Vols healthy for Auburn
Josh McNeil

Posted Sep 25, 2008


Tennessee final full practice of the week saw the Vols work for better than 90 minutes Thursday at Haslam Field.

UT head coach Phillip Fulmer sounded encouraged by his team’s efforts heading into Saturday’s visit to Auburn.

“I thought it was the best Thursday offensively that we’ve had to this point,” Fulmer said. “Now we have to make that carry over to the game. You like for Thursday to be dress rehearsal with absolutely no mistakes. But if that was the case, you wouldn’t need to practice.”

The Vols, 1-2 overall and 0-1 SEC, are looking to even both of those records with a tough road conference victory. Auburn, meanwhile, has started its season 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play, with a one-point win at Mississippi State followed by a five-point loss at home to LSU.

On the Tennessee injury front, Fulmer said offensive guard Vladimir Richard practiced today.

“He was our only real concern, our biggest concern. But he worked and got everything done today so we’re going down healthy.”

Junior tight end Jeff Cottam, who has been out with a back injury since camp, could return to the practice field by the middle of next week.

McNEIL LISTED AS ‘CENTER OF ATTENTION’

No rest for the weary as Josh McNeil and the Tennessee Volunteers look to pick themselves up from last week’s loss to Florida.

McNeil & Co. hope to get back on the winning track this weekend against Auburn, a task not made any easier on the road. That doesn’t seem to faze McNeil, a three-year starter and two-year Rimington Trophy Watch Lister who will be making his first appearance at Jordan-Hare Stadium. In fact, only three players on Tennessee’s roster have faced Auburn before.

“It’ll be my first time playing Auburn, so it’ll be a new experience for me,” McNeil said. “I hear it’s a great atmosphere and a great place to play, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

A win against Auburn would put his team on the road to redemption. The Tigers, on the other hand, have won the last three games against Tennessee and lead the overall series 25-21-3. As far as the Auburn defense goes, McNeil has his work cut out for him.

“I think what impresses me the most is their pad leverage, the way their defensive lineman stay low and come after you really hard,” he said. “That’s a sign of a very well coached team. They rotate guys in and out and they’ve got some really great players up front.”


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