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Vols coaches see better discipline in practice

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Vols coaches see better discipline in practice

By Gabriel Garcia, Daily Times Correspondent

August 09, 2006

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Volunteers’ coaches stressed discipline all summer, and the players had said they could not wait until Tuesday night when they finally got to don the pads and hit each other.

Coach Phillip Fulmer and two of his assistants, offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, noted the emphasis on discipline and encouragement of the players started to bear fruit following the Vols’ first full-contact practice in preparation for the coming season. Tennessee hosts California Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m.

False starts and alignment problems on offense were essentially nonexistent, a fact Cutcliffe referred to as a positive.

“Those were the two things I wanted to see out of an early scrimmage: Were we going to be physical, and would we put ourselves in a position to have a chance to be successful by having discipline,” Cutcliffe said. “And another thing was to make plays, and we made some.”

Cutcliffe said he was particularly pleased with the running game, with running backs Arian Foster — who ran for 879 yards last year as a redshirt freshman — and redshirt freshman LaMarcus Coker impressing in the closed workout.

The defense also impressed, making several key plays on third down, especially against the passing game, according to Fulmer.

“That’s not an accident,” he said. “They’ve been working really hard at that.”

Cutcliffe, however, said he still showed concern about getting “clicked” into the passing game.

Wide receivers Lucas Taylor, a sophomore, and redshirt junior Robert Meachem made big plays, according to Trooper Taylor. Lucas Taylor made diving catches for two deep balls.

But Taylor also noted that the receiving corps dropped five passes in the practice. Three of those drops were by basketball player turned wideout Stanley Asumnu, a walk-on. Taylor was also displeased with senior Bret Smith’s poor blocking performance.

“Five (drops) is too many, but I’m telling you, they are working their tails off,” Taylor said. “I’m excited about it. The best thing you see is the quarterback turning that ball loose before they ever come out of their breaks.”

The offensive line was also a source of concern for Fulmer.

“They (the offensive line) worked real hard,” said Fulmer, entering his 14th full season atop the program. “They’ve tried real hard to be physical. But they’ve got tons and tons and tons and tons of work to do to be where they need to be. Arron Sears and David Ligon are trying to lead the way, and that’s a real plus for us.”

HARDESTY PULLED OUT: Redshirt freshman running back Montario Hardesty was pulled from the drills after falling on his knee, according to Cutcliffe.

Hardesty tore the ACL in his right knee against Ole Miss last season.

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