UT kickers are solid

Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer has some concerns about quarterback play. He has some doubts about the depth at running back and wide receiver. He has some questions regarding the offensive line and the linebacker spots. One area he shouldn't need to worry about is the kicking game. UT's tandem is solid.

Senior James Wilhoit returns for his fourth year as the No. 1 place-kicker. He's coming off a fine 2005 season in which he nailed 14 of 19 field goal tries, including 11 of 12 inside 40 yards. He also made all 21 of his conversion attempts.

"James Wilhoit had a really good season last year," Fulmer notes. "I think this year will be a defining year for James, as far as how his legacy will be left at Tennessee. He's been a real good kicker but can he cross over and be that great, consistent kicker for us? This year will determine that, obviously."

Sophomore Britton Colquitt is back for his second year as the Vols' first-team punter. He posted a solid 41.2-yard average in 2005 but his net average of 33.5 left a bit to be desired.

Dustin Colquitt, Britton's older brother, made a four-yard improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year with the Vols, so similar progress by Britton could push him to the top of the SEC.

"Britton Colquitt had a good start for a freshman," Fulmer says, "but we're expecting a lot more from Britton this year, as far as productivity as a punter."

Although Wilhoit and Colquitt are locks to start in 2006, Tennessee signed two kicker/punters last February to push them a bit – Chad Cunningham (Dawsonville, Ga.) and Daniel Lincoln (Ocala, Fla.).

"We've recruited a little bit of competition for both of them, so we'll see how all of that shakes out," Fulmer says. "They should be very consistent players for us."

The emphasis, of course, is on the word SHOULD.

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