Williams, Raines, Pope ineligible

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer announced Wednesday that three 2006 signees have been denied eligibility by the NCAA Clearinghouse. The Vol staff hopes to place the three in prep schools or junior colleges.

The three are offensive lineman Cody Pope, wide receiver Stephaun Raines and linebacker/defensive end Gerald Williams.

Pope is a 6-5, 270-pounder from Julian, Calif. Raines is a 6-1, 175-pounder from Dalton, Ga. Williams is a 6-5, 230-pounder from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who originally signed with UT in 2005 and has been trying for more than a year to get cleared for enrollment at UT.

Fulmer had this to say about the Clearinghouse's action in a statement released by the university:

"With that settled, it will give me the opportunity to help a couple of the young guys on our football team for one year. From that standpoint, it's a good thing."

Following Wednesday's practice, Fulmer said he's looking forward to Saturday's opener against No. 9 California, adding that his players feel the same way.

"I told them we could count the off-season, spring practice, the summer and our fall camp pretty much as a success, but now is when they keep score," Fulmer said. "This is the time that really matters.

"They are darn sure tired of practicing against each other and looking forward to a game and I am too. We've got to be really sharp on both sides of the ball."

Golden Bear head man Jeff Tedford announced late Tuesday that sophomore Nate Longshore would open the game at quarterback, with Joe Ayoob in reserve. Longshore completed 8-of-11 pass attempts for 131 yards and one touchdown in limited action last year before suffering a season-ending injury.

"Trying to figure what they are and what they are going to be offensively might take us a little bit from a defensive standpoint," Fulmer said. "We've prepared for both (I formation and spread option) and we'll see what happens with that.

"Offensively, I can't wait to see us play. We've done some very good things in the preseason."

Tedford made his quarterback decision after a competitive camp on the Berkeley practice fields.

"Nate's going to start the game," Tedford said. "They both have had great camps. Somebody's got to take the first snap; Nate will take the first snap. He feels great. It's very possible that both (Longshore and Ayoob) will play; we'll see about the flow of the game."

Kickoff Saturday is set for 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Vol Network has the radio broadcast, with ESPN providing television coverage.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories