Coker learns new steps

One talented Tennessee tailback has more moves than John Travolta displayed in "Saturday Night Fever." That would be a good thing if the Volunteers were preparing for a dance contest instead of a football season.

Fortunately for the Big Orange, LaMarcus Coker is doing less dancing and more running these days, and that has head coach Phillip Fulmer doing a lot more smiling these days.

Coker carried six times for just 14 yards in last Saturday's full-scale scrimmage but he finished on a high note. His last two touches produced a nifty 10-yard run and an 11-yard touchdown burst on a swing pass. He showed some shiftiness on the former and exhibited a terrific burst of speed on the latter.

"He's a dimension with his hands on the ball," Fulmer said. "We're going to look at him as a kick returner and, obviously, as a tailback."

What Coker did in that scrimmage helped his chances of being the chief backup to No. 1 tailback Arian Foster this fall. But it was what Coker didn't do – dance – that seemed to please his head coach the most.

"LaMarcus did a very good job," Fulmer noted. "He's not dancing nearly as much as he was. He's getting up in the hole and showing some quickness. There was one time when I thought he danced too much. Otherwise, he's had a good camp."

With fellow redshirt freshman Montario Hardesty sidelined, Coker is battling former walk-on David Yancey and Ja'Kouri Williams for the No. 2 tailback job behind Foster. Yancey had 66 yards on eight carries Saturday, including a 28-yard burst.

"Yancey is Yancey," Fulmer said with a smile. "He's going to give you all he's got and make some plays."

Williams carried eight times for 43 yards and showed good quickness. Hardesty, once considered the favorite to be the No. 2 tailback, missed the scrimmage due to swelling in his surgically repaired knee.

"I'm anxious to get Hardesty out here," Fulmer said, "and see what he can do."

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