'Swamp' excites Colquitt

Strange as it sounds, no one on Tennessee's football team is more excited about facing Florida Saturday at "The Swamp" in Gainesville than the Vols' punter.

It's true. Junior Britton Colquitt has this game circled on his calendar for several reasons:

1.He says he is 100-percent healthy for the first time all season.

2.He missed last week's game with Southern Miss to rest a sore quadriceps muscle.

3.He had the worst game of his career on his previous visit to The Swamp.

"I'm feeling 100 percent for Florida," Colquitt said today. "That was the main plan with (sitting out) last week ... so I would be 100 percent for Florida."

Colquitt's previous visit to Gainesville, as a Vol freshman in 2005, is one he'd rather forget. He set up two Florida field goals in a 16-7 Gator victory – the first by misfiring on a fourth-down pass from punt formation and the second by shanking a punt that traveled just eight yards.

"I'm exciting about going back ... kind of close some old folders from the past or whatever," he said with a pained grin. "I'm excited because I'm older and a lot different person up here (pointing to his head). It'll be fun"

Coming off a brilliant sophomore season which saw him average 44.9 yards per punt, Colquitt hoped to handle Tennessee's punting, kickoff and placement chores this season. He pulled the quad muscle while kicking off in a preseason scrimmage, however, and missed two weeks of practice.

Colquitt returned in time to punt in the opener at California but clearly was off his game. He averaged 40.8 yards and had one punt returned for a touchdown.

"It wasn't the pain aspect; it was the fact I knew it was still hurt," he said. "That caused me to not get my full swing. I was kind of holding back a little bit because, mentally, you don't want to get injured again and you know it's not feeling right."

With Colquitt limited, redshirt freshman Daniel Lincoln won the placement job by default. He has been a pleasant surprise to date, nailing all four field-goal tries and all eight PAT attempts. Colquitt is happy for his teammate.

"It takes a load off my shoulders – everybody's shoulders, really – to see how good he's doing and how confident he looks out there," Colquitt said. "It's one less worry we have on special teams.

"It's Coach Fulmer's decision, of course, but I'm sure that, as long as Daniel keeps showing he's good enough and confident enough, they'll leave him in."

Whereas Colquitt has not been missed on placements, his booming leg has been missed on kickoffs. He has the power to kick the ball to the goal line. Lincoln and fellow redshirt freshman Chad Cunningham do not. Whether or not Colquitt handles the kickoff duties vs. Florida remains to be seen, though.

"I'm here to do whatever," he said. "I think right now we're kind of struggling with kickoffs, so I might do that if I'm able to."

Since he injured himself the last time he tried to kick off, however, Colquitt admits having some reservations about handing that task again.

"Sort of, because that's how I pulled it," he said. "I'd like to be able to do it this week; I just don't know how I'll feel about it."


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