Vols Football working to maintain focus

Tennessee returned to the practice field Tuesday afternoon, splitting the 21/2-hour workout into half individual drills and half scrimmage competition. Head coach Phillip Fulmer said he wants the March momentum to continue into April as the Vols have fewer than three weeks of spring practice remaining.

The only way we're going to get better is to continue to play football and play as much 11-on-11 as we can, Fulmer said. We still have that division of guys who have played and are productive, and the guys who are learning to play.

That's particularly the case along the interior line.

It's not nearly where it needs to be at this point, but we're going to keep pushing and keep working to try to get those guys up to speed. I'm not displeased with the attitude at all, but I do know how short spring is and before we know it fall will be here.

Fulmer said the team's sense of urgency was ratcheted up a notch with Tuesday's announcement that the Vols will open 2008 on Labor Day Monday night against UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

It's tremendous and we are as excited as can be. Just the exposure you are going to get from a national standpoint to play a very respected Pac-10 team in UCLA, it's very exciting. Playing in the Rose Bowl in that Monday night slot, basically all of America that is interested in sports will be tuned in.

INJURY UPDATE: UT head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh reported Tuesday on two surgeries and updated the status of a pair of Vols injured during Saturday's scrimmage.

Chris Walker underwent successful arthroscopic left knee surgery. The sophomore defensive end is missing the remainder of spring practice but should make a full recovery for off-season drills and the start of fall practice.

Josh Hawkins had a follow-up procedure to remove hardware from his previous foot surgery. Hawkins, expected to move to linebacker when he returns, also will miss the remainder of spring drills but the redshirt freshman should be full-speed by the fall.

Drs. Greg Mathien and Russell Betcher of Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic performed the surgeries, and both athletes were released from UT Medical Center on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Nevin McKenzie suffered a sprained left knee ligament. McVeigh said that although surgery will not be required, the senior linebacker is missing the remainder of spring practice. McKenzie should make a full recovery by fall.

David Holbert suffered a left knee dislocation and ligament damage. The senior fullback requires upcoming surgery and his status for the fall has not yet been determined.

Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information


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