Fulmer critiques running backs

Head coach Phillip Fulmer praised Tennessee's running backs following Wednesday's morning workout, singling out senior Troy Fleming and freshman Gerald Riggs, Jr.

''You can tell the backs that have that little wiggle,'' Fulmer said of Riggs. ''He's got wiggle but he brings a lot of punch, too.''
The coach saved his most lavish praise, however, for Fleming, a bullish 235-pounder who is a good runner, a fine blocker and an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

''The best example (of all-around ability) is Troy Fleming right now,'' Fulmer said. ''He's just doing everything well.

''Troy is a slash/slash/slash,'' the head man added. ''He can play tailback, fullback or receiver. He's a key guy to our offense. We need to find another guy who can do that many things. It'll probably take two or three guys to replace him.''

Fulmer also is pleased with the play of sophomores Jabari Davis, Cedric Houston and Derrick Tinsley. All have shown flashes of brilliance in the early workouts.

''These young guys are some talented guys, and I'm anxious to see them play,'' the head man said. ''I'm encouraged by all of our running backs.... We'll get 'em all a look (in Saturday's scrimmage).''

Fulmer also had kind words for freshman quarterback James Banks, who is battling C.J. Leak for playing time behind Casey Clausen.

''He's one of those guys who, when things don't go exactly right, he finds a way to make a play,'' the head man said. ''C.J. obviously is way ahead of him mentally, so James has got to keep coming, but I'm encouraged by his progress the last couple of days.''


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