Snap judgment

Snap judgment

Offensive football was an unqualified disaster for the 2005 Tennessee Vols except for one area – place-kicking – and that could be a concern heading into the 2006 season.

Adam Miles has moved on after four years as the first-team snapper for placements. Since the snapper initiates the whole place-kicking process, holder Casey Woods and kicker James Wilhoit can't do their jobs until the snapper does his.

Ryan West, a 6-3, 250-pound senior from Brentwood, is the heir-apparent to Miles. Morgan Cox, a 6-4, 222-pound sophomore from Collierville, is also competing for the largely thankless but truly vital snapping job.

"Ryan West is first in line," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "He's been here and done it enough. And Morgan Cox is consistent enough. It's just a matter of how they develop as to which one will do it."

Although both snapping candidates are having good springs, Fulmer noted that "you have different timing with Adam Miles leaving." Obviously, timing is everything in the placement game.

Assuming the Vols find a quality snapper between now and September, their kicking game should be excellent in 2006. Wilhoit is coming off a superb junior season which saw him nail 14 of 19 field-goal tries (74 percent). Woods, who played quarterback in high school, did a fine job last fall in his first year as the holder.

"We're fortunate to have Casey back as our holder and James back, along with our punter (Britton Colquitt)," Fulmer said. "They should all be strengths for us."

Wilhoit, who already graduated with a 3.6 grade-point average in communications, is on track to complete a master's in sports psychology next winter. Despite an erratic sophomore season that included a foot injury, he has hit 41 of 60 field goal tries for his career. That's an impressive 68.3 percent success rate.

"He's been very consistent," Fulmer said, adding that Wilhoit's adjustment to his new snappers has been "fine" to this point.

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