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Oct. 25, 2004

Columbia, SC – The following are opening comments from the Lou Holtz press conference held Monday, October 25th:

On injuries:

-“Dondrial has been cleared to practice. Syvelle is limited reps, which means he’s not comletely healthy yet. Now, with Dondrial’s shoulder, you don’t know, because we haven’t seen him throw and he hasn’t thrown. He didn’t throw last week more than a 10-yard route. So, what’s important is not who can play Saturday, but who can practice this week. I think that’s critical.

-Other than that, we should be in pretty good shape, Fred Bennett’s shoulder, etc. But everybody should be pretty healthy with the exception with the ones who were out prevsioulsy, Jonathan Joseph, Travis Lee, with his hand. Those people won’t be available.

Looking at Tennessee:

“They had a very impressive win against Alabama. They played outstanding on defense, and you can understand why. They’re one of the best defenses in the conference. They’re giving up 109 yards rushing and if you take out the first half against Auburn, they’re probably playing as well as any defense. Auburn had a great first half against them. Could not do much the second half.

In linebacker Kevin Burnett, man they’ve got a great football player. He’s Butkus Award. Parys Haralson, I think has one of the tops in the conference in sacs. And their defensive tackle, at 300 yards, Mahelona, he keeps saying that he has a bad knee on TV, but he sure didn’t act like it.

But Tennessee is the same every year. You put it on their defense. John Chavis does such a tremendous job. They’re going to have good strong interior lineman. People leave and they look the same. They’re going to have good linebackers. Their safety, Jason Allen, is the leading tackler in the conference. What I’m impressed with is how their two corners are playing. They’re both freshman. They’re playing very, very well.

So defensively, I think, up to last year when we scored 20 points and three of them were in overtime, I don’t think we’ve scored more than 14 points against Tennessee in maybe eight or nine years. But then again, other teams have that problem also. They’re a great defensive football team.

Whether you’re looking at the ones who were there before or you’re looking at these linemen, Tennessee is Tennessee. They can run, they’re athletic. They hit, they’re well-coached. They play hard.

We know we’ve got a challenge there.