Fulmer rips 2nd-team D

Tennessee's first-team defenders should do some extra conditioning work between now and the Sept. 1 opener at UCLA. They may need a lot of stamina.

That's because the Vols' second-team defenders aren't going to be seeing much action, based on their putrid play in Thursday's final preseason scrimmage.

Junior tailback Montario Hardesty broke eight or nine tackles while shredding the No. 2 defense for runs of 31, 24 and 20 yards. Sophomore tailback Lennon Creer ran through several more on a 23-yard burst.

After being embarrassed by Vol rushers during the scrimmage, the second-team defenders were roasted by the Vols' head coach afterward.

"We've got a group of guys on the second team that have no idea how to play at this level. They have NO idea," Phillip Fulmer grumbled. "That's very frustrating, very upsetting because they may be needed."

Unless defensive coordinator John Chavis plans to play his 11 starters 70 snaps per game, Tennessee's second-team defenders WILL be needed this fall. Based on Thursday's performance, however, Fulmer said the 2s will be used sparingly, if at all.

"They won't see the field unless it's absolutely necessary in certain spots," he said. "I can assure you of that. They were bouncing off him (Hardesty) like ping-pong balls."

Fulmer believes there are plenty of SEC-caliber players filling second-team berths on Tennessee's defense. He is convinced that a lack of intensity, not a lack of talent, was the culprit Thursday afternoon.

"They hadn't been focused," he grumbled. "We said we were going to improve our tackling (but) that second-team defense didn't tackle anybody."

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