Wednesday Practice Report

With a very cold forecast for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt at the Coliseum, the Vols will be striving to keep control of the football. But despite this, Coach Phillip Fulmer ran the troops in for an indoor practice after an afternoon sprinkle had made playing and field conditions unfavorable. And the Vols were not quite ready to take that kind of weather conditions at this point in the week.

"Practice was fine," said Fulmer. "We started outdoors then got that little drizzle of rain. We had already had a wet field so we came on inside and finished up with good intensity and enthusiasm."

Wednesday's practice saw a lot of concentration on drop back passes and screen passes. The team also concentrated on the option package on defense. Tennessee, after numerous injuries on the season, is still looking for identification, and in November no less. One week the team is led by stand by quarterback Casey Clausen and then the next week Clausen is injured and up comes the exciting and unpredictable James Banks. Which quarterback will take the reins against Vanderbilt?

Most likely, the answer will be Clausen. "Casey is fine," said Fulmer. "Casey looks like he is going to be ready to go. As soon as they tell me he's ready to go, but it looks to me like he's ready." Whether Clausen steps back behind the UT wheel or not, the Vols still have a big concern with the Commodores' new looks on offense and will be expecting something similar to Mississippi State on defense.

"We are not one hundred percent sure what we are going to get from Vanderbilt," said Fulmer. "They are going to have a lot of looks that we are going to have to handle. Cutler is a really good passer and Stricker is a really good receiver, and they can spread you out and do some things. On defense, they will try to get their people involved. They have a good blitz package. Maybe not to the extent as we saw over the weekend, but good."

Although the Vanderbilt game is on the minds of players and coaches, there is occasionally talk of the future. And Michael Munoz who has stood out in his playing time at UT may have some new competition or at least there may be some comparisons drawn between him and newcomer Cody Douglas. The addition of Douglas, especially in recent games, has caught the eye of many including the UT coaching staff.

"Cody has been exceptional," commented Fulmer after practice. "For a freshman to be as far along as he is. I think he is going to be a real good player. He plays about 25-30 snaps a game and he held his own against Miami a week or so ago. Compared to Munoz he is more physical at this point in his career. But we have had a chance to bring Cody along pretty slow and Michael was thrown in because of injuries." The task at hand though, is still the Commodores. And with a new coaching staff, the ‘Dores will be thinking upset.

"It is a very intense rivalry," said Fulmer. "It is one of those that has meaning to it for both sides. Two years ago it was very close, but it is always a fight. It's still football, and it is a hard, emotional, well fought football game."

So, the Orange and White are still amidst preparations for Vandy, and don't expect them to take this game lightly.

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