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  1. #1
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    Vols counting on healthy linebacker Simon in final season

    Aug. 18, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer ranks Kevin Simon as one of the most dominant players to ever suit up for the Volunteers -- when the linebacker has been healthy.

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    And that's the problem.

    Simon's been injured so much during his college career, he hasn't had much chance to prove his coach right.

    The senior has made it through only one full season at Tennessee because of three major injuries since high school, when he was one of the top recruits in the country.

    "It's a major compliment," Simon said about Fulmer's statement. "I just hope I don't make him look bad. When a coach says something like that about you, you want to prove him right."

    Simon wants to make the most of his final season this fall as the starting middle linebacker on a team considered to be the favorite for the Southeastern Conference championship.

    Simon came to Knoxville from De La Salle High School, a private, all-boys school in suburban San Francisco, which had a 151-game winning streak end last year. Some of Simon's teammates went to other big-time programs like Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami.

    Simon's stellar high school career ended in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with a severe knee injury, and he was redshirted in his first year at Tennessee. In 2002, he earned a starting spot, but broke his ankle in the fourth game.

    After another surgery and recovery, Simon led Tennessee in tackles with 115 in 2003 as a sophomore, his only complete season.

    Believing he was finally on track to make his mark as a Vol, Simon tore his ACL in the second game last season and sat out the rest of the year.

    Simon looks healthy again with his speed, instincts and enormous biceps.

    "I haven't felt this good since I've been at Tennessee," he said after practice this week.

    Fulmer said Simon will be a key part of the team's success.


    "He's as dominating a football player as we've had when he's playing at his best," Fulmer said.

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    This summer, Simon watched at least an hour of film a day from old Tennessee games, other college teams and NFL squads such as Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore and Denver to analyze other middle linebackers.

    One of those players was Al Wilson, a favorite of Tennessee fans for his emotional leadership during the 1998 national championship run. Simon is cautious about comparing himself to Wilson.

    "There's some similarities, but I've got some special things to do before I can say that I'm at that level. I'm definitely working hard to get there," Simon said.

    Simon's older brother, Ken, was shot and killed in 2001. He would have turned 30 this year.

    "He was Kevin's idol," Cy Simon said about his sons.

    Kevin still uses Ken as a role model.

    "You'd have to know him or see him or talk to his friends," Kevin said, "but he really was a special person to a lot of people. Football aside, (in) daily life I try to be just like my brother."

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  2. #2
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    Re: Vols counting on healthy linebacker Simon in final season

    If there was one team I would wish to have zero wins for a season, it would be Tennessee. If I had one sports wish my entire life, it would be that the University of Tennessee NEVER NEVER NEVER would win another football game in it's life. Not my life, but the University of Tennessee's life. EVER.

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    Re: Vols counting on healthy linebacker Simon in final season

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    If there was one team I would wish to have zero wins for a season, it would be Tennessee. If I had one sports wish my entire life, it would be that the University of Tennessee NEVER NEVER NEVER would win another football game in it's life. Not my life, but the University of Tennessee's life. EVER.
    let me see if I have this straight....you're saying you are not a Vol fan? Or did I misinterpret your comments?LOL
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
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    Re: Vols counting on healthy linebacker Simon in final season

    I don't know if maybe it's the region I live in, but I haven't heard a resounding anger at the Vols' indiscretions.
    DJRamFan
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