First scrimmage is today

After just one week of preseason drills, Tennessee's football coaches will begin the weeding-out process today.

The Vols hold their first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason today at 4 in Neyland Stadium. With the 2007 opener at California just three weeks away, head coach Phillip Fulmer hopes to separate the contributors from the not-ready-for-primetime players, so the former can get most of the practice repetitions between now and Sept. 1.

In that regard, today's scrimmage is huge for the newcomers hoping to catch the coach's eye and be "in the mix" when the season begins.

As Fulmer conceded following Friday's practice: "It's a big day for us to test some of the young guys."

The scrimmage - closed to the public - will consist of roughly 100 plays.

Although many positions remain up for grabs, the Vols are especially uncertain in their receiver corps and their secondary. That's why today represents something of an audition for first-year wideouts such as Kenny O'Neal, Brent Vinson and Gerald Jones, along with rookie defensive backs Nevin McKenzie, DeAngelo Willingham and Eric Berry.

"We're going to go at it pretty good," Fulmer said. "It will be great for those young defensive backs and receivers to see how they handle it."

Tennssee came through its first week of practice relatively healthy. The only key player who will miss the scrimmage is linebacker Ellix Wilson, who has a minor knee injury.


There's still a chance to get tickets for UT's opener at Cal. The Golden Bears have placed 1,000 tickets on sale for the Sept. 1 shootout at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets via the Cal athletics web site at or by calling 1-800-462-3277.

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