Tennessee kickers thrill Phil

Something downright remarkable happened at the end of Thursday evening's Vol football practice.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer ordered his field goal unit to set up for a 52-yard attempt. Senior kicker Alex Walls, soon to begin his fourth year as the starting placement specialist, promptly nailed his first try.


Next came Phillip Newman, a transfer from Georgia Tech. He also nailed his first attempt from 52 yards.


Finally, freshman James Wilhoit stepped up for his opportunity. He not only nailed his first try but cleared the crossbar with perhaps five yards to spare.


For one team to have three kickers with that kind of range is amazing. Certainly, Fulmer is pleased to have Walls, Newman and Wilhoit on his roster.


''That's encouraging ... VERY encouraging,'' the head man said. ''Phillip Newman has really improved his form and technique, and he has great leg strength. Now you look for consistency. It's easy to hit one maybe, but let's see how consistent we can be. Maybe we can expand a little bit and, if we need a long one, we can hit it.''


Fulmer added that Walls ''has gotten stronger" since he hit a 51-yard field goal in the SEC Championship game with LSU last December.


''And it was good to see the young freshman (Wilhoit) take the challenge,'' the coach continued. ''It's not the easiest thing in the world when the two guys in front of you make and everybody's watching, so it was good to see James make it.''


Fulmer also praised the punting of Dustin Colquittt and the work of deep snapper Scott Newsome.


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