Top tailbacks look good

Tennessee's top three tailbacks didn't get to carry the ball last spring due to injuries. Thus, the health of these three talented ball-carriers will have a tremendous bearing on how good the Vol ground game is this fall.

After watching the trio participate in Friday's opening drill of preseason practice, head coach Phillip Fulmer was encouraged. He'll know more when the pads go on next Tuesday, of course, but even in shorts the top three tailbacks showed him some good signs.

"All three of the ones that didn't participate (in spring practice) looked darn good … in shorts," the head man said. "Football's not played in shorts. But they didn't look like they had any issues cutting at all."

Arian Foster ran for 879 yards last fall. He averaged 148 yards over the last five games after assuming the first-team job due to a season-ending injury to Gerald Riggs.

Montario Hardesty carried just six times for 18 yards before suffering a knee injury vs. Ole Miss that sidelined him for the rest of the 2005 season. His injury was the most severe of the three backs.

"I think he's going to be fine," Fulmer said. "He seems fine."

LaMarcus Coker suffered a string of nagging injuries last preseason that forced him to redshirt last fall. He caught Fulmer's eye on Friday, however.

"LaMarcus Coker looked fast," the head man said. "He is fast, and he's in good shape for probably the first time since he was probably in eighth grade."

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