Vols not too rusty; No news at Vandy
Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 4:58 pm
By: By The Associated Press
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says the Volunteers weren’t as rusty as he expected them to be in their first practice in nearly three weeks.
Players say they spent their time off since their win against Kentucky on Nov. 27 conditioning and working out, which keeped them from getting out of shape.
Dooley says it appears all players will be academically eligible for the Music City Bowl against North Carolina on Dec. 30, and no players in the team’s two-deep depth chart missed Thursday’s practice because of injury.
Tight end Brendan Downs and center Mack Crowder, teammates from Tennessee High School in Bristol practiced with the team for the first time. They are allowed to participate in bowl practices because they are early enrollees but won’t be allowed to participate in the bowl game.
NO NEWS: Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams says he’s closing in on one person in his search for a football coach in a deal he hopes to have concluded by the end of the weekend.
Williams told The Associated Press on Thursday night that he wasn’t at liberty to say which coach Vanderbilt was working to hire. But he says he’s focusing on one person while still talking to agents.
The Tennessean quoted John Ingram, a member of Vanderbilt’s board of trust and on the search committee, as saying the Commodores are about to wrap up a deal with Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin.
Franklin told The Tennessean he couldn’t confirm that information.
STILL STINGS: Ala-bama linebacker Dont’a Hightower, a Marshall Cou-nty product, found a painful way to fill the time when he was home for semester break.
He watched replays of the 15th-ranked Crimson Tide’s hard-to-swallow, 28-27 loss to rival Auburn on Nov. 26 that helped the Tigers along the way to a national title shot and was another big blow for the defending champs.
The Tide raced ahead 24-0 and had never blown such a big lead to lose a game. The defeat was still fresh when Alabama (9-3) started preparing Thursday for the Capital One Bowl Jan. 1 against No. 7 Michigan State.
“I went back home and where I’m from (Lewisburg) There’s not too much to do except watch TV,” Hightower said. “The Auburn game came on a couple of times and I watched that and I saw the mistakes we made and us giving up, not necessarily mentally but toughness, letting them get around and do things.
“I feel like that’s always going to be in the back of our minds until we get it back next year,” he said.
The Tide can still secure double-digit wins if they beat Michigan State, but it’s small stakes considering Alabama was the preseason favorite to repeat as national champions.
SELF-CONTROL: LSU will take away two football scholarships and limit recruiting visits in hopes the NCAA will accept the self-imposed discipline as its mandated punishment for rules violations discovered by the school in 2009.
Last spring, LSU reported football recruiting violations that included improper telephone contact, transportation and housing involving a former assistant coach and player.
The initial probe, which began in the fall of 2009, centered around former wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy, who resigned late last season, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, a junior college transfer who never played during his only season and has since left LSU.
“LSU took quick and thorough action when we discovered these violations and we are hopeful the NCAA will ultimately agree with our assessment of this case,” LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said.
The scholarship reduction applies to the 2011-12 class and the reduction in official visits applies to the current academic year.