Fisher to miss opener

One of Tennessee's leading candidates for a starting job at defensive end will miss the Volunteers' Sept. 2 football opener with California while he continues to recuperate from spring shoulder surgery.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer announced earlier today that Walter Fisher will not be available for Game 1.

Fisher, a 6-3, 265-pound sophomore, joined the Vols last January after a stint at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. He originally signed with UT out of Nashville's Hillsboro High School two years ago. Fisher was having a very good spring until he injured his shoulder last April.

Other than Fisher, all of the Vols are expected to answer the opening bell when preseason drills begin Aug. 3.

"The only one who won't be back at the beginning of the fall is Walter Fisher," Fulmer said. "He'll be back at some point early in the season but, with the shoulder surgery, he won't be back (for the opener)."

That obviously means senior wide receiver Jayson Swain has recovered sufficiently from knee problems that sidelined him for much of the spring.

Swain is a huge key for the 2006 Vols, on the field and off. He has far more career catches (77) and career receiving yards (1,033) than anyone else on the roster. In addition, he has shed 12 pounds since last season and emerged as one of the team's premier leaders.

"Jayson Swain has shown as much leadership this summer as any receiver we've had here in a long time," Fulmer said. "I'm very encouraged about what he's done."

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