and 2 against UAB and Florida. He carried twice for four yards in Game 3 vs. LSU and carried four times for 14 yards against the Rebels prior to his injury.

Assuming the NCAA grants UT's redshirt petition, Hardesty will have four years of eligibility remaining when the 2006 season starts.

Hardesty was the first relief for starting tailback Gerald Riggs in Game 3 at LSU. He followed Riggs and redshirt freshman Arian Foster in the pecking order Saturday against Ole Miss.

With Hardesty out for the year, the tailback corps consists of Riggs, Foster, junior walk-on David Yancey, redshirt freshman Ja'Kouri Williams and true freshman LaMarcus Coker. Tennessee seemed to be redshirting Coker but Hardesty's injury could alter that plan.

Also injured vs. Ole Miss were wide receiver C.J. Fayton (high-ankle sprain) and offensive lineman Arron Sears (foot contusion).

Fayton, who has become Rick Clausen's favorite receiver, caught passes for gains of nine and 20 yards on UT's first two offensive snaps against Ole Miss. He did not catch another pass the remainder of the game.

Sears is Tennessee's most talented and versatile blocker. The 6-5, 340-pounder played both guards and both tackle spots vs. LSU in Game 3.

The Vols have sustained so many injuries in the O-line this fall that they used four guys at center vs. Ole Miss. Converted guard Rob Smith started but David Ligon, Richie Gandy and Anthony Parker also did some snapping.

Tennessee did so much substituting in the offensive front Saturday that the Vols had six linemen in the huddle at one point, incurring a costly illegal-substitution penalty.


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