Parker out, Mayo questionable

One of Tennessee's first-team guards definitely will miss the Volunteers' Jan. 1 showdown with Penn State in the Outback Bowl, and one of their starting linebackers is questionable for the game, as well.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer confirmed Sunday evening that Anthony Parker will be unavailable for the bowl game following knee surgery.

"Anthony Parker had a knee scoped, and they found a tear," the coach said. "He will be officially out."

First-team weakside linebacker Jerod Mayo is neither in nor out at this point. The 6-2, 230-pound sophomore missed the regular-season finale against Kentucky due to a left knee injury and might miss the bowl game, too. Team doctors have not yet announced his status, despite some positive signs in the healing process.

"They are really pleased with the progress he has made," Fulmer said. "They haven't found a break in the bone, so they're encouraged that he'll be able to participate. He looks like he's better than he was but I can't say at this time if he'll play or not."

If Mayo can't go, 6-1, 215-pound redshirt freshman Rico McCoy will get his second career start. He started against Kentucky and recorded a career-high nine tackles.

Parker, a 6-3, 305-pound sophomore, started all 12 regular-season games at right guard. His replacement in the starting lineup will be either freshman Jacques McClendon (6-3, 325) or sophomore Ramon Foster (6-6, 325). McClendon has been listed No. 2 at right guard, while Foster has been listed No. 2 at left guard behind David Ligon.

"Jacques will move up and Ramon Foster will move up," Fulmer said.

Except for the injuries to Foster and Mayo, Tennessee should be close to full strength when it assembles to begin bowl preparations later this week.

"We should be in better shape by the time we start practice officially on Saturday," Fulmer said, adding: "I don't have an updated injury report but we should be much healthier than we were for the last game."

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