KNOXVILLE - The public has been invited to Neyland Stadium one day earlier than usual this week.
Today at 2:30 p.m. outside the University of Tennessee football stadium that bears his name, a 9-foot, 1,500-pound statue of Gen. Robert R. Neyland will be unveiled.
Neyland's statue will sit between Gates 15A and 17 at the stadium, on the corner of Peyton Manning Pass and Phillip Fulmer Way.
Several members of Neyland's 1951 national championship team will be there, and Hank Lauricella will speak on their behalf. Some of Neyland's family will be there, too, as will current UT head coach Derek Dooley.
"He's an icon in coaching, and he's an icon at Tennessee, and he's an icon in the SEC," Dooley said. "So many people have been affected in a positive way by what the general did for them - whether they played for him, whether they worked for him, whether they mentored under him, or whether they just studied him. I think the statue is long overdue, and I'm glad I'm part of the program to see it unveiled."
Neyland amassed a staggering 173-31-12 record as UT's head coach from 1926 to '52, leaving the program for military service in 1935 and from 1941 to '45. He then served as athletic director until his death in 1962. The four-time national champion, four-time Southeastern Conference champion and two-time Southern Conference champion was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956.
This and that
Junior cornerback Art Evans (unspecified personal issue) did not return for the early part of Thursday's practice, leaving his availability for Saturday in serious doubt.
Freshman starting guard Zach Fulton (ankle) looked extremely limited and didn't practice with the first team.
Senior starting tight end Luke Stocker (concussion, staph infection) practiced again with a no-contact jersey and a large pad on his infected left arm. Dooley doesn't meet with local media Thursday, though, so there was no report on Stocker's Saturday availability.