Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee freshman football player Nyshier Oliver was cited for shoplifting at a Knoxvile mall hours before the Volunteers' Nov. 7 game against Memphis, according to Knox County Sheriff's Office officials.
Oliver, a defensive back from New Jersey who is redshirting this season, was cited at West Town Mall around 1:45 p.m. that day.
"The defendant concealed a brown polo shirt ($110) in his Dillard's shopping bag to deprive the merchant of the value of the merchandise," according to the incident report.
UT coach Lane Kiffin declined to discuss the situation with reporters after Tuesday night's practice. He met with reporters earlier in the afternoon before news of Oliver's citation surfaced.
Kiffin said some Vols have approached him with questions about their NFL futures, and the former Oakland Raiders head coach said he openly shared what he knew about each player's situation.
"We're here for them," Kiffin said. "The last thing I'm going to do is if a player has a question about anything, say, 'Well, we're going to wait for the offseason to talk about that.'
"If a player wants to discuss where I view them at, or what my feedback is so far from scouts that come by, or personnel people, we're always open to that."
Senior defensive tackle Dan Williams said he and Kiffin have had quick, vague conversations about his soaring draft stock. ESPN guru Mel Kiper's latest big board listed Williams as the No. 21 overall and No. 3 defensive tackle prospect.
"I've talked to him about it a little bit," Williams said. "We never did get in depth into it. He just said, 'Dan, just keep doing what you're doing.' He said, 'You're doing good, and they're talking good about you.' For the most part, I think that's good to hear, but my goals for this team are still trying to get us to a bowl game and just make sure I do everything I can do we can win.
"If my play is helping us win, and it also helps me out in the long run, that's a plus. But we don't talk about it that much."
Williams said teammates have teased him about his recent rise to prospect notoriety, but his primary concern is still the team finishing on a strong note.
"I don't get too much into it," Williams said. "I'm just really here to try to win games. If my play helps me later on in life, that's great. But I will probably think more about that after the bowl game then right now. If I end up with zero tackles but we beat Vanderbilt, that's fine with me.
"I just want to see us end on a good note, and just try to get Tennessee back to where we're used to being."
Defensive end Chris Walker, one of a few UT juniors who could be tempted to declare early for the draft, said he hasn't spoken with Kiffin about his immediate future.
"Really, I've just focused on trying to get through this season, and focusing on getting better and making plays for my team," said Walker, who leads the Vols in sacks and tackles for loss despite missing time with a lower back injury. "When the time comes, if I have the chance to, I'll talk to him about it. But I'd be more worried about that ... next year, when I'm a senior."
Walker's senior season might not happen, though he said he's only given passing thoughts to the situation.
"It's definitely something that's been running through my head a little bit," Walker said. "But I just want to focus on beating Vanderbilt right now, and getting ready to hopefully get us into a bowl game."
Left guard lineup
Kiffin said seniors Cory Sullins and Vlad Richard would battle in practice again this week for the starting left guard spot.
Sullins took the spot earlier this season when Richard left the lineup with a knee injury, and Sullins has kept the spot since Richard returned to practice three weeks ago.
"It's been open three weeks in a row," Kiffin said. "We go through practice, and we make a decision at the end of the week. And we'll do the same thing this week. Both of them ended up playing in the game. We actually pulled (Sullins) and put Vlad in at one point, I think it in the third quarter. We'll continue to look at that."
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