Vols slosh through the rain

The forecast for Tennessee's season opener Monday at UCLA is sunny and 85 degrees.

Yet there were the Vols and head coach Phillip Fulmer making the most of a rainy East Tennessee afternoon during a two-hour practice Wednesday at Haslam Field. UT worked on all aspects of its wet-weather drills while continuing preparations for the Bruins.

"It was good to get wet-weather work," Fulmer said. "It's been a month since it has rained, so today was good. We would like to have had some more work, actually, with some harder rain. But we got to handle the wet ball, throw the wet ball, catch the wet ball. That was a very good thing."

Tennessee's overall demeanor, wet or dry, has been much more upbeat since the onset of game week.

"When we started on Monday, you could see a different gait to them; it's an exciting time," Fulmer said. "We're tired of practicing and ready to play."

ESPN's Monday Night Football time slot (8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific) adds even more spice to the intersectional matchup. The Vols have been mixing in a combination of theme music from ESPN, Monday Night Football and the UCLA fight song over the practice loudspeakers.

"We've got a fairly veteran group of guys," Fulmer said. "There are a lot of guys on this team who have played and we're going to handle it as a business trip."

UT practices again Thursday and Friday before holding a brief walk-through Saturday. The Vols depart for Pasadena on Saturday afternoon.


The Vol Radio Network's "Big Orange Countdown" debuts for the 2008 season Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. Central) across the state of Tennessee.

In its second season, "Big Orange Countdown" is a one-hour, prime time Tennessee football preview show focusing on the Vols upcoming game. The program, hosted by Bob Kesling and former Vols and NFL quarterback Pat Ryan, airs during football season for 15 consecutive weeks and is the bookend compliment to Monday night's "Vol Calls."

This Thursday, fans will be treated to comments from Tennessee's football coaches and student-athletes along with a scouting report on UCLA from Chris Roberts, "Voice of the Bruins."

The show originates live from Knoxville's Wild Wing Café near the Turkey Creek shopping district. Fans can call in and ask questions by dialing 1-800-688-8657, or Tennessee customers of Verizon Wireless can dial #TENN. Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for a Vol Network affiliate in the area carrying "Big Orange Countdown."


The Vol Network's "StadiumCast" frequency for Tennessee-UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Monday will be 87.9 on the FM dial. Fans attending the game can tune into the Vol Network broadcast by bringing a portable radio to the stadium. A special "Vol Calls" on Monday will air at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time (2:30 p.m. Pacific). The "Kickoff Call-In Show" follows at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time (3:30 p.m. Pacific).

Kickoff for the Vols and Bruins is 8 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. Pacific).

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