Emanuel attends UT workout

TAMPA, Fla. - A host of former Volunteers were on hand Thursday as the Tennessee football team conducted its third day of local Outback Bowl preparations at the University of South Florida. The Vols worked out in shorts and shoulder pads for more than two hours under clear skies and temperatures hovering in the 70s.

"We have gone hard at it and that's with purpose and for a reason, and that's because we have to get better," UT head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Coach (Joe) Paterno was making a point to shower all these great things about our team and we know very well that we have not been ourselves on defense this year at all. Particularly, the challenge has been up front."

Tennessee entered the season replacing six of the seven starters on the defensive line and at linebacker, then saw preseason All-America Justin Harrell lost for the year after just three games with a biceps injury. Add to that the loss of key secondary stopper Inquoris Johnson and it's no wonder UT relied strongly on the offense to compile a 9-3 record in 2006.

Former All-America and All-SEC performer Antone Davis (offensive tackle, 1987-90) was one of the notables in attendance Thursday. Davis was the most recent Vol to win the Jacobs Award - presented annually to the SEC's top blocker - until current senior Arron Sears claimed the honor this year. Davis won the Jacobs Award in 1990, and the first-round draft pick spent the next seven seasons in the NFL.

Speaking of Sears, Fulmer praised his All-America tackle for his play this season.

"He's had a fabulous season, and I think it just goes to show that staying in school can turn into a real positive," he said. "He has definitely helped himself from a draft standpoint, which is one of the reasons he stayed. But most of all, he stayed to have a great year. One of his goals was to win the Jacobs Award and he did that."

Former All-America linebacker and College Football Hall of Famer Frank Emanuel (1963-65) attended practice after joining the administration for dinner Wednesday night. And Rory Cunningham (offensive guard, 1980), Derrick Edmonds (defensive back, 1996-99), Orian McCants (quarterback, 1992) and Jimmy Dunn (assistant coach for offensive backs from 1964-69) rounded out the list of Tennessee football family members on hand Thursday.

BIG ORANGE TAILGATE TOUR

The UT National Alumni Association has a full slate of events for Tennessee alumni, friends and fans at this year's Outback Bowl.

Sunday, athletics director Mike Hamilton is hosting a dessert and coffee reception at the Renaissance International Plaza Hotel beginning at 1:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per person. And later that night, a New Year's Eve Party sponsored by the Tampa Bay Alumni Chapter takes place at Boston's, the chapter's TV party location on Anderson Road. The party goes from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. and is $50 per person.

Those events lead into Monday?s Big Orange Tailgate Tour event at Raymond James Stadium, site of Tennessee?s Outback Bowl game against Penn State. The location is between gates B and C on the stadium?s east side.

A full breakfast buffet kicks off at 8 a.m., with the UT band, cheerleaders and Smokey on site until 10:30. Door prizes include two airline tickets to a 2007 away game and former College Football Hall of Fame member and Volunteer All-America Frank Emanuel will be in attendance.

Cost is $25 per person and reservations can be made by calling Kris Phillips at (865) 599-5898.


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