UT seniors in home finale

Posted Nov 18, 2003

They haven't won a national title -- or even a Southeastern Conference title -- but a solid group of seniors will play their final home football for Tennessee Saturday against Vanderbilt.

Most of them were part of Tennessee's 8-4 record in 2000, its 11-2 mark in 2001 and its 8-5 record in 2002. Throw in this season's 10-2 mark, and their cumulative record is an unspectacular 37-13. Still, head coach Phillip Fulmer likes this class.

''I'm proud of the senior leaders on this team,'' he said. ''It's a tough time when you start telling them goodbye. It's an incredible group of kids with a very fine record. There are not many places around the country where kids can say they've beaten Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami and done a lot of the things they've accomplished.

''I'm proud of them, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to send 'em out in style.''

Tennessee's most visible senior, of course, is quarterback Casey Clausen, who has started nearly every game the past four seasons. He's coming off a 342-yard passing performance against Mississippi State last weekend.

''Really, this whole season he's been outstanding,'' Fulmer said. ''He's grown to be the real leader and emotional leader of this team, particularly the offense. I really hope he can finish out the way he has the last several weeks -- playing very, very well for us.''

Other seniors due to make their final home starts this Saturday are: center Scott Wells, guard Anthony Herrera, tackle Sean Young (if injury permits), receiver Mark Jones, fullback Troy Fleming, defensive end Constantin Ritzmann, linebacker Robert Peace, cornerback Jabari Greer and safeties Gibril Wilson and Rashad Baker.

Key reserves slated to make their final home appearance are: guard Chavis Smith, quarterback C.J. Leak and defensive tackle Terriea Smalls.

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