Fulmer to act 'swiftly and firmly'

Fulmer to act 'swiftly and firmly'

Until he meets with all of the parties involved, Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer has little to say regarding the Sunday morning arrest of three players on charges of disorderly conduct and underage consumption.

Speaking on his Sunday evening teleconference, the Vol boss did promise to deal with the situation "swiftly and firmly."

First-team tailback Arian Foster, second-team fullback David Holbert and second-team safety Antonio Wardlow were arrested at a Knoxville pizza parlor around 3 a.m., roughly 7½ hours after LSU scored with nine seconds left to hand the Vols a heart-breaking 28-24 setback at Neyland Stadium.

Phillip Fulmer said the Vols have an 11 o'clock curfew from Wednesday through Friday on game weeks but that the curfew is not in effect on game nights.

Although its hopes of earning a BCS bowl bid may have ended Saturday, Tennessee (7-2 overall, 3-2 in SEC play) still has a shot at achieving a mid-level bowl bid and a top-10 national ranking. The Big Orange is 13th in the latest Associated Press poll and 15th in the USA Today Coaches' poll.

The Vols will be hard-pressed to win this weekend, however, since they must play SEC West leader Arkansas (8-1, 5-0) in Fayetteville. Their chances grow even slimmer if Foster, Holbert and Wardlow are suspended.

Foster, in particular, would be missed. A second-team preseason All-SEC pick, he was UT's leading ground-gainer against LSU with 44 net yards on 10 carries. Since LaMarcus Coker is questionable due to a strained knee and Montario Hardesty missed most of the LSU game with a mild head injury, Tennessee conceivably could be without its top three tailbacks this Saturday.

Fulmer declined to speculate on what might happen if Foster is suspended, however.

"I'm not going to get into any of that," the coach said. "I do expect LaMarcus back, and Montario should be healthy."

Coker was expected to miss the remainder of the regular season after straining his knee in Game 7 against Alabama. He has recovered much faster than expected, however, and might be able to play this weekend.

"I'm hopeful he'll play this week," Fulmer said. "I do expect him back for practice. He's about a week ahead of schedule ... what they (team doctors) thought would be the earliest. I think he might (play) and he thinks he might."

Fulmer said Hardesty was "shaken up" on his second carry of the LSU game, stopping short of calling the injury a concussion.

The head man said he has nothing new to report on junior quarterback Erik Ainge, who re-injured his right ankle in the first quarter vs. LSU and gave way to backup QB Jonathan Crompton.

"I don't have any update," Fulmer said. "I do expect to hear (a report from the trainer) a little later in the evening, then we'll decide on a plan of action. We'll have to spend some time talking about that tonight."

First-team middle linebacker Marvin Mitchell sustained a shoulder injury that sidelined him for part of the LSU game but he returned to action in the final quarter.

"I think he'll be all right for Arkansas," Fulmer said, "but he'll be limited somewhat during the week."

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