Coker in Fulmer's doghouse

Coker in Fulmer's doghouse

The Tennessee coaching staff spiced up the routine with a rare occurrence of Saturday night football in December. Neyland Stadium was the venue as preparations continued for the Vols' Outback Bowl clash against Penn State.

"I loved it; I though it was great for us," head coach Phillip Fulmer said of the 75 minutes of live football. "I thought the young men came out here with a fantastic attitude to get better. The live scrimmage work was great.

"For us to not have anything like that between the Kentucky game and when we play Penn State would have been bad."

A blitzing defense led the way, particularly in the early going when Marvin Mitchell had a pair of sacks against the No. 2 offense. But Arian Foster helped slow the charge by combining for 64 total yards and setting up a James Wilhoit field goal from 44.

Quarterback Erik Ainge was 5-of-10 passing for 117 yards, the largest chunk coming on a 64-yard, catch-and-run by Bret Smith. Ainge's lone TD toss was for 3 yards to Robert Meachem, who caught three passes overall for 31 yards.

"We're not nearly where we need to be in some areas, but we're trying to get there," Fulmer said. "We didn't put the ball on the ground, which is a plus for the offense.

"Our first focus is on Penn State, and that was the biggest reason we did this. But at the same time, getting the young guys some work is a real plus. They did a heck of a job tonight."

Among the youngsters, freshman quarterback Nick Stephens completed 8-of-9 passes for 128 yards and a sparkling 47-yard touchdown to Ja?Kouri Williams.

Tennessee stages a brief walk-through Sunday before holding its annual team awards banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The Vols have three full practices remaining before the holiday break - Monday (2:30 p.m.), Tuesday (9:45 a.m.) and Wednesday (10 a.m.).

Fulmer announced Saturday that freshman tailback LaMarcus Coker was not allowed to scrimmage and would miss at least a few of the upcoming practices.

"He did not do something he told me he was going to do and until he does it he won't practice. He's going to miss 2-3 days here because it's going to take him that long to get it squared away."

Fulmer said the issue does not affect Coker's status for the bowl game "unless he does not get it done."

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Rushing (Att.-Yds.-TD) -- Roy Olasimbo (9-33-1), Arian Foster (6-29-0), David Yancey (5-20-0), Jonathan Crompton (6-20-0), Montario Hardesty (3-8-0).

Passing (Att.-Comp.-Int.-Yds.-TD) -- Erik Ainge (10-5-0-117-1), Nick Stephens (9-8-0-128-1), Jonathan Crompton (10-5-0-65-0).

Receiving (No.-Yds.-TD) -- Robert Meachem (3-31-1), Bret Smith (2-76-0), Arian Foster (2-35-0), Stanley Asumnu (2-32-0), Ja?Kouri Williams (1-47-1).

Defensive Leaders -- Antonio Gaines 3 tackles; Andre Mathis 3 tackles, 1 sack (-11); Antonio Wardlow 3 tackles; Jonathan Hefney 2 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble); Marvin Mitchell 2 tackles, 2 sacks (-12); Rico McCoy 2 tackles, 1 sack (-6); Robert Ayres 2 tackles, 1 sack (-7), Demetrice Morley 1 TFL (-1), Demonte? Bolden 1 sack (-4).

Punting (No.-Avg.-Long) -- Britton Colquitt (8-37.8-53), Chad Cunningham (2-35.0-36).

Field Goals - James Wilhoit 3-of-3, long 44; Jeremy Lincoln 2-of-3, long 39.

INJURY HOLDOUTS - DT Walter Fisher (shoulder), LB Jerod Mayo (knee).

TENNESSEE ANNOUNCES OUTBACK SELLOUT

The Tennessee athletics department announced Saturday a sellout for the Outback Bowl.

Last week, the Outback Bowl announced it had sold all tickets that were not provided in team allotments to Tennessee and Penn State. The only tickets remaining for the Vols Jan. 1 showdown can be purchased through Penn State's ticket office at 1-800-863-3336. Tickets for the Outback Bowl are $60.

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