DE Williams works with No. 1 unit

Tennessee's depth chart is extremely fluid 3 1/2 weeks before the season-opener. For now at least, Gerald Williams has risen to the top.

The junior defensive end worked Tuesday with the No. 1 unit for the second consecutive day ahead of Ben Martin.

"He's continued to make plays,'' UT coach Lane Kiffin said of Williams.

He persevered through a three-year maze of NCAA eligibility hurdles to finally play as a reserve for the Vols in 2008.

Williams appeared in eight games and was in on 12 tackles.

"We moved him ahead of some guys and he responded and had a great day,'' Kiffin said. "We finally had to crack him over there because we couldn't block him.''

Projected starter Chris Walker was back with the top defense at right end after being held out of Monday evening's practice as a precaution.

After practicing twice on Monday, the Vols worked only once Tuesday, going inside the Neyland-Thompson Complex in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

Personnel experimentation continued, especially on defense.

With both Rico McCoy and LaMarcus Thompson out at strong and weakside linebacker, respectively, Savion Frazier and freshman Greg King worked with the first team, flanking middle linebacker Nick Reveiz.

Kiffin relishes the intense competition in the secondary, heightened by the presence of several athletes who can play both safety and cornerback.

True freshman cornerback Mike Edwards got another complimentary mention from Kiffin.

Anthony Anderson and Marsalous Johnson worked as the No. 1 cornerbacks Tuesday.

On the offensive side, senior tackle Chris Scott earned praise from both Kiffin and line coach James Cregg.

"Whatever he did in the summer, he's changed his whole body type,'' Cregg said, "and changed the way he was working.

"It really means something to him. It's his senior year and I think he wants to go out the way he wants to go out. You're only as good as your seniors play.''

Catching On: Freshman tailbacks Bryce Brown and David Oku worked with the receivers at least one period, an indication Kiffin wants to get them the ball in a variety of ways.

"They're both really phenomenal pass-catchers,'' Kiffin said. "Extremely natural, extremely smooth.

"The staff was asking me what it was like (at Southern Cal) when we had LenDale White and Reggie Bush the same year, Thunder and Lightning, and these guys are built the same way, a bigger guy and a littler guy.

"But both of 'em are guys you can play outside and do a lot of things. It's exciting to have.''

Tight Battle: Luke Stocker and Jeff Cottam are competing hard at tight end. No matter who starts, the other won't be standing idle.

"For us to be successful,'' Kiffin said, "they're both going to need to play a ton, I think. So we need to make sure they're used to that now and they're responding to that extremely well.''

Fulmer Leaves Stokely: Former coach Phillip Fulmer has vacated the office in Stokely Athletic Center that had been provided him by UT.

The secretary assigned to Fulmer works primarily for the Lady Vols but still handles some publicity assignments for Fulmer, according to UT spokesperson Tiffany Carpenter.

Injury Report: Receiver Gerald Jones did not finish practice after a tumble on a pass route that appeared to affect his left leg.

Reserve defensive tackle Andre Mathis was helped to the training room late in the afternoon. No word yet on his injury.

Center Josh McNeil and fullback Kenneth Cooper were back at work after being held out of contact on Monday. McNeil worked with the No. 1 offense at least part of the day.

Inside Job: Kiffin said the practice was held inside to conserve the grass on Haslem Field, not because early afternoon showers.

"It's not because we're afraid to play in the rain,'' he said, "but because we value our field so much.

"Since we have (an indoor facility) there's no point in tearing it up.''

Observations: Jonathan Crompton appeared to have another sharp day throwing the ball. Nick Stephens was intercepted by freshman Nyshier Oliver in one drill. ... Brandon Warren looked good at receiver. ... Receiver Nu'Keese Richardson took a few snaps at quarterback for a second consecutive day.

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Comments » 21

vol_chaz writes:

Glad for this young man.. He's never found his fit.. until now.

blitzshoot writes:

Fulmer has left the building

dvols writes:

way tot take care of your field coach, no sense in practicing on mud!

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

And stay gone. With the 6 million you stole you can buy your own office building and staff. Why continue to take from the University? Haven't you received enough?

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Let's hope Williams doesn't go throwing jabs into someone's stomach again. I love the Vols, but allowing him to do that unpunished is terrible.

mbushnell writes:

This is the first time in many years that I have truly been excited about our football team. FEAR THE KIFFIN!

99gator writes:

if ben martin does not start this season, you can officially classify him as a bust.

good for williams

GOVOLS123 writes:

Kenneth Cooper? Do you mean last years starting full back Kevin Cooper?

voloffaith writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

And stay gone. With the 6 million you stole you can buy your own office building and staff. Why continue to take from the University? Haven't you received enough?

Do the words 'get over it!' mean anything to you? We have a new coach and staff. Be happy! Leave Coach Fulmer alone. I don't agree with your harsh word " stole' at all. Did alot of great things for the university and yes it was probably time for a change, but give it rest at kicking him every chance you get.

On topic, glad to see Mr. Williams getting some significant practice time b4 he collects social security.

GO VOLS!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks Bob.

Love to see the attention on the OL.

cmoore7 writes:

Regardless of who you are pulling for to start at LE, this situation is exactly what builds depth and is exactly what the coaches are looking for. It's one thing to say you are being pushed by the guys behind you. It's a totally different feeling to actually lose your spot to one of them.

richvol writes:

Glad to see that the projected starters don't have their positions sewed up. Williams replacing Martin doesn't mean that Martin is a bust...it means that Williams is unblockable as mentioned in the story. Williams is also 3 years older than the other players and at that age 3 years is a lot of development time strengthwise.

Good to hear that one of our local boys,Anthony Anderson,is getting a shot with the first string too. He was a heck of a player that had a rep as a big hitter in high school. I didn't realize that he was fast enough to play corner.

dw0731 writes:

This is great news about Gerald Williams. I was wondering if he was still on the team because there was zero news about him. The litmus test for a good defense is can you stop a good offense when you absolutely must to win the game. While the offense rightfully gets maligned for its horrible play, I remember to many situations over the last several years of the defense not holding in critical situations. CLK has a little Bear Bryant in him with the tough practices and we all hope it will result in a defense that has the tenacity to make a stop on 4 down and 3 yards from the 40 yard line against Alabama secure a win. CPF was guilty of reading his press clippings from the 90's. His teams during the last 7 seasons were not well conditioned and it showed up during the 4th quarter. My hope is that even if we don't beat UF or UA we gave them a game and they were never able to put bench players in to give them practice .

Volunatic writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Do the words 'get over it!' mean anything to you? We have a new coach and staff. Be happy! Leave Coach Fulmer alone. I don't agree with your harsh word " stole' at all. Did alot of great things for the university and yes it was probably time for a change, but give it rest at kicking him every chance you get.

On topic, glad to see Mr. Williams getting some significant practice time b4 he collects social security.

GO VOLS!!!

Well said. Time for some of the Fulmer-haters to move on. There's a new coach at UT, and new excitement within the program. I think the change is refreshing. No need to dwell on sore points from the past.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Awe man! Practicing in the mud is a blast! Let'em have some fun coach!

Dang this cool-aid is gooood.

pms151 writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

And stay gone. With the 6 million you stole you can buy your own office building and staff. Why continue to take from the University? Haven't you received enough?

I still have the national championship KNS hanging in a frame over my desk. Were you even born then or are just gene challenged? They were a great team for more than a decade. Go find another college coaching staff and say the same.

Volin68 writes:

in response to pms151:

I still have the national championship KNS hanging in a frame over my desk. Were you even born then or are just gene challenged? They were a great team for more than a decade. Go find another college coaching staff and say the same.

Leave'em alone. They're little boys who never could but figure on the net they can pretend to know something. GO Vols go SCOTT!! wow looks good no positions all sewed up and loafing while the 2nd teamers take a beatin'.

OrangeMagic writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

And stay gone. With the 6 million you stole you can buy your own office building and staff. Why continue to take from the University? Haven't you received enough?

I do like your screen name. I thought I was the only one hated that "Woo" after Rocky Top. Wish they'd never started that.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Count me among those that hate the WOO

TSNSD4UT writes:

The woo is a bunch of poo.

xvolx writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

Let's hope Williams doesn't go throwing jabs into someone's stomach again. I love the Vols, but allowing him to do that unpunished is terrible.

I have to agree with your post. That punch to the stomach was along the same line as marcus vick intentionlly stomping on a player on the field. We don't need any thugs on this team. I never heard Williams apologize for his action.

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