Ainge Takes Practice Snaps, is Expected to Play

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(WVLT) - Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer told reporters Thursday that quarterback Erik Ainge took snaps during practice and is expected to start against California Saturday night.

Ainge broke the little finger on his throwing hand during practice Monday. He did not throw the football Tuesday or Wednesday, but participated fully in workouts today.

"Erik did fine," Fulmer said. "He took every snap of practice and threw the ball well. I don't see any issues. I appreciate his toughness. He took a couple days to let if settle down and it's worked out well."

Fulmer also said he had confidence in backup Jonathan Crompton should Ainge's finger prove to be more of a hindrance than anticipated.

"I think we've got the best backup quarterback in the Southeastern Conference," Fulmer said. "I want my starter to play -- he's the starter for a reason, but I'm comfortable with Jon."

The Vols left for California immediately after practice. They will arrive this evening and participate in walk-through at Cal's Memorial Stadium Friday night at 8pm Pacific time.

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