Aug. 18, 2006

J. Mapu

The scoreboards won't be operational, but Saturday's scrimmage at Neyland Stadium should have a definite September feel for Tennessee as the Vols reach a key preseason milestone.

With just two weeks remaining until California visits for the 2006 opener, UT's coaching staff will be searching for answers and solidifying the depth chart following the weekend session.

"We're still trying to find from a philosophical standpoint what we're going to be best at doing," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We've been pretty good at some of the stuff we've worked a lot on, like the physical part of the running game. And some of the perimeter game has been decent.

"The consistency, the handling of pressure and the drop-back passing, we've got to really focus and get better. That comes back to protection, great route running and good throws. So that part really will be tested Saturday."

Fulmer said the Vols will script approximately 40 plays apiece for the first, second and third teams. He said Thursday's scrimmage means less situational work and that the team "can just try to play football."

The Vols held a light workout Friday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, practicing for 90 minutes in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads. Included was the annual preseason visit from the Pride of the Southland Marching Band.

"That got things livened up and let our guys know how really close the start of the season is," Fulmer said. "I appreciate Dr. (Gary) Sousa and the band doing that.

"We tried to make it `Focus Friday' and get ready for the scrimmage. There will be a few things for both sides of the ball to look at as far as what we might see from Cal, but most of it will be Tennessee stuff."

Fulmer added that freshman tailback Montario Hardesty would compete Saturday night. Hardesty, who suffered a season-ending knee injury early in 2005, has been slowed in his recovery and appears eager to return to live action.

The UT Athletics Department announced Friday that a very limited number of tickets are available for Tennessee's September home games against Air Force and Marshall via the UTSports.com Web site.

The Vols host Air Force on Sept. 9 in a 7 p.m. Eastern time kickoff, and welcome Marshall to Neyland Stadium on Sept. 23 for a 4 p.m. Homecoming start.





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