Volunteers appear ready for Memphis matchup

Is Janzen Jackson suspended for the Memphis game? Who will start at left guard, and who will kick field goals this weekend as Tennessee takes on Memphis in a local matchup. Those are some of the questions asked after today's practice. Go "Inside" to see how they were answered and what Lane Kiffin, Monte Kiffin and Jim Chaney had to say about Thursday's practice.

Tennessee's head coach left practice appearing relaxed when discussing the team's injury situation.

Recent injuries to key players such as defensive end Gerald Williams, middle linebacker Savion Frazier (knee) and kicker Daniel Lincoln (quadriceps) have shaken up Saturday's projected roster.

The recent absence of Gerald Williams has been felt by the Tennessee defensive line, with the junior accumulating only one tackle against South Carolina, after sitting out the Alabama game.

"Gerald Williams will be a game-time decision," Lane Kiffin said. "Other than that, everyone that has been questionable during the week should play."

Lincoln sat out against South Carolina last week with a quadriceps injury.

"Hopefully we'll find out about Lincoln in warm-ups," Kiffin said. "He kicked a bit yesterday and seemed to be alright."

Punter Chad Cunningham filled in nicely for the Vols, hitting four extra points and a 39-yard field goal against South Carolina.

"I thought he (Cunningham) kicked extremely well in the game," Kiffin added. "Especially to do all three phases for us is hard to do. He kicked the ball well during the week."

Frazier sustained a knee injury in last week's game that will put him out for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, freshmen Nigel Mitchell-Thornton and Herman Lathers have competed for the starting position.

"I thought both guys have had a good week, but the game is a different speed," Kiffin said. "I would anticipate both guys playing."

Offensive Coordinator – Jim Chaney

Earlier in the week questions arose regarding off-field issues with receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, when first mentioned by Coach Lane Kiffin at a media interview.

Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney was quick to settle any worries with an appraisal of the freshman.

"He has practiced well for us this week," Chaney said. "I'm happy with Nu'Keese. He's done good things."

Cory Sullins and Vladimir Richard have split time at left guard in the past week, with Richard battling a sore Achilles tendon as well as a sore knee.

"All this week he (Richard) and Cory have competed real hard at that spot," Chaney said. "I think he's back full speed from his injury."

Defensive Coordinator – Monte Kiffin

Most speculation throughout the past week has been over the vacancy at middle linebacker, after Savion Frazier suffered a knee injury against the Gamecocks.

"They haven't played a whole lot, but they're working their tail off," Monte Kiffin said.

Kiffin commented on the progress the two freshmen have made concerning defensive play calls, a responsibility the middle linebacker position has held for the Vols all season.

"Lance (Thompson) does a good job with them," Kiffin said. "Getting them from the classroom to the field, it's the quarterback of the defense really, they make all the calls, signals, and checks at the line of scrimmage. It's very important what they do, and it's not easy."

Kiffin emphasized the importance of Dan William's role on the defensive line to soften the load of the newly installed middle linebackers.

"Dan's playing really well for us. Give a lot of credit to Coach (Ed) Orgeron," Kiffin said. "I watched a lot of tape from last year, and I think he's playing really well now."

With Memphis coming to Knoxville with a heavy passing attack, the secondary has been an area of concern for the Volunteers.

Kiffin spoke highly of Memphis quarterback Arkelon Hall, as well as highly-touted receiver Duke Calhoun."This guy's a good quarterback," Kiffin said. "You look at the last three games' stats, this guy's passing efficiency is 125. Their receivers, this Calhoun guy is unbelievable."


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