Fulmer says PSU plenty fast

TAMPA, Fla. - Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said Wednesday he's not a believer in any sort of stereotype when it comes to Southeastern Conference football versus the Big Ten Conference. The Vols meet Penn State here Monday in the 21st Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

"You watch Penn State on defense and they're really fast," Fulmer said. "They are the No. 5 scoring defense in the country and 16th overall - you don't do that without being really good in all phases. And on offense, their receivers run away from people."

The so-called "book" on each conference has been speed in the SEC countered by power football from the Big Ten. Tennessee has won three straight bowl games against the Big Ten - wins over Ohio State, Northwestern and Michigan - to improve to 6-4 all-time against the current conference lineup.

Fulmer says it took a combination of power and speed to prevail in all three of those wins.

"A huge concern for us in this game is to stop the run and on the other side be able to run some against them, to have some sort of balance in our offense," Fulmer said. "Regarding any stereotypes, I think that's something that's just fun to talk about but not relevant."


Fulmer reported that senior wide receiver Bret Smith joined the team for Wednesday's practice. The Warren, Ark., product had been delayed by travel mixups and missed the team's opening practice at the University of South Florida.

Wednesday's workout lasted approximately two hours and 15 minutes and included about 20 plays of live scrimmage. The Vols are attempting to conduct as much game-like situational practice as possible leading into Monday's Outback Bowl.

"Our guys have some time to practice everyday and to go to meetings everyday to get better," Fulmer said. "They certainly understand the challenge they have against a fine Penn State football team along with the challenges to overcome our own deficiencies and be a better team.

"I told them there were no guarantees whatsoever - that just because they practiced well and because of this or that - but it certainly helps them if they go into the game well prepared."

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