Holbert suffers traumatic injury to left knee

Tennessee fullback David Holbert's career suffered another setback Saturday.

Shortly after the Vols' first major scrimmage of spring practice got underway in Neyland Stadium, the fifth-senior suffered a traumatic injury to his left knee.

Holbert, who missed all 14 games last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in fall camp, spent about 20 minutes on the turf after colliding with linebacker Rico McCoy.

"It was a good, clean, tough hit and just part of football. It's a tough violent game sometimes. You hope there's never injuries like Inky had, those scary kind of injuries," said UT coach Phillip Fulmer, referring to former UT cornerback Inky Johnson, whose career ended following a serious injury to his arm and shoulder during a game in 2006. "But occasionally those happen."

Holbert's injury definitely fell under the scary category.

"It's pretty rough," quarterback Jonathan Crompton said. "It's one of the worst ones I've seen. I just heard something pop. I looked down, and it didn't look pretty. I'll say that."

As soon as Holbert went down, trainers immobilized his left leg. Shortly thereafter, players gathered to pray at midfield.

Fulmer then addressed the team before practice resumed.

As the scrimmage wore on, teammates walked over to check on Holbert and offer their condolences.

"Everybody went up to him and told him we're here if you need anything, best of luck," Crompton said. "He's in everybody's prayers, and I hope everybody out there can keep him in their prayers.

"It's just tough. He was doing so good. Just a freak accident is what happened. That's part of the game, but it's tough to get back out there and get your mind right."

Holbert's injury came shortly after linebacker Nevin McKenzie came off the field with a sprained left knee.

Fulmer said that McKenzie, who was battling Adam Myers-White for the starting job at strongside linebacker, would likely miss some practice time this spring.

"Looks like it's a sprain, an MCL sprain that won't require surgery or anything like that," Fulmer said. "We'll see how long it takes for him to get back."

Fulmer did not offer specifics on Holbert's injury, but did acknowledge that the Nashville native will not be back on the field this spring.

"He has a knee injury, that's all I'm allowed to say right now," Fulmer said.

Further tests are likely needed to determine the full extent of Holbert's injury.

Holbert, who moved to tight end last fall after playing 34 games as a fullback, figured to see more playing time under first-year offensive coordinator Dave Clawson.

Last year, former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe phased out the fullback position, instead using tight ends in a hybrid role.

Holbert was listed as the starter at fullback going into spring practice, but after months of rehab on his injured right knee, Saturday's injury was a tough blow to handle.

"It's really, really sad for anybody to have to go through anything like that," Fulmer said. "It's disappointing because he missed the whole year last year. That's what he was saying as he was laying there 'How can this happen to me? This has to be a bad dream.' He wants to be out here and he wants to help our football team."

Despite the apparent severity of Holbert's injury, running backs coach Stan Drayton said it provided a learning opportunity for all of UT's players.

"It's hard, especially when you have a senior and a lot of people know what he's been through to get back coming off of last year's injury," Drayton said. "It's definitely a let down, but it's also a learning experience for a football team that when you do have an adverse situation like that, the way we react is to go out there and continue to play the game the way the game is played and the way his teammate would want the game to be played."

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

Tennessee Scrimmage Stats

Rushing Leaders (Att.-Yds.-TD)

Daryl Vereen 9-20-0; Montario Hardesty 5-17-0; Lennon Creer 8-14-0; Kevin Cooper 2-2-1.

Passing Leaders (Att.-Comp.-Int.-Yds.-TD)

Jonathan Crompton 7-15-1-55-1; B.J. Coleman 9-16-0-95-0; Nick Stephens 5-8-0-54-0.

Receiving Leaders (No.-Yds.-TD)

Josh Briscoe 5-83-0; Quinton Hancock 3-26-0; Gerald Jones 5-25-0; Denarius Moore 2-19-0; Ryan Hill 2-8-0; Luke Stocker 1-7-1.

Defensive Leaders

Donald Langley 5 tackles, 1 TFL (-3); Anthony Anderson 5 tackles; Dan Williams 4 tackles, 1 TFL (-2), 3 PBU; Nick Reveiz 4 tackles; C.J. Fleming 4 tackles; LaMarcus Thompson 4 tackles; Demetrice Morley 3 tackles, 1 sack (-6), 1 interception (23 yds.); DeAngelo Willingham 3 tackles; Savion Frazier 3 tackles; Andre Mathis 3 tackles, 1 TFL (-1); Tyler Wolfe 3 tackles; Adam Myers-White 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-1); Eric Berry 1 tackle, 1 PBU, 1 blocked field goal; Chase Nelson 1 tackle, 1 TFL (-3); Demonte Bolden 1 sack (-10).

Punting Leaders (No.-Avg.-Long)

Chad Cunningham 4-43.0-45.

Field Goal Leaders (Made-Att.-Long)

Daniel Lincoln 6-7-44; Devin Mathis 9-15-43.

Offensive Starters: Tackles Chris Scott and Ramon Foster, guards Vladimir Richard and Jacques McClendon, center Anthony Parker, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, wide receivers Austin Rogers and Josh Briscoe, tight end Luke Stocker, fullback Kevin Cooper, tailback Montario Hardesty.

Defensive Starters: Tackles Dan Williams and Walter Fisher, ends Robert Ayres and Wes Brown, linebackers Rico McCoy, Ellix Wilson and Adam Myers-White, cornerbacks Dennis Rogan and DeAngelo Willingham, safeties Eric Berry and Demetrice Morley.

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Comments » 30

Homermoosevols writes:

Hope the young man is okay. Can we say full contact?

4ss#446072 writes:

Aw S#!T here we go with the injury bug again.....

Silent_Fulmer writes:

this guy is seriously still on the team? he hasnt done anything yet and been here for 4 years?

GR82BaTennesseeVOL writes:

Posted by KeepBrucePearl on March 29, 2008 at 4:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

this guy is seriously still on the team? he hasnt done anything yet and been here for 4 years?

Seriously? That's the best you've got to say??? What the F have you done with your life in the last 4 years that we should all be so thankful for? What's YOUR great contribution to society as a whole?

This KID (and he's that: a KID) has endured a LOT and has persevered and stuck things out through difficult situation after difficult situation rather than QUITTING like a lot of lesser people would do. He made a commitment to the University of Tennessee and has HONORED that commitment, and the BEST you can do is sit there and criticize him for it? Please rethink your perspective before you make an ignorant comment like the one you made about this young man.

Ironcity writes:

You have to hate it for kids like Holbert that just can't seem to get on the field no matter what. I hope he is OK and wish him well!

invisiblekid writes:


WPAINE writes:

Unfortunately it's part of the game. Let's hope he is 1) okay, 2) strong enough to bounce back from it, and 3) gets a little encouragement from Brad Cottam who may be the 2nd UT player drafted this year despite have a injury stricken career at UT.

gohawks1 writes:

tngeoff and awhill00 -

The article says he is a fifth year senior. Is that not correct info?

David, brother, I feel your pain. Having knee problems for many years and 3 surgeries to go with it, I know what it's like. May you recover quickly and may life be good to you from here on out.

invisiblekid writes:

They have expanded on the story since I posted earlier, I hope for Holbert's sake there isn't any nerve damage. I get nervous any time someone brings up Johnson's injury. Been there, done that to a much lesser extent and it isn't fun. Hopefully, Holbert is able to rebound from this and resume his career at UT.

CoverOrange writes:

Correction, it says he is a "fifth-senior", whatever that is.

Couchdummy writes:

Best wishes for the young man! Forget all the rest of the BS that the people on this thread say that is irrevalent, you are a VOL and we true Vols wish you God speed! Get well soon.

RockyTop1 writes:

You are in our prayers...

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Acroair, right on!

Judging by what they are saying, it is not going to be good. He is probably done for at least 6 to 7 months minimum. Does anyone know if he can get a medical redshirt?

Gigavol writes:

My thoughts are with this kid. As soon as he can limp, Fulmer should put him on the field at one of the more stationary positions, like wide receiver. He should be able to trot 3 yards; stand; and catch.

myvols2002 writes:

Sounds like a really bad situation maybe even career ending. My prayers go out to him. If he is able to return I would think he would be able to receive a 6th year.

agentorange writes:

if someone can't beat austin rogers out to start at wr, i'm going to puke.

givehim6 writes:

My prayers and thoughts to you young man. It sounds like UT was off to a great start, but unfortunately murphy law and UT football seem to go hand-n-hand. be safe guys. GO VOLS!

hmhawk writes:

Prayers out to Holbert.To KEEPBRUCEPEARL,we can only hope your mouth closes permanently and your fingers fall off.GO VOLS!!!!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

What a shame! If you look in the dictionary for "snake-bit", Holbert's picture would be beside it! I remember when he was recruited, he was regarded as one of our big "gets" for that class. I really feel for the young man, but this is another prime example of the difficulty of projecting performance of recruits, regardless of the number of stars someone puts by a name. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, David! Thanks for your commitment and hard work! Buckle down in the classroom so you will get as much as possible out of your time here!

bluetick writes:

Yea I agree with you John.. Holbert is a stud, but injuries have kept him out of the picture for the most part. It's a shame these guys get all messed up like that at an early age, but I guess it's part of the chances they take. Look at what it did to Michael Munoz. I think this was a freak accident that happened, but Rico McCoy is known also for knocking the snot out of some people. That guy is a total beast! Too bad is was against someone we really need this year. Hope he will be okay and recover soon. I can't wait for August! :) Go Vols and get well soon David.

bluetick writes:

I personally like Austin Rogers myself. I know he's had some dropped balls that were right in his hands, but he's also made some tough catches. I think he'll be okay this year. I think Quinton Hancock is going to have a big year this year too. And does anybody know what ever happened to Slick Shelly ?? He was there one day then gone the next, but don't remember reading anything about it. Whatever happened stinks because he seemed to have tons of potential.

gohawks1 writes:

There was an article in this morning's paper about the injury - it sounds like an ugly one. Some comments compared it to the Joe Theisman injury or the Prothro injury. It doesn't get much worse than that.

gohawks1 writes:

et_vol or anyone -

Any word on Rae Sykes? Is he still with the team, or did he have academic issues or what?

utclassof1992 writes:

Ashley, if that offends you, dont read anything else I write about CPF. I seriously hate that man, and I have more reason than just wins and losses. Your precious ears just might fall off.

utclassof1992 writes:

I hope the NCAA gives him one more year of eligibilty. That is if can ever play again. Kinda puts our lives in perspective, don't it.

gohawks1 writes:

Thanks for the info. Maybe after a couple of years in JC, he can still come on board.

LargeOrange writes:

Really low class comments, KeepBrucePearl and Gigavol, I would rather have Gators and Bama fans on here bashing the Vols than to have to listen to these bitter little boys.

MillisaAnn writes:

Holbert has my prayers.

orangebloodgmc writes:

We're pulling for ya, David Holbert. My child was all-state in high school, tore acl 3 times and meniscus once, was determined to rehab every time and after all that, played junior and senior years in college (we didn't force 'em to, but supported them and allowed them to do it).

Freshly_Cut_Grass writes:


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