Coker out, Arian iffy

New Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe may have to concentrate on the passing game this spring. There might not be enough running backs available to develop a ground game.

Freshman tailback LaMarcus Coker was discharged from UT Medical Center this morning after undergoing shoulder surgery on Thursday to repair torn ligaments. He will not be available for spring drills.

This bit of bad news came one day after redshirt freshman tailback Arian Foster underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. His status for spring ball is "yet to be determined," according to head trainer Keith Clements.

Both Foster and Coker are expected to be 100 percent when Tennessee begins 2006 preseason drills in August.

Coker was injured shortly after he reported to UT last August and wound up sitting out the 2005 season as a redshirt. He still has four years of eligibility remaining.

Foster, who redshirted in 2004, is coming off a spectacular 2005 season which saw him thrust into the first-team tailback role by the midseason injury of Gerald Riggs. Foster started the last five games and rushed for at least 100 yards in each outing. He finished with 879 yards, the fifth-best freshman total in program history.

With Coker sidelined, Foster questionable, Riggs out of eligibility and Montario Hardesty recovering from a knee injury of his own, Tennessee's tailback corps this spring could be reduced to walk-on David Yancey and Ja'Kouri Williams.

Yancey, a 5-8, 198-pounder who will be a senior in 2006, carried just 13 times for 42 yards in 2005.

Williams, a 5-10, 189-pounder who will be a sophomore next fall, has been slowed by knee problems and did not carry the ball in 2005.

Cory Anderson, UT's 6-3, 275-pound fullback, saw occasional action last season as the lone back in some one-back sets and may have to fill that role a lot this spring. Second-team fullback David Holbert also is capable of playing in one-back sets.

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