Fulmer happy with Ainge news

Tennessee's busiest week of spring football practice began Tuesday on a very positive note as head coach Phillip Fulmer reacted to the outcome of quarterback Erik Ainge's knee surgery of the day before.

"Fantastic news, absolutely fantastic news," Fulmer said of the procedure, which removed torn meniscus cartilage from the senior's right knee. "It couldn't have turned out any better. Obviously, he is very pleased, his parents and doctors are very pleased, we're happy.

"It wasn't a very big tear and it wasn't a trauma to the knee. The knee was in great shape. It was what we thought it was - wear and tear and not any one incident. So we don't have any floating particles, chips or anything of that nature in there. The surgery turned out better than we even could have thought.

Fulmer also praised his squad's resolve during Tuesday's rainy, 2 1/2-hour workout at Haslam Field.

"I thought we came back in really good rhythm," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "It was a good break for us and came at a good time because we had been at it pretty good.

"The point was well made and the kids responded that this is a very important week of spring football for us."

Tennessee has three more practices on tap for this week - a full workout Thursday, Friday afternoon's walk-through in front of the annual coaching clinic attendees, followed by Saturday's monster scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

"We have six practices left counting the spring game and I told the guys that every one of them is tremendously important," Fulmer said.

Physical contact remained the chief order of business.

"We went right back to the board drills early in practice, right back to the middle drills and the inside drills," Fulmer said. "We continued to insert on both sides, defensively looking at some 3-4 alignment in case our defensive front doesn't continue to come through, or simply because we want to go that route.

"This also is a great time for us to look at Lucas Taylor at quarterback and some of the option read-type stuff. Not only do we want to do that but it helps us because our defense is going to see that over the course of the year and this gives us a chance to get ahead."

Wednesday's open date gives way to Tennessee's 2007 Pro Timing Day, with several former Vols scheduled to display their abilities for pro scouts inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

Former UT players expected to participate in the closed event are Cory Anderson, Stanley Asumnu, C.J. Fayton, Justin Harrell, David Ligon, Turk McBride, Matt McGlothlin, Robert Meachem, Jason Mitchell, Marvin Mitchell, Arron Sears, Bret Smith, Antwan Stewart, Jayson Swain, Jonathan Wade, Ryan West, James Wilhoit and David Yancey.

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