Thursday, November 1, 2007
Vols' Coker suspended one game for missing drug counseling sessions
By Chris Low ESPN.com
Tennessee sophomore tailback LaMarcus Coker was suspended for Saturday's game against Louisiana-Lafayette after missing multiple counseling sessions that are required for offenders of UT's drug-testing policy.
Sources told ESPN.com that Coker did not fail another drug test, which he did back in August when he tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for part of preseason practice and the opener against California. However, upon missing the recent counseling sessions, Coker was ordered to submit to another test, and those results won't be known until Friday.
If that test is positive, he will be permanently dismissed. If it's not, he'll be eligible to return for the Vols' game against Arkansas on Nov. 10.
Tennessee earlier this year revamped its drug-testing policy, and in doing so, added a fourth strike for a positive marijuana test before an athlete was dismissed. The old policy stipulated that an athlete was booted on the third positive test.
Coker already has three offenses against him, sources told ESPN.com. He spent time at an off-campus treatment center before returning to the team earlier this year.
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer announced Coker's suspension following Wednesday's practice along with that of junior defensive tackle Demonte Bolden, although Bolden's suspension was academic-related. Both players are practicing this week and working on the scout team.
Fulmer cited a violation of team rules, adding, "That's all I'm really allowed to say about it right now. Those guys are important to us. We certainly hope to have them back and ready for Arkansas."
Coker has backed up Arian Foster this season at tailback after leading the Vols in rushing in 2006. Coker, one of Tennessee's most explosive playmakers, had a key kickoff return to set up the field goal that sent last Saturday's South Carolina game into overtime. The Vols won 27-24.
Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com.