Injury bug takes a bite

Young, Johnson suffer knee injuries requiring surgery

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Starting left tackle Eric Young will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps tendon in his left knee Sunday.

The senior was injured late in the Vols' 27-24 overtime victory over South Carolina.

Cornerback Marsalous Johnson, who was scratched from the starting lineup Friday with an injury to the meniscus in his knee, will undergo surgery Thursday.

UT coach Phillip Fulmer said Sunday night that doctors will know more about Johnson's short-term availability after surgery, but it is thought the sophomore will be out for the season as well.

"They won't know for sure until they get in there, but it's probably season-ending," Fulmer said.

That's the definite answer for Young, who is UT's most experienced offensive lineman.

Young, a native of Union, S.C., made his 21st consecutive start Saturday and started 23 games in his UT career.

He started all 13 games last season at right tackle, before replacing All-American Arron Sears at left tackle this season.

He is expected to be released from UT Medical Center today.

"Eric had been playing well, really for the entire season," Fulmer said. "He's a guy that we moved over to that tough left tackle position spot to protect the quarterback's backside. Had great confidence in him. He'd been playing very well."

In Young's absence Saturday, Chris Scott moved to left tackle and Jacques McClendon replaced Scott at right guard.

That will be the plan for Saturday's 4 p.m. homecoming game against Louisiana-Lafayette (No TV), with Ramone Johnson backing up Scott at left tackle, Fulmer said.

DeAngelo Willingham started at cornerback and recorded 10 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Tennessee's offensive backfield wasn't immune to injuries, either.

True freshman tailback Lennon Creer practiced Sunday night, but could miss time due to a left knee injury that has been an issue the last few weeks, Fulmer said.

"We're going to have to look into that and see what needs to be done, if anything," Fulmer said.

Creer had one carry in limited playing time against Alabama.

On his second carry, reserve tailback Montario Hardesty aggravated a right ankle sprain that caused him to miss two games in September.

Fulmer said Hardesty could have returned in the first half, but that the sophomore's ankle became too stiff after halftime.

Hardesty did not practice Sunday night.

Sunday, Sunday: The Vols held an hour-long workout Sunday in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center for the second week in a row.

And that won't change anytime soon.

Fulmer mixed the Vols' practice schedule last week to get back on the field Sunday following a 41-14 loss to Alabama.

"I think it was a good decision," Fulmer said. "It certainly helped the coaches in planning. It helped the guys this late in the year to have a day off that's real."

UT will resume practice Tuesday, after an NCAA-mandated day off today.

Streak Sacked: Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge's uniform finally got a little dirty Saturday.

The senior had not been sacked in his last 253 pass attempts, but on the last play of regulation, Casper Brinkley brought down Ainge for a loss of 9 yards, ending the streak at 294 passes without a sack.

As a team, the Vols have allowed three sacks, fewest in the country.

Polling: For the second time this season, Tennessee re-entered the Associated Press poll with a victory over a top 15 team - only to be ranked one spot behind the team it defeated.

After the Vols beat Georgia 34-14 on Oct. 6, they were ranked No. 25, one spot behind the Bulldogs.

This week, the Vols are No. 24, one spot behind South Carolina.

Extras: After Saturday's win, the Vols are 6-1 in overtime games and 4-1 in games with only one extra period … Ainge went over 7,000 career passing yards … Tennessee is undefeated in Neyland Stadium this season and has outscored its last two opponents 49-0 in the first half at home.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 18

dfreeman writes:

correct that score for the UA UT game was 41-17


Clear the bench!
Could the second string be that much worse???
I hope not!
"A wonderful team win by our football team. It wasn’t pretty all the time, but it was a darn fine effort," said Fulmer. "A lesser team with a lesser spirit and a lesser will would have lost that game tonight."
No Smokey!
Coach is OK.
He thought it was 1997.
Down boy!

DroopyDrawers writes:

Awful! Clear the bench. Hardesty is the Vols best runner if he could just get healthy. At least, he doesn't fumble. And what is wrong with Coker? Except for kick-off returns, he sits on the sidelines. I guess he is in Fulmer's & Cut's doghouse and they are going to punish the team and the fans by benching him. He was our leading rusher last year.

dgarland1#214014 writes:

Our entire coaching staff becomes more clueless with each passing year. If we luck in to the SECCG, we will be stuck with this bunch for umpteen more years. I hope we luck out and "win" the SECCG, then maybe Fulmer an Co will have the good sense to ride off into the sunset on a positive note. (he may never have that chance again).

scvols writes:

What are you talking about? Coker played all year, but has not been a spark. You should ask, What is wrong with Coker? Has he lost some of his speed. He did make a good run at the end of the SC game, but where is that break away speed? The last big run he had was against Penn State.

wkjq#213863 writes:

Coker had 6 carries for 17 yards, a fine effort of 2.8 ypc. On top of that the last one was for 13 yards. You do the math the other 5 carries picked up a whopping 4 yards.

wyomingvol writes:

The Vols win and NC Vol Whines.........

Cry a river NC Vols, hopefully it will take You out to see, or at least down stream to Alabama or Fla where You belong........

LostinNCVol writes:

Don't lump all NC vol fans together. I looked at my wife late in the SC game and said "even though
I want a new coach I will never root against the vols". I hope we win out and still get a new coach . Nothing personal I just think its time and wish Phil well.

bowerst#242774 writes:

Thank you for finally saying something nice about these players who give everything for their team and saying "enough is enough" to these brainiacs who somehow aren't head coaches of a major college or pro team despite their God-like ability to tell everyone how bad the coaches and players are.

We don't wear orange glasses; we see that there are problems. But we don't hope our team loses and we don't tear down the young men or the coaches who are working as hard as they can to win. If you don't want UT to win, go find a team you do want to win!

Volunatic writes:

marc_ash-- I thought the same thing this morning about being ranked behind South Carolina (and a few weeks ago about being ranked behind UGA after WHIPPING them), but Tennessee seems to play better with a chip on its shoulder.
Regardless of rankings, an SEC Championship would be sweet. I wouldn't bet on that happening at this point, but this is the craziest football season EVER. Almost anything can happen, including a Kansas National Championship. (Also unlikely.)

Volchaz writes:

For an offensive line that has shuffled around a bit, we've got the pass protection down, First in D-1, wow. Now, I'd trade some of that for a bit more Run support, ok, a lot of run support.
Did Fulmer know where Hardesty was Saturday, oh yeah, running into the checkerboards........give him six.

GreerVol22 writes:

lempga, agreed. Some SC fans were talking in the office this am about how Spurrier has Mitchell in the dog house as well. Spurrier knows he's better but unable to control the off field antics.

BigManVolFan writes:

Now that Eric Young is down for the rest of the season...Its time for the young O-Lineman to step up and prove to who they are...Get some experience for next year...They will all be back except for Young...

Hardesty is the best back we got but he cant stay healhty...Coker is the most athletic back but clearly is in the dog house..Foster is the most strongest, but the slowest and fumbles at key times....Wish had a RB who could be dependanble.

1974Vol writes:

It would be nice to run up large lead on La Laff. early and let young folks play.

asleep#212036 writes:


I don't know if you were at the USC game, but in that game especially, watching it live Foster looked about a half step slow. They made some holes for him, especially in the second half, but he just couldn't quite get through and make that first tackler miss. Hardesty could but I guess his injury is holding him back. I've never thought Coker understood the game well enough. He rarely cuts back or changes direction and with zone blocking and all the trick defenses, that skill is a must. Creer may be the guy but good Lord, do we want another freshman in the game during a stretch run? I agree about Young. Tough news for him but could be a big help for the team next year, especially if Scott can get some experience at the all important LT spot. Go Vols!!!

west_tn_volfan writes:

Since when does a person have to be a coach in order to recognize bad coaching? Using that logic, one would have to be a doctor before he could tell if someone is sick or a president before he could comment on the job a president is doing. These people are crazy if they think something isn't wrong with our football program. I also wonder about their superiority complex. They seem to have the idea that they have been assigned the job of deciding who is a "real fan" and who isn't. They really need to ask themselves whether they put the team first or the coaching staff. That seems to be the main difference between the two groups of fans. We put the team first so if the coaches do a sub par job we feel they should be replaced. Oh I forgot since I've never been a college coach I'm not allowed to comment on that. I'm only allowed to keep spending my money supporting the football program no questions asked.

BigManVolFan writes:

I really honestly cant remeber the last back we had that was explosive? I mean we had some quick backs but as far as speed demons?? I cant..I was not at last weeks game, but I have been to numorous games over the years and the last back that I saw that was just plain out fast was Travis Stephens....He'd hit the line and be into and past the secondary before you knew it...Jamal Lewis was fast for his size but kinda lost a step when he had his knee injury...Travis Henry was an explosive back but he was more of a power runner...He was not as fast as Stephens.

We just dont have any complete backs or a combination of speed/power backs here...That might be what is holding our run game back. I have seen wholes big enough for Fulmer and Chavis to run through together and our backs never seem to get to them in before they close up. Those holes arent gonna be there but for maybe 1-2 secs. before a backer fills it.

asleep#212036 writes:

True. Case in point: we had the ball deep and trying to get a first down. They handed off deep to Foster but the DE and DT were on a twist stunt so our tackle kicked out their twisting tackle and their DE came inside went on it. Had Foster been Stephens, he would already have been through the hole and on his way to a big gainer. As it was, the DE hit him square, right in the gap, for a 2 yard gain. We punted after another 3 and out. Are we just not recruiting speed backs? Some programs, Michigan comes to mind, seem to recruit bigger, stronger guys who read the gaps, ala Foster. I want that blazing fast guy that if he hits the secondary, forget about it. Is Creer that guy? Are we recruiting that guy? Go Vols!!!

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