Vols look for corner

A leader of Tennessee's successful defensive effort to date is gone and another top-10 opponent looms.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer says his players are ready to fill the void left by the season-ending injury to senior defensive back Jason Allen. Of note is the practice competition going on between redshirt freshman Inquoris Johnson and sophomore Roshaun Fellows.

"Inky and Roshaun and competing to see who's going to be the guy," said Fulmer, whose Vols visit undefeated Alabama one week from Saturday. "I'm comfortable with both of them.

"Roshaun started most of last year but he's probably not playing as fast as I like for him to play right now. Inky has just waited for his opportunity. He's practiced well and did a good job against Georgia."

Fellows started the first three games this year coming off a freshman All-America campaign in 2004. He was replaced during the LSU win by Jonathan Wade, who has intercepted passes in both of his starts against Mississippi and Georgia. Johnson had three tackles and a fumble recovery against the Bulldogs, playing mostly in the second half.

Fulmer cautions that neither matches the skill or experience level of Allen, who was leading Tennessee in tackles for the second year in a row at the time of his hip injury against Georgia.

"Injuries happen," Fulmer said. "And as you go through the year you find new guys who are going to step up and be able to help us."

VOLS HAVE 37 in PROS

The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday that 261 of its former student-athletes were on 2005 National Football League Kickoff Weekend rosters, most of any conference in the nation.

Tennessee and Florida each had 37 players on opening-day rosters, tying for second nationally behind Florida State's 42. Georgia and Ohio State were fourth with 35 players, while Auburn was eighth with 31 and LSU tied Notre Dame for ninth with 30.

Using current conference alignments, the Atlantic Coast Conference was second behind the SEC with 231 players on NFL rosters, followed by the Big Ten with 223, the Pac-10 with 188 and the Big 12 with 176.

Below is a look at how the SEC fared on 2005 NFL Kickoff Weekend rosters:

Top 10 Schools -- Florida State 42, TENNESSEE 37, Florida 37, Georgia 35, Ohio State 35, Michigan 34, Miami (Fla.) 33, Auburn 31, LSU 30, Notre Dame 30. Other SEC schools -- Alabama 18, Mississippi 17, South Carolina 17, Mississippi State 15, Arkansas 11, Vanderbilt 7, Kentucky 6.

Top Conferences -- SEC 261, ACC 231, Big Ten 223, Pac-10 188, Big 12 176, Big East 88, Conference USA 71, Mountain West 68.


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