Fulmer praises Vols' D-tackles

Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer has proclaimed this "National Twos-Get-Better Week," as a way to motivate his second-string players. "Last week," he said, "was National Tennessee-Get-Better Week, kind of between St. Patty's Day and Easter.

"The point was made and they responded," the coach added. "That's what I wanted to see, they responded."

The Vols held a physical, two-hour workout Tuesday at Haslam Field. And Fulmer, ever cautious when it comes to proclaiming who the next difference-maker might be, provided a brief scouting report of what to expect during Saturday's EdAmerica Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium.

"We've got several guys who have moved themselves closer to being able to help our football team," Fulmer said.

The coach was emphatic in calling out for praise defensive tackles Dan Williams, Demonte Bolden and Jonathan Mapu.

"I would have said at the beginning of spring - and probably did - that we had no defensive tackles that could play in the Southeastern Conference," Fulmer said. ?Those guys moved themselves closer with their last scrimmage and I expect the same kind of work this week. They have to do it.

"Saturday was BY FAR the best day those guys have had as far as attacking the line of scrimmage, using their hands, getting off blocks, getting into position to make plays and making plays."

Sophomore Quintin Hancock also keeps popping into the post-practice conversation.

"We have yet to have anybody except Quintin Hancock show up consistently," Fulmer said of his receiving corps. "He has been consistently our best receiver. He makes tough catches and runs well after the catch. He can beat you deep or take it short, make a move and make a tough catch. I'm encouraged about that."

Placekicker Daniel Lincoln has shown quite a bit of spring time improvement. Lincoln made 8-of-10 field goal tries during Saturday's scrimmage, with a long of 45.

"Britton is still the better kicker, Britton is still the better punter, Britton is still the kickoff guy," Fulmer said. "But Daniel has closed the gap."

Saturday's format for the final exhibition of the spring season is to divide the team around quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens. Both will wear green jerseys to prevent injury during the contest.

"I thought both quarterbacks did all right Saturday," Fulmer said. "They got pressured too much but I thought they made some really nice throws on crossing routes.

"Saturday will be a really good test for us," Fulmer said. "It's going to be just a great opportunity for a young football team in a game-like setting to have a chance to play and show what they can do."

Fulmer said fans at Saturday's game might want to keep an eye on offensive linemen Chris Scott and Ramon Johnson, defensive linemen Chase Nelson and Wes Brown, and linebacker LaMarcus Thompson - all of whom have been key contributors during the spring scrimmages.

Kickoff at Neyland Stadium is set for 2 p.m.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories