No pucker for Coker

Speedy redshirt freshman LaMarcus Coker rushed 11 times for 53 yards in Tennessee's opener vs. Cal but didn't get a carry in Games 2 and 3. A victim of injury? Nope. A victim of the "pucker factor."

The pucker factor is the uncomfortable feeling a coach gets in his rectal area when he utilizes a player he does not yet trust. Vol head man Phillip Fulmer admits that's the primary reason Coker didn't get a carry against Air Force or Florida the past two weeks.

"We should've played him more, honestly," Fulmer said. "You get into a situation where you're confident about Montario (Hardesty) and Arian (Foster) holding the football.

"Sometimes, when you get in a close game it's the old pucker factor. You don't want to put a guy in there who hasn't been in the game in a tough situation. Well, EVERY situation is tough. EVERY series is important. We've just got to pull the trigger and play him more."

Even though he didn't carry the ball, LaMarcus Coker made Tennessee's biggest play of the Florida game. He drifted out of the backfield and caught a flanker pass from Lucas Taylor, then outraced the Gator secondary to complete a 48-yard touchdown play.

Limited by an ankle injury, Foster gained just two yards on two carries against Florida. Hardesty, a superior inside runner, got the other 17 carries but netted just 14 yards against a stacked Gator front seven. Coker's speed might have enabled Tennessee to run wide and open things up a bit but he never got the chance to show what he could do. Fulmer promises the 5-11, 205-pound Antioch native will get that chance this weekend versus Marshall.

"He's earned it," the head man said. "He's worked hard and done a good job on special teams. I think he brings a dynamic to our offensive team - speed - that you like."

Coker sustained a slight injury against the Gators last weekend but should be healed in time for Saturday's kickoff.

"He's not 100 percent," Fulmer said. "He's got a little hip thing going on but he should be fine by the game."


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