Break beneficial?

If you think of spring practice as an extended football game, this week is halftime.

Tennessee's players are on spring break but Tennessee's coaches are busily preparing for the resumption of drills on March 28. They're hoping this week enables injured players to heal and tired legs to rest. Ideally, the players who show up when practice resumes will be rested, eager and – most of all – healthy.

If that's the case, this week off will prove very beneficial.

"We've got to make it an advantage," head coach Phillip Fulmer said recently. "We'll get some guys back healthy you hope. We got Josh McNeil back out there (shortly before spring break) doing some full-speed work. And Matt McGlothlin was back doing some full-speed work."

McNeil is a talented 6-4, 280-pound redshirt freshman who is in the mix for playing time at center. McGlothlin is a rugged 6-foot, 290-pound junior who looks to contribute at defensive tackle.

Even with McNeil and McGlothlin back, so many of their teammates are sidelined that the Vols remain perilously thin at several positions this spring.

"When we resume we should have two or three more guys back," Fulmer said.

The Vols had one full-scale scrimmage and two situational scrimmages during their first two weeks of spring ball. Thus, many players are nicked up and needing some time to rest and recuperate.

"Spring practice is a physical time," Fulmer conceded, "and there are plenty of opportunities (to prove yourself)."

While Tennessee's players are relaxing at the beach, Tennessee's coaches are reviewing practice film and planning ways to make the last two weeks of spring drills as productive as possible.

"We'll self-scout ourselves some," Fulmer said. "But the main thing is how much progress we make individually, and that'll show up (when the players get back) on the field."

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