Fulmer likes Foster's consistency at tackle

Physical pass protector switches from right guard

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer said junior Ramon Foster is the most consistent pass protector among the handful of offensive linemen UT has tried at right tackle this fall.

“He kind of sets that edge real good from a pass-protection standpoint,” Fulmer said.

Foster swapped positions with sophomore Chris Scott this week. Scott is playing right guard.

Fulmer said Foster has the potential to have the same presence of former UT linemen Fred Weary and Cosey Coleman, two of the most physically dominant linemen in recent UT history.

“From a physical standpoint,” Fulmer said of Foster, “he mismatches a lot of defensive ends with his size.”

No Doubt D-Backs: UT’s defensive backs seem extremely confident despite the fact the Vols have to replace five of their top seven defensive backs from last season.

Safety Jarrod Parrish said watching tape from Saturday’s scrimmage confirmed the Vols were on their game.

“A couple of the younger guys were out of position a little bit, but that’s just from their youth,” Parrish said. “Overall, we had a pretty good day.”

“We don’t have anybody that’s scared to hit anybody here. And we like getting interceptions. Put those things together and we should have a pretty good defensive secondary.”

Mayo’s Man: Junior linebacker Jerod Mayo has taken notice of UT’s freshman tailbacks.

“I’m real impressed with Daryl Vereen,” Mayo said. “He runs the ball downhill hard and (Lennon) Creer has speed to get to the outside. I’m real excited to see those guys.”

Playing middle linebacker, Mayo has a unique perspective when it comes to judging UT’s tailbacks. Vereen has definitely made an impression.

“He hits the hole with force,” Mayo said. “He’s only about 180 pounds but he gets there.”

Practice Report: As UT continues to work on shortcomings in Saturday’s scrimmage, Fulmer said he was pleased with his players’ focus.

Fulmer said the Vols are focusing on solidifying their two-deep chart, hinting that nearly all of UT’s season-opening starters have been determined.

“Our depth is where we’re focused a lot right now,” Fulmer said.

UT held two practices Tuesday and will do the same on Thursday. The Vols will hold morning practices on Wednesday and Friday, followed by a scrimmage on Saturday.

Receivers At QB: Sophomore receiver Lucas Taylor and freshman receiver Gerald Jones both saw time at quarterback during Tuesday’s afternoon practice.

Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe said previous plans to put Eric Berry behind center are on hold, as the freshman is “overloaded” with preparing to play cornerback.

Once Berry has a better grip of cornerback, he could find himself back in the quarterback rotation.

“They can all throw the ball,” Cutcliffe said. “They can certainly run, so we’re going to continue to see if we can grow with that package and add a little dynamic.

“What we’re trying to do is find playmakers and ways to get touches to our playmakers. That gives you another way to do it.”

Cutcliffe said UT will continue to work on the package. When it may debut, if ever, is anyone’s guess.

“Whether we get it game-ready, we’ll see,” Cutcliffe said.

Snap Count: Running backs coach Kurt Roper has been divvying up first-team tailback snaps between junior Arian Foster and sophomore Montario Hardesty. Coaches have cautiously monitored Hardesty’s number of reps because of a sore hamstring.

Creer and Vereen are splitting second-team snaps. Roper didn’t seem in any hurry to decide who would rise to be the third tailback in place of sophomore LaMarcus Coker, who is suspended indefinitely.

Instead of paring down his group, Roper seemed more intent on getting four ready to play this fall.

“Is three enough? You never think so,” he said.

Last year’s fourth tailback, senior David Yancey, didn’t require much practice time because he had plenty of experience. In a pinch, Roper said he hopes another senior walk-on, Roy Olasimbo, can provide some depth without taking up practice snaps.

Receiver Review: Cutcliffe said UT’s receivers had shown improvement since turning in a “poor” practice on Saturday. Cutcliffe said the key to UT’s improvement at receiver was better adjusting routes to different coverages.

Injury Report: Backup linebacker Ellix Wilson was off crutches on Tuesday as he walked around UT’s practice with a significant limp. The junior suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee last week. He is expected to miss at least another week.

Return Men: Berry, Vereen, freshmen receivers Brent Vinson and Denarius Moore and Arian Foster received most of the kickoff return work on Tuesday.

Vols Honor Bronson, Johnson: Tennessee’s football locker room inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center will be named for former Vols Tommy Bronson and Bill Johnson, UT announced Tuesday.

Johnson, a guard from Sparta, Tenn., and Bronson, a fullback and defensive back from Gainesville, Fla., played together 1955-57 and helped Tennessee to a 24-7-1 record and an SEC championship.

Both have been generous supporters of UT athletics and are active in their respective communities.

“Tommy and Bill have helped build the foundation that makes Tennessee football what it is today,” UT coach Phillip Fulmer said in a statement. “The Bronson-Johnson Locker Room will serve as an inspiration for the young men that enter this locker room each day.”

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Comments » 21

Volchaz writes:

Vereen and Creer can be the best runners on the team, but they gotta learn the blocking schemes, cause if they don't they'll ride the pine till they do.

inquiry writes:

We only have 3 plays running wise.. Tailback off tackle right, off tackle left and a draw play up the middle (note no fullback nothing).. the new RB's will be fine.. it's either left, right or draw..

ArkansasVol writes:

They certainly did appear to be very bland to say the least. I suppose that resulted from a weak O-line that lead to poor blocking (last year anyway). I think a superior back would have had issues running last year too.

All I really want to say to that is Go Vols! I am excited to see what they can do this year with the young talent they have.

volfan73120#211815 writes:

jcvet.I disagree with your post. Let's see what happens before getting on the coach. Show some support for the program. I love the vols.

vol4jesus writes:

jcvet is possibly a former poster with a new post name like myself. The negativity is almost stifling. Don't judge a book by its cover....hmmmm Try and clean up your mouth or momma will get a bar of soap or just a case of suggest removal might work.....no I did not ask for that to be done. United we stand divided we fall. Are you a VOL ya'll?

gdrinnen2#226616 writes:

I think I finally figured out where busybody went to. He just changed his name! Glad you're back, man.

vol4jesus writes:

Ok. All of us who changed post names to protect the innocent must now come clean. I actually told colliervol that he had correctly determined who I was in a previous poster life. sctnfn honestly speaking. How many others will purge themselves from the guilt of hiding in the shadows under a new name? Film at eleven hopefully. Are you ready for some futbol? GO VOLS!!!

BOASoldier writes:

ESPN two of three of the analysts say we lose to Cal ... same story is last year ... they aren't expecting a thing.

vol4jesus writes:

Lou picked us and May picked Cal. Although when talking it looked like Lou was Cal and May was Vols. Letem not expect a thing and our young men suuuurprisem.That was a wish poster children. GO VOLS!!!

ssukonic#254241 writes:

OK........I'm glad Foster is a good pass blocker. However, can he run block?? Does he fire off the ball and get a good 3 yard push?

BOASoldier writes:

sorry vol4jesus i just saw it again ... check out www.espnu.com 2 votes against us and one for ... lou against us.

Hunter writes:

The last team I remember that was so "bland" in the run game was Nebraska in the mid-90's. How did that work out? It's not important that you're unpredictable - it's important that you're unstoppable!

txsvol#372416 writes:

Glad that R. Foster will be filling the RT slot. The first year that I watched the Vols (and the first year we had TV in Chattanooga), I remember Johnny Majors faking and then, handing the ball to Tommy Bronson, who then hit the line behind double-team blocking at the point of attack. Imagine the thrill when Tommy Bronson, following the season, spoke as an FCA speaker at my church! His presence attracted those who went to the churches of another denomination in St. Elmo. He'll always be one of my favorite Vols. I shared a van ride at one of the bowl games with Bill Johnson, who is a congenial, thoroughly Orange, Vol alum. Go Vols!

waterskier3#226480 writes:

bottom line is we have to run the ball this year. if we can't we'll lose 3 games so hopefully this will be the meanest OL since 99-00 or we're back to the outback bowl and looking forward to BB season. GO VOLS and beat the gators I so hate those guys :):)

orangebloodgmc writes:

Waterskier3, I hear ya. Geaux Vawls!

vols1086 writes:

jwraymond..are you even a VOLS fan? everytime you post it is all negative. are you one of those fans that thinks you can coach better than Fulmer or something? I'm betting you were not hugged enough as a child.

orangebloodgmc writes:

1. What % of div.1 coaches have one a national championship since Fulmer has? 2. How many coaches have one more than one BCS championship? ... yeah, that's what I thought.

UTFAN1993 writes:

WHAT IF............CPF DOES LEAVE U.T.,THEN WHO REPLACES HIM?? IDEAS???
ARE THERE THAT MANY GREAT COACHES OUT THERE, THAT HAVE PROVEN TO BE BETTER THAN CPF, THAT U.T.COULD GET TO COACH AT ROCKY TOP ? SUGGESTIONS, WITHOUT NEGATIVITY, PLEASE!

BobbyGraham writes:

Not to change the subject or anything, but the Bronson-Johnson locker room? That sounds weird when you say it out loud. Instead of Ho-Jo we could call it the Bro-Jo locker room.

thevol writes:

I don't think anyone is saying you are being unreasonable Cr. I think your two year timetable for winning an SEC championship is right on the mark. The problem is that this is ALL you talk about. The season is about to start, let it play out, then complain if you are not satisfied. Preseason is the time for optimism and enjoying the game of football. You have made your point already. You seem like a smart guy, with lots of internet access, use your time to disect our opponents or postion battles. Fulmer is the coach this year get over it.

BuckFama writes:

We all read these guys in this and other papers and hear them on the radio. To them, there is simply no way that our head coach is to receive any credit for anything good that comes out of the program. In their eyes, though, the coach will get all of the "discredit" for everything that is not positive.

The coach will, justifiably, get ripped for the 5-6 season in '05, but will receive no credit for what might be his best coaching job (without Cutcliffe) in '04 when he managed two freshmen QB's and coached well (with a 3rd string QB) against an incredible Auburn team in the SEC championship.

The coach will get ripped for his early record against Florida when Spurrier was there, but there is no mention of the fact that no one else was beating Florida at that time, either. There will certainly be no mention made of the fact that Tennessee was close on Florida's heels in spite of the vast disparity in the talent levels of the instate high school players. No questioning of how many coaches of universities in football-poor states have as outstanding a record as UT's coach.

Look to Penn State for an example of what can almost happen when a coach goes through a period of time where the success of the program dwindles a bit. Many of the alums and supporters were calling for Paterno's ouster, but cooler heads prevailed and he's had a resurgence. And his down period was much worse than Fulmer's 5-6 season.

Fulmer may not be the only guy that could have success at Tennnessee. But he IS the guy that HAS HAD a great deal of success at Tennessee, more success here than any other coach save the legend, and there is, at this point, ONLY ONE season out of 14 that would be considered actionable. He has comported himself with class and has stayed above the fray in terms of the "goings on" at Alabama, a situation that could certainly have been mishandled.

I don't feel any responsibilty to be an apologist for Coach Fulmer, but the talk of some big changeover is premature. He had one bad season in '05. He rebounded with a good season last year. We're just a couple of weeks away from the kickoff of what could be a very successful campaign with some attractive out-of-conference games and our usual SEC meat grinder. Now is not the time to discuss a coaching change.

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