Coker is having fun

He did nothing noteworthy throughout the regular portion of Tennessee's second full-scale scrimmage, held last Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. When the Vols shifted into overtime, however, he shifted into overdrive.

After gaining just four yards on four previous carries, LaMarcus Coker got the ball on the first play of the overtime drill and rambled 21 yards. He got the ball again on the next snap and scored from four yards out. Though officially listed with four rushes for four yards, he actually carried six times for 29 yards.

Whether those last two carries counted or not, Coker was thrilled to be contributing. The 5-11, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Antioch missed the 2005 season and 2006 spring practice with injuries. Now that he's finally getting a chance to show what he can do, he's a bundle of emotion.

"Emotion makes the game more fun," he said. "The biggest thing is going out there having fun. I don't think we had a lot of fun last year, so that's what we're trying to do."

Coker seems to get better the more he carries. He gained just four yards on his first five rushes in full-scale scrimmage No. 1 but his last two touches produced a 10-yard scrimmage run and an 11-yard touchdown burst with a swing pass. He had just four yards in four carries prior to the overtime portion of scrimmage No. 2, then gained 25 yards on his last two rushes.

"I think I was a lot more comfortable, more ready to play this time," he said. "Last week it was our first big scrimmage. This time I felt like I really belonged out there and prepared myself well. It was a big night for me. I'd been looking forward to it all week."

Coker said the 11-yard TD he scored near the end of Tennessee's Aug. 12 scrimmage meant a lot.

"That definitely helped me," he said. "I hadn't scored since the last game of high school, so that was my first time getting in the end zone in a long time and it really boosted my confidence."

Although Tennessee's offensive line is still a bit erratic, Coker believes it made significant progress from scrimmage No. 1 to scrimmage No. 2.

"Definitely," he said. "The line was coming off the ball hard. Some of the holes were wide open. On that first play of overtime (the 21-yard run) my eyes were wide open when I seen the hole. I didn't have to do much … just run."


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