|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
Knoxville, Tenn. -- It's probably fitting that Tennessee discovered Arian Foster while scouting someone else.Former offensive coordinator Randy Sanders was in San Diego five years ago for a high school playoff game to check out quarterback Richard Kovalcheck. Sanders liked what he saw from Kovalcheck, but he liked this running back on the other team even more.
Steve Mitchell-US Presswire
Arian Foster is closing in on the Vols' rushing record.
Kovalcheck wound up signing with Arizona and later finished a pretty nondescript career at Vanderbilt. That running back ended up coming East to Tennessee and is now bearing down on the Vols' all-time career rushing record.In his own way, Foster has been one of the more underrated and underappreciated players in recent Tennessee history. He needs just 684 yards to break Travis Henry's record of 3,078 yards set from 1997-2000. Some of the players Foster would pass along the way include Jamal Lewis, James Stewart, Cedric Houston and Jay Graham -- all of whom had NFL careers. Foster, who's currently in seventh place, has already passed the likes of Reggie Cobb, Charlie Garner, Travis Stephens and Aaron Hayden. "It's a little bit surreal because I still don't think of myself being nearly as good as those guys, and I'd say probably a lot of people agree," said Foster, who had 1,193 yards last season and 12 rushing touchdowns, the most by a Vol since Graham had 12 in 1995. "I'm going on my fifth year, and just sustaining a job here because of the talent pool that runs through Tennessee is a great feeling. My father taught me that football is nothing more than a life-teacher. It brings out people's personalities. I'm modest and humble about what I've been able to accomplish here, but I'm not satisfied. I'm not sure what people will say about me when I'm gone. What I hope they can say is that I was a champion. That would mean more than any record I might break." The only bummer for Foster this spring was seeing his fullback, David Holbert, go down with a devastating knee injury that will knock him out for the second straight year. As a tribute to Holbert, Foster plans to wear Holbert's No. 30 jersey against UCLA in the Sept. 1 opener. "It's my way of saying we haven't forgotten about him or how hard he worked to get back," Foster said.
With Bobby Petrino taking over at Arkansas this season, there are now four ex-NFL head coaches in the SEC.
• While most eyes will be on Alabama senior quarterback John Parker Wilson next season, the key to the Crimson Tide's offensive success will hinge on the five guys blocking for him. At least, so says senior center Antoine Caldwell."We need to take it on our shoulders," Caldwell said. "There's so much experience and so much talent up front. There's really no excuse for us not to get it done. I also think we've got one of the best offensive line coaches in the country [Joe Pendry]. He's been on both levels. He knows what he's talking about, and with Coach [Jim] McElwain [as offensive coordinator], there's a sense of excitement on offense I haven't seen in a while."
• Arkansas cornerback Darrell Glasper, a 5-foot-8 walk-on, was the star of the Razorbacks' scrimmage last Saturday with two interceptions and three pass breakups against the first-team offense. Both of his interceptions came off Casey Dick. Glasper, who started his career at LSU, was filling in for the injured Jamar Love, who had a bruised quad. This isn't just a spring fling for Glasper, who will get his chance. The Hogs are having to replace all four starters in the secondary. Glasper redshirted last year, so he still has three years of eligibility remaining.
• Senior split end Kenneth Harris was named Georgia's best all-around offensive player for the spring, another indication that the Bulldogs should be just fine at receiver this fall. Junior Kris Durham was named the most improved receiver, and the True Grit Award went to senior flanker Mohamed Massaquoi. The true freshman receiver who turned heads was Tavarres King, who's extremely thin, but caught everything. Of course, arriving this summer is heralded true freshman A.J. Green.
• Kentucky exited spring practice without naming a starting quarterback. Coach Rich Brooks said it was too close to call between Curtis Pulley and Mike Hartline. Another one to watch in the fall might be Will Fidler, who has recovered nicely from offseason shoulder surgery. He had a 57-yard touchdown pass in the spring game.
• As if Florida needed more weapons on offense, tight ends Cornelius Ingram and Aaron Hernandez showed enough promise this spring that the Gators added a two-tight end set to their package. The only thing holding Ingram back was an ankle injury.
• Ole Miss sophomore Allen Walker, who had earned a starting outside linebacker job this spring, was suspended indefinitely last week by Houston Nutt after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
• Opening the 2007 season with five returning offensive line starters, the 2008 Vanderbilt team is likely to start the season with a unit featuring a combined three career starts.