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Top stories
FORUMS | CHAT | PRINT THIS STORY

Vols getting back
to work for bowl

By Mike Griffith
News-Sentinel sportswriter
Dec. 16, 1999

University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer is eager to get back on the practice field today.

"I expect our players will be focused on getting ready for Nebraska," said Fulmer, who spent the last two weeks traveling coast to coast recruiting. "That's our focal point, getting ready for the bowl game. The young players will also get some good work in."

The Vols, idle since their Nov. 27 victory over Vanderbilt, ran as a team Wednesday night. UT will return to practice in sweats and shoulder pads tonight.

Nebraska has had a handful of practices during the last two weeks.

"They have their routine and we've had ours," said Fulmer, who is 5-2 in bowls. "We also had finals, and that's important to us."

UT trainer Mike Rollo pointed out the Vols benefited from the time off from a health standpoint.

"After six straight games, we really did need a break," Rollo said. "The extended period of rest has been good for our players."

Fulmer will put the Vols through double sessions Friday, Saturday and Monday. The last practice before Christmas is Tuesday.

Most players voluntarily worked on conditioning during the off weeks.

BIG RED TICKETS: Tennessee has sold 8,000 of its allotted 15,000 tickets for the Fiesta Bowl, according to UT ticket manager Zibbie Kerin.

Nebraska has sold out its 15,000 tickets and Cornhuskers fans have started to order from the Vols' allotment of tickets.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 656-1200 or 1-800-332-VOLS through Dec. 23. After that, tickets will be available on-site.

Tennessee sold approximately 9,000 tickets to the Fiesta Bowl on its first trip there in 1991 to play Penn State.

NO ORANGE: Fiesta Bowl officials didn't have a problem with UT wearing orange jerseys in the game, but Nebraska did.

The Vols will wear the white jerseys customary for the road team against the red-clad Cornhuskers on Jan. 2.

"We gave it a shot," Fulmer said. "Somebody (at Nebraska) didn't like the idea."

INJURY UPDATE: Junior linebacker Eric Westmoreland is expected to be near 100 percent for tonight's practice. Westmoreland has been rehabilitating feverishly since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Nov. 24.

Senior center Spencer Riley, who underwent a similar arthroscopic procedure on his right knee Nov. 30, also will practice.

Both Westmoreland and Riley will be limited in contact drills.

Sophomore offensive guard Fred Weary, who suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, is still very limited. Weary isn't expected to be active until UT's Dec. 27 practice in Phoenix. He has progressed since suffering the injury against Vanderbilt, but remains questionable for the game.

Receiver Cedrick Wilson, hampered over the second half of the season by strained hamstrings, is nearly 100 percent.

Sophomore defensive back Tad Golden, out since Nov. 15 with a stress fracture in his foot, is still questionable for the bowl game.

PLAYER UPDATE: Fulmer said freshman defensive back Sterling Kazee has yet to be reinstated to the team.

"He has some obligations to fulfill before he can rejoin the team," Fulmer said.

Kazee was suspended Nov. 18 for an unspecified violation of team rules.

OFFICIAL VISITORS: Goodpasture's Shaka Hill (6-3, 250, fullback-linebacker will be among the players making visits to the UT campus this weekend.

Defensive lineman Anthony Bryant (6-4, 318) of Sunshine, Ala., also will be on campus. Bryant was rated the No. 4 prospect in Alabama by the Birmingham News.

Visits also will be made by Marvin Jones (6-0, 220), a linebacker from Hammond, La., and receiver Mark Jones (5-10, 170) of Wallingford, Penn., a UT commitment.

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