Cottam to undergo back surgery, out six to eight weeks

On a day when Tennessee received news from the NCAA that tight end Brandon Warren was cleared to play, the Vols also learned that their most experienced tight end would be out of action for six to eight weeks.

Junior Jeff Cottam was sidelined throughout much of preseason camp with a sore leg that was slow to heal from a fracture suffered in spring practice and a persistently sore back.

On Tuesday, coach Phillip Fulmer revealed that it was the back that will keep Cottam on the sideline. Cottam will undergo surgery today in Memphis, his hometown.

Cottam played in 14 games last season, starting six. He caught four passes, one for a touchdown against Kentucky.

The string of injuries is cruelly ironic considering Cottam’s older brother, Brad, was sidelined for much of his career at UT with a myriad of injuries.

The injuries couldn’t hide Brad Cottam’s potential. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round in April’s NFL draft.

Crompton Has Sore Ankle: Quarterback Jonathan Crompton did not practice with the rest of the Vols on Haslam Field. The junior has been plagued for nearly a week with a sore ankle.

“He’s fine,” Fulmer said.

The ailment is not thought to be serious and resting him is only precautionary. It is unclear if Crompton will participate Thursday, the last full-scale scrimmage of preseason camp.

Crompton wasn’t wearing a brace on the ankle and didn’t walk with any limp following practice. He participated in last Saturday’s scrimmage with the ankle ailment and showed no signs of pain or being limited.

Practice Report: Part of the reason Crompton was excused from practice was for UT’s coaches to focus on their backups. Fulmer called the practice “National Twos-Get-Better Day”.

With the increased snaps at quarterback for backups Nick Stephens and B.J. Coleman, that is especially true as the two are battling to back up Crompton.

Fulmer said safety Eric Berry and receiver Gerald Jones also received snaps at quarterback.

MIA: With the first day of classes beginning today the clock continues to tick for signees Montori Hughes and Marlon Walls, both of whom are waiting to be cleared academically by the NCAA.

Walls is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound linebacker from Olive Branch (Miss.) High School. Hughes, who is from Siegel High in Murfreesboro, is packed and ready to head to Knoxville.

“It’s frustrating but I’m going to wait,” the 6-5, 275-pound defensive lineman said by telephone. “I feel pretty confident.”

Some at UT don’t feel the same. The two are expected to attend a prep school or junior college before being declared academically eligible.

The two have to be cleared to enroll by Aug. 29, the last day to drop and add classes at UT.

Injury Report: Freshman fullback Austin Johnson did not practice. He is sidelined with a sore left foot and was wearing a brace during practice. Defensive end Chris Walker is struggling with a sore groin.

Neither injury is thought to be serious. Both are expected to return within a week.

Drew Edwards contributed to this report.

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Comments » 72

chad_t31 writes:

I hope "cottalm" heals quickly. Nice timing with the announcement of ncaa clearing warren. Is this retroactive to an earlier date?

SemperVol writes:

For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.

Sorry, Cottalm. Wish you the best. Six weeks is like the Auburn game. Get well!

GatorHater326 writes:

luckily we don't have a player with the last name "Cottalm" so this doesn't affect us correct? lol

Phowell23 writes:

For a second there I thought this was Jeff Cottam. But evidently we have a player with the last name Cottalm. KNS, you bunch of idiots.

SemperVol writes:

thanks, mr. hooker. or whoever caught that.

Colliervol writes:

Since he hasn't been practicing, I'm guessing it was weight lifting but that's just a hunch. Looks like it's the Warren and Stocker show at tight end. Glad Brandon got the good news. Otherwise, we'd really be hurting.

invisiblekid writes:

Man, the Catching Cottam Clan cannot catch a break. Brad goes his whole career with nagging injuries and seems the same is happening with Jeff. Hope he gets better and rehab goes well. Not sure, but I don't think he has taken a red shirt season yet.

invisiblekid writes:

You've got that right Collier. The coaches were throwing out the idea that they may have Wes Brown play some TE along with Ramone Johnson to help with depth. Clawson was also talking about adjusting his play-calling as well.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Sad for the young man. One door closes, another door opens.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I agree, invisiblekid. The Cottam Boys have been bitten with the injury bug, for sure.

Get better, Jeff. Your brother is proof that injuries in college don't mean the end of football playing days.

Colliervol writes:

No doubt IVK. I was coming out of Knoxville today and heard Clawson on the radio and he actually said they were preparing a package with Warren and without Warren depending on which way the decision went. Which tells me they think he's a special player if they are gearing some plays to fit his talents (and that includes splitting out wide at times). It will be nice to have a tight end who can go down field. Something the opposing teams will have to pay attention to. Between that and Crompton being a threat to run every now and then, it would seem to me that the opposition has more to prepare for than they did in recent years. (At least, I hope they do.)

invisiblekid writes:

That's my thinking as well Collier. If the coaches didn't believe strongly in Warren's ability, I don't think they would have been giving him as many reps in practice. Also think Stocker is getting lost in the mix a little, he was the most improved player in the Spring.

Regarding Crompton, he missed practice today with a SLIGHT ankle sprain. Fulmer called it "national twos gets better days".

VOLume writes:

Boy, the TE elation was really short lived. Talk of back injuries are worrisome espescially for a seemingly injury prone/susceptible Cottam. Heal well- Don't rush it!

jmbigorange#280428 writes:

Makes the clearing of Warren that much better news. He will be a force at TE.

Colliervol writes:

IVK, I don't think Stocker is going to get lost. I think he and Warren will be on the field together at times and he'll be out there for sure for run blocking. Warren is probably too small to do that on a consistent basis. It surprised me to hear somebody say on the radio today that he's really only about 225. I thought he was close to 240 but Bill King said otherwise.

wally writes:

Anyone hear anything about Crompton not taking reps today?

thesavageorange writes:

August, just a precautionary measure.Think he tweeked the ankle a little.

thsvolfan15 writes:

woo good thing we got brandon cleared today

wally writes:

yea, Dcflorida, it's a must be the brains in the family...

TommyJack writes:

Cottam boys seem snake-bit. Keep the faith, son.

cobbwebb writes:

what the frig is going on? we for two years have 2 tight ends who are 7' 2" ,and weigh like 360 lbs and are decent athletes , and we cant even get them on the field. that stinks man, get healthy cottam jr. , hope to see this guy on the field this year! GO VOLS !!!!!!! P.S. ...DC, i hope your right , i would like for TENN. boosters to have that kind of pull!

Rebelsfball2008 writes:

yes it is sad that cottalm is out but you gotta consider Warren's reinstatement a blessing more so now than before..... can you imagine the problems we COULD have had w/ no Expirienced TE this season.. *whew*

MrBamSeydu writes:

Are the Cottam boys a bunch of panzies or what??? I mean, they're like 6'8 270 but they get hurt like a couple of 8 year old girls on a playground.

I don't see why Brad Cottam even got drafted just because of combine results. He really didn't do a lot at UT and Jeff Cottam has done even less so I hope he isn't thinking he'll get the same luck as his brother.

Like Fulmer said earlier in Fall practice, players need to know the difference between injury and pain. STAY OUT OF THE TRAINING ROOM AND GET ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD!!!! This is football!!!

cobbwebb writes: some news on the bruins! GO VOLS!!!!!!!!

invisiblekid writes:

DCFL, don't get your X Files underoos in a bunch. They have been pushing to get an answer on Warren for weeks now. The whole soap opera has unfolded over the past year and a half. Cottam had been practicing the first part of Fall camp so this literally just came to light.

invisiblekid writes:

BTW, the bigger conspiracy at this point is the Rainey-James collusion to steal playing time from Harvin. Rainey is starting fights with him and James has already declared he is going to miss a couple of games. Trouble in paradise perhaps?

ncvol writes:

God speed the healing so he can join the team soon.
Go Vols !

golfballs03 writes:

Well this is really a bad break for Tennessee, and I hate to hear this about Jeff. Hopefully he will make a full recovery.

Need_2_Know writes:

Brad-darb, you're a fool. 'nuff said.

Hope Jeff heals his mind and body while he is away. When he comes back, it should be with a sound body and a clear mind. He has the physical skills and mental toughness to be a very good tight end.

On the Warren front, it's great news indeed that he is now cleared but, lest we as fans get overly cocky, one player doesn't win a single ballgame. We now have one more very good player to throw at our opponents, and he should make significant contributions. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle which have to fall into place each and every game.

As always, I have great confidence in our team, our coaching staff, and our fans. If we all stick together and play our parts, this may be a very good season indeed.

Go Vols, and I'll hang up and listen to your comments . . .

utwick writes:

The jinx continues

gavol2572 writes:

tough break for Jeff. He is a huge target for Crompton to throw to. I would like to see him in the role that Leonard Pope played for UGA- big target for clutch situations. But we still have Warren, and if we could get Gen Watermelon to free Dupree... imagine the possibilities

Madkels writes:

The Lord giveth and taketh away. Heal quick and GO Big Orange!

andy112382#209793 writes:

Are the Cottam brothers made of glass? Or maybe the same mold as that UCLA QB Ben Olsen?

gavol2572 writes:

I don't know about being made of glass but it just seems that some people are more injury prone than others. There always seemed to be that one kid in school who always had a cast or brace on constantly somewhere.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Dupree told me Marlon Walls once copied his tests answers. Later he told Marlon he was in the wrong class.

Couchdummy writes:

PD, I used to appreciate your insightful comments about the UT football scene, but this Dupree manure and other inane comments are just, well, stupid!

cjraney writes:

Nyshier Oliver decommitted from UT, then Notre Dame offered him immediately according to Rivals [and another poster somewhere on GVX].

orangesox writes:

DC- With Tebow's reputation for chopping up johnsons, i'd be leary of those underoos.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

I agree Couchdummy , the Dupree jokes are older than shouting "FIRST POST".

Re Cottam, I was just talkin to a buddy today about the Cottam boys being fragile. About 2 hours later he sends me a text about this.

gnm53108 writes:

Get better Jeff.Will be praying for ya.

I kinda find alot of the Dupree jokes funny.
What class pd?

smokey90 writes:

cjraney: thanks for the update. Maybe Oliver will lose interest in ND after they lose five or six more games this year. A lot of babysitting is left to do. I am concrned about Allen reconsidering. Of course, Fulmer will probably steal a few recruits too.

gnm53108 writes:

sjt,was this the bad thing you knew?

BSweet writes:

While I hate to hear about decommits, sometimes they can be a blessing. Who's to say we don't land someone better. If Oliver's heart isn't here, then it's best he plays elsewhere. And he could always reconsider again. I think it's important for the season to get here so all these recruits can see just what kind of team we will be. Just about all of our offensive coaches are new and no one knows what to expect. I know Oliver is a defensive player, but I think the new offense affects defensive players as well because it goes a long way as to what kind of team we will be. Everyone wants to play for a winner(well except for those kids committing to ND which still has me scratching my head), for a team that has a chance to win big on the national stage. I think if the new offense clicks, we may see a haul of some serious talent. At least I hope so.

CoverOrange writes:

Me thinks Fulmer held off this announcement in lieu of the BW annoucement. In case he needed Jeff.

If Cottam's injury is a disc, then it'll be much more than 8 weeks to recover. He may miss spring 09 as well.

Belive Ikid is right, no red shirt yet since he wanted to play with his brother before he graduated. Oh well.

gnm53108 writes:

Thanks sjt.Now I just hope this is what savage was talking about.Really dont need any more news like this.

gnm53108 writes:

Agree with this class filling up a little fast.I like our commits so far but I think they really need to start being a little more selective.Especially in areas of need.

gnm53108 writes:

And if hating ND was a relegion,I would be a Bishop.

txsvol#372416 writes:

Yesmusdarb, If a person is hurt enough to have back surgery, he's injured! I hope that it's a microdiscectomy, such as the technique popularized by San Antonio neurosurgeon Donald Hilton, who did his neurosurgery training with the Sims-Murphy group of neurosurgeons in Memphis. If he needs a fusion, I'll guarantee he won't be back in six to eight weeks. Go Vols! SAVol

pdhuff#552644 writes:

sorry, couchdummy, we'll lose Dupree. Gen W will be sad.

Maybe we could get as serious as Phil had the Vols for Fla in 2007.

smokey90 writes:

I think Weis needs to win eight games this year. Surely, he is on the hot seat. I can't remember a worse year for ND than last. But they still seem to recruit. Go figure?

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