Vols hold kicking scrimmage

Tennessee concluded its 2008 preseason camp Saturday with the annual kicking scrimmage, working for two hours at Haslam Field on all things special teams.

"This day for us is, I think, one of the best and most important days of the year," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "There are opportunities to win games based on how well you understand and play different situations that happen in the kicking game. Oftentimes there are young players involved in kicking situations, so you can't really review this sort of thing too much.

"It was good work today and, hopefully, it has us one step closer to playing against a really fine UCLA team."

The 2007 Vols had an All-America placekicker in Daniel Lincoln and an All-SEC caliber punter in Britton Colquitt, but there were problems in the early going.

Both California and Florida returned punts for touchdowns in big road losses during the season's first three weeks, putting Tennessee in a 1-2 hole. But the Vols rallied and by season's end, Tennessee had climbed to fourth in the SEC in net punting. Colquitt finished in the top five in punting average and Lincoln was top five in several categories.

"Those punt returns made a difference in those two ballgames," Fulmer said. "But I think we're headed in a good direction."

Lincoln has maintained his grip on the placekicking job, but one of the staff's offseason points of emphasis has been getting Chad Cunningham ready to serve as first-team punter in place of Colquitt.

"Certainly, Chad Cunningham has done an exceptional job of getting his times down and kicking the ball. Daniel's done a good job and we've got confidence in our snapper and our holder. We'll continue to tweak this week it as we watch this film, but for the most part we are set."

Although a few Vols continue to nurse various bumps and bruises, Fulmer said he expects all players who are playing at UCLA to be practicing when game week preparations begin Monday afternoon.


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