Tennessee on Friday named four seniors as game captains for the Vols' season opening contest at California, set for one week from Saturday.
Defensive back Jonathan Hefney, quarterback Erik Ainge, defensive end Xavier Mitchell and offensive tackle Eric Young will handle coin toss duties and any necessary discussions with game officials at California Memorial Stadium. The is the second straight year head coach Phillip Fulmer and his staff have gone with game captains instead of the permanent season variety.
"I like the way it worked last year," Fulmer said. "It gets more leadership growing on the football team rather than people standing around waiting for somebody else to lead. Everybody takes a role."
Fulmer also announced the reinstatement to practice of sophomore tailback LaMarcus Coker, who was suspended Aug. 7.
"It's a good thing for LaMarcus and he's on the right track," Fulmer said. "He won't be back for Cal, but hopefully he will do everything he's supposed to do to get back for Southern Miss."
"He's worked out some, I don't know how much. He's been quite busy. (His attitude has been) exceptional, right now, from my conversations with him."
UT holds its annual kicking scrimmage set for Saturday, the entire practice devoted to special teams situations. Fulmer does not expect Britton Colquitt to participate so as not to risk aggravating his sore quad muscle. Colquitt could begin the season handling all kicking and punting duties, although Fulmer says he doesn't want to overwork his All-SEC punter.
"I don't think we're going to risk that," Fulmer said. "There is still a little soreness and to put him into that might not be the best way to go. He's such a weapon that I don't want to risk it."
With the season now a week away, the coaching staff continues pushing the Vols to finish on a strong note each afternoon.
"I'm really happy with the way our football team has handled the heat and humidity and how we've gone about our business," Fulmer said. Friday was the 25th consecutive day Knoxville has been 90 degrees or hotter.
Cal probably won't be nearly this hot and humid, but when we get back for Southern Miss and certainly when we go to Florida we know what's coming. I've explained that to our guys and asked them to push through the last period, through their conditioning, and they've done a good job with that."
Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer also announced Friday that sophomore tailback LaMarcus Coker has been reinstated to the team.
"LaMarcus has fulfilled his obligations to this point and will rejoin the team at practice Saturday at the recommendation of his medical advisors," Fulmer said. "He will practice but not travel or play versus Cal, but I do expect him to return against Southern Miss if he continues on a positive track."
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information
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