Tennessee took to the practice field here Saturday for its first local morning workout in an effort to begin acclimating itself for Tuesday’s 11 a.m. kickoff. The Outback Bowl annually serves as the debut football game of 2008 and the start time marks UT’s earliest this season.
The Volunteers spent an early portion of practice at the University of Tampa polishing up on special teams as Tuesday’s matchup against Wisconsin looms.
Head coach Phillip Fulmer addressed the media at an official news conference following practice at the Quorum Hotel. He was asked if one would need to go back to the days of former Vols All-America Al Wilson (1995-98) to find a Tennessee linebacker who has possessed the ability to boast such effectiveness at both the outside and inside positions as current junior Jerod Mayo.
“I think you’d have to,” Fulmer said. “(Jerod) is that kind of player. We’re hoping this is not his last game. We’d like for him to be around another year to truly use all of that experience and maturity.
“Jerod is quietly the leader of our defense—not only with his play, but with his attitude and work ethic. When he speaks on the practice field, everybody listens.”
Mayo played this season at the middle linebacker position but is shifting to the weakside for Tuesday’s game against the Badgers. The Hampton, Va., native led the Southeastern Conference this season with 127 total tackles.
“He gives us a chance off the edge to have another guy with quickness and speed as a pass rusher or pursuit guy,” Fulmer added. “After you adjust those linebackers to different personnel, they end up in a lot of the same places anyway.”
The Vols enjoyed a team outing to Busch Gardens later in the afternoon. Sunday’s schedule includes a 10:15 a.m. practice, followed by Bowl Beach Day at Clearwater Beach.
InSIDe the Vols -- Former Vol Orion McCants, a native of Zephyr Hills, Fla., who now resides in Tampa, stopped by practice with his family Saturday.
VOL CALLS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE FROM TAMPA:
The Vol Network will host a special New Year’s Eve edition of “Vol Calls” from Tampa on Monday from 8-9 p.m. ET / 7-8 p.m. CT.
Bob Kesling, Brent Hubbs and special guests will host the show live from Champions Sports Bar and Grill located inside the Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel and Marina.
“Vol Calls” will feature an in-depth preview and discussion on the Outback Bowl as well as an update on Tennessee basketball.
“Vol Calls” is carried by most Vol Radio Network affiliates and can be heard free online at UTsports.com.
VOL NETWORK STADIUMCAST 87.9 AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM:
The Vol Network’s “StadiumCast” frequency for the Tennessee versus Wisconsin matchup in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on Jan. 1 will be 87.9 on the FM dial. Fans attending the game can tune into the Vol Network broadcast at Raymond James Stadium by bringing a portable radio.
The “Kickoff Call-In Show” begins coverage bright and early New Year’s Day at 9:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. CT.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information
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