| FTBL Editorial: The State of the Tennessee program.


Thread Starter
Ivory Club
The Tennessee Volunteers enter an idle week in their schedule this weekend after starting this season 2-2 with losses to California and a dismantling at the hands of division rival Florida. Even with the return of David Cutcliffe to the sidelines there are stronger and stronger implications of unrest on the coaching staff as well as the donors and season ticket holders from the UT fan base: deservedly so.

Since the involvement of Fulmer in sanctions that held Alabama under in the last few years there have been signs that the “big-money decision makers” in Knoxville were getting restless under his regime. While speaking to a group of them a few years ago they were insinuating back then they wanted a change in leadership. The idea of bring Cutcliffe back into the fold was looked at as a major turning point for the UT program in general. Even with his return the Vols are still struggling on the field but not as much as they were with the off the field episodes. Looking at the 2007 season it appears this may be a make or break year for the current coaching staff. This unrest of the “powers that be” is only compounded with reports coming out of Knoxville about tensions on the coaching staff. I’ve been told there was an altercation at practice within the last week but the details are still not clear; may never be. The only details that have been revealed were centered around conflicts between Trooper Taylor and John Chavis.

John Chavis, a long time member of the staff under Fulmer, deserves to be feeling some heat right now. He’s been known for his ability to field a strong defense for the Vol program. This year is a different story. His defense ranks at the bottom, or near the bottom, in every defensive category Perhaps worst of all is where they are ranked in defensive scoring, dead last in the conference.

The blame shouldn’t all be centered on Chavis and his defense. It should be equally spread around. We don’t have to look any further than the bowl appearances in the last few years with losses to Clemson, Maryland and what happened to them last year against Penn State.

People like to point to the 1998 National Championship as a reason to give Fulmer and company more time. But, that must be weighed against how the team has looked over the last 6 years.

They aren’t ranked in the top 25 right now, and depending on how they play the remainder of the season may not make it back into the top 25. Think about this. 50% of those 6 years they didn’t finish the season in the top 25.

Let’s look at their over all record. People continue to point to his overall winning percentage as proof of his coaching ability, but like the last 6 years that needs to be weighed against the fact over the last 28 games he’s only won 15 of them. (Shula had a better record, if only by one win. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?) Add to that in the last 19 games against ranked SEC teams his team has lost 15 of those games. 15 losses!

I’d imagine there are fans that have as much respect for the tradition of Tennessee as I do. General Neyland, Johnny Majors. There are two coaching legacies. I look back over the last half of the last century and see a team that was competing for, and winning, conference championships. That respect was been dampened the last decade because of who was the patriarch of the UT program. With the program on this steady decline that feeling is spreading quickly around the Vol nation as well.


It is no coincidence to me that during the current regime at UT our relationship with them has gone from that of a respected rival to a bitterly hated foe. It once was true that both teams looked on this game as a measuring stick to find out how good they were. Now we just hope the fans don't create any regrettable incidents. Since we have had multiple coaches during Fulmer's reign and this attitude has remained throughout, IMO he is to blame for it. I miss the old rivalry, and I hope that the atmosphere changes under the next UT coach.


I find it pretty ironic that the two coaches front and center on the “hot seat” this year (Fulmer and Lloyd Carr at Michigan) have both won NCs(though I could argue against the legitimacy of Carr’s till I was blue in the face) and a NC winning coach is exactly what Mal Moore went to looking high and low for to hire at Bama just a few short months ago. Paterno and Diddy seem to have life-time passes due to their passed success, yet over the past six seasons, their teams have fared probably the same (or maybe worse) than UT or Michigan. Strange how the atmosphere can differ from one school to another. One place six years of 8 or 9 win seasons (with maybe one 5 or 6 win season thrown in) and a NC nine or ten years ago is just fine. Meanwhile, at another school, that outcome is considered not good enough. The whole thing seems a little too arbitrary to me.

It seems every year the coaching market is more diluted than the year before. This year; UT, Michigan, and aTm could all be looking for new head men (if the fans get their way). All quality jobs in the NCAA. Are there three quality guys out there to fill those jobs? The fans better be careful what they wish for. They may end up with a Bill Callahan rather than an Urban Meyer.


Thread Starter
Ivory Club
*at Mississippi State
*at Alabama
*at Kentucky

I'm not saying it will happen, but it's possible for them to be sitting at 3-5, 2-6 going into their homecoming game. 4-4 doesn't seem like much of a stretch.


Verified Member
Extra Point Club
Great job as usual Terry.

Well, having grown up just south of the Tennessee/ Alabama line, and working for a while in Tennessee, it will take some time for me to gain any respect for The Vols or their fan base. Of course, that is based on my personal experience. I remember as a kid having respect for Johnny Majors; largely due to my Father (who's wardrobe consisted mainly of Crimson Tide shirts and jeans)had a great deal respect for him. To me Majors, even with his personal problems, seemed to have more class than Fulmer. Fulmer has always seemed shady, to put it very lightly. I believe that the way he became the head coach was suspect and that he has done little to that deserves respect since he became the coach. I think that his girth has less to do with Krispy Kremes than it does with his inflated self-importance. I try not to take pleasure in other's misfortune, however, when the axe inevitably falls on Mr. Fulmer, I may afford myself a small grin. I've always felt that if you work hard and try to do the right thing then you are rewarded. Likewise, if you walk over whoever you can to gain success, then you will eventually get justly rewarded as well.


Verified Member
Sideline Club
Great article Terry.

timely too because just the other day a Tennessee fan was sarcasticly saying its OK about our loss to Georgia I said its ok especially coming off sanctions and presanction stuff we had to go through we are headed in he right direction.
then he goes into well I hope you don't think that Fulmer had anything to do with it and the used car Salseman that was pointed out in the case he was clueless.



Karma is grand.

Other than that I have no kind words to say about the orange



Century Club
RollTideRandy said:
I find it pretty ironic that the two coaches front and center on the “hot seat” this year (Fulmer and Lloyd Carr at Michigan) have both won NCs(though I could argue against the legitimacy of Carr’s till I was blue in the face)quote]

True. I, for one, could and would argue the legitimacy of UT's 98 NC. FSU was down to their 3rd string QB. Can you imagine any team putting up a serious fight with their 3rd string QB?
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