Young pups to watch

Tennessee opened a vital and very busy practice week with an extended workout Monday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols are coming off their first full scrimmage of the season and held the opener of seven practices scheduled for the week.

"The energy was there; the effort was there," head coach Phillip Fulmer of Monday's session. "It was really good to see them busting their rears.

"We learned a lot from the scrimmage about ourselves, on both sides. Now we just have to keep doing it. We have to keep taking it to the next level and not just the guys who are for sure going to play but the group of guys who are right there, that could certainly be in the mix."

Fulmer mentioned several youngsters vying for playing time in 2006.

"Jacques McClendon, a guy we think can be in the (offensive line) rotation, possibly better at some point during the year, got better," Fulmer said. "At tailback, it's good to see LaMarcus Coker doing what he's doing. That's good to see.

"Antonio Wardlow at safety has definitely pushed himself into a position to be able to help us. Ellix Wilson unfortunately hurt his shoulder, which should be fine, but he put himself in a position to compete for good (linebacker) playing time."

UT practices twice Tuesday, going in the morning and afternoon, and then does the same Thursday. Single workouts Wednesday and Friday set the stage for a crucial Saturday night scrimmage coming just two weeks before the 2006 season opener against California.

"I'm really proud of the day we had," Fulmer said. "We had good energy, lots of good physical drills. At the end we had conditioning and it was good to see them go about their business that way."


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