After being disappointed with the Vols' practice indoors on Wednesday, head coach Philip Fulmer took his team back into the blistering summer heat for a workout of nearly three hours in full pads on Thursday afternoon. As temperatures climbed near 100 degrees on Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, the Vols picked up their intensity enough to leave Fulmer encouraged heading into the first scheduled scrimmage of the fall.
"I thought it was a good day," Fulmer said. "After watching the film, I might have been a little hard on them yesterday. They really did push through. Some of the youngsters we are trying to count on, they just truly don't understand what it takes to play in the Southeastern Conference."
The Vols focused on game situations for a large portion of the practice, working in the two-minute offense, on two-point conversions and in short yardage situations.
The practice was Tennessee's seventh in as many days and the team's third consecutive workout in full pads. A break from full-contact practice awaits the Vols on Friday before the team moves to Neyland Stadium for a scrimmage on Saturday.
"Everything that we're doing at this time is geared towards the scrimmage on Saturday," Fulmer said. "We're giving the second and third groups good looks while trying to keep the first group going in the right direction."
Fulmer expressed the need for his young players to move along in their preparations, as many of them will be expected to contribute early in the season.
"That's a process that you're going to go through," Fulmer said. "Some show significantly more maturity than others, but there is ability out there. We have to get them ready."
The Vols have 14 practices and three scrimmages remaining before they will begin game-week preparations for the season-opener at California.
Tennessee and Cal kick off Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. Eastern time.
2007 MANNING AWARD WATCH LIST TABS AINGE:
Tennessee senior Erik Ainge is among the early quarterbacks to watch for the 2007 Manning Award, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Ainge was a Manning Award semifinalist last season after completing a school record 67 percent of his passes for 2,989 yards and 19 touchdowns. He earned second team mid-season All-America honors from SportsIllustrated.com and CollegeFootballNews.com before injuring his ankle Oct. 28 and missing most of the LSU and Arkansas contests.
"We are excited about this year's Manning Award Watch List class," said Raymond Jeandron Jr., president of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. "In our season of crowning college football's best team, it will be another honor to announce college football's best quarterback in our home city following the Allstate BCS National Championship Game."
The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, and will be presented to the recipient following the holiday bowl season. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates' bowl performances.
The winner will be determined by a selected panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings.
"We have another talented group of quarterbacks to watch from coast to coast," Archie Manning said. "We've had some phenomenal players earn this award so far and this year should be no exception."
The first three winners of the Manning Award reads like a Who's Who list at the quarterback position. Southern California's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Last season, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award, capped by his performance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. All three players went on to become first round draft picks in the NFL.
Finalists for the award will be announced prior to the beginning of the bowl season.
2007 Manning Award Watch List: ERIK AINGE, TENNESSEE; Taylor Bennett, Georgia Tech; John David Booty, Southern California; Colt Brennan, Hawaii; Alex Brink, Washington State; Brian Brohm, Louisville; Rudy Carpenter, Arizona St.; Brandon Cox, Auburn; Chase Daniel, Missouri; Nate Davis, Ball State; Dennis Dixon, Oregon; Matt Flynn, LSU; Matt Grothe, South Florida; Graham Harrell, Texas Tech; Chad Henne, Michigan; Rocky Hinds, UNLV; Chase Holbrook, New Mexico State; Sam Keller, Nebraska; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; Nate Longshore, California; Colt McCoy, Texas; Blake Mitchell, South Carolina; Anthony Morelli, Penn State; Curtis Painter, Purdue; Bobby Reid, Oklahoma State; Matt Ryan, Boston College; Paul Smith, Tulsa; Matt Stafford, Georgia; Adam Tafralis, San Jose State; Tim Tebow, Florida; Patrick White, West Virginia; Juice Williams, Illinois; Justin Willis, Southern Methodist; John Parker Wilson, Alabama; and Andre Woodson, Kentucky.
Vols Injury Report:
Ellix Wilson Suffered A Partial Tear of his MCL in his Knee.
It happened Wednesday at practice when Wilson stumbled during a play.
The Junior Linebacker's Knee was examined Thursday and Wilson will likely be sidelined two to three weeks, but will likely be available for the CAL Season Opener if needed.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information