So long, seniors

A senior class known more for its setbacks than its achievements says goodbye when Tennessee visits Kentucky at 12:30 today in the season finale at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington.

Senior running back Gerald Riggs (ankle), senior cornerback Jason Allen (hip) and senior linebacker Jason Mitchell (knee) will watch from the sidelines due to injuries. Senior offensive tackle Albert Toeaina will sit out the game and senior center Richie Gandy will sit out the first half for unsportsman-like behavior following the Vanderbilt game. Senior quarterback Rick Clausen will not start due to a knee injury.

As a result, just seven of the 23 seniors will be in the lineup – guard Cody Douglas, wide receiver C.J. Fayton, defensive ends Parys Haralson and Jason Hall, defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona, linebackers Kevin Simon and Omar Gaither. Gandy and Clausen are slated for backup action, along with tight ends Justin Reed and Jake Finlayson, linebacker Jon Poe and wide receiver Chris Hannon. Deep snapper Adam Miles will take the field if the Vols attempt a field goal or conversion kick.

Long-shots to play are walk-ons Jon Catanzano, Peter Chang, Ryan Fusco, Bill Martin, Lester Ransom, Kevin Shipley, Robert Williams and Nick Wilson.

Although this senior class carries a modest four-year won/lost record of 32-17 into today's game, head coach Phillip Fulmer says these young men deserve credit for helping UT through some trying times.

"I'm really appreciative to a great number of our seniors for the way they've gone about their business and their leadership," he said. "It's really tough to be a leader and out front, to continue working hard and being a good example when times are tough. It's easier when things are going really well.

"They have done a really good job of being the kind of young men – for the most part – that have led this football team in the proper direction by example and have continued to work."


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