Vols feed off predictions of doom from media

Tennessee’s media contingent is dishing out assists at a Ramar Smith-like pace this season.

UT’s football players once again credited the media with spurring their team to victory, beating Arkansas 34-13 in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Amid a season of questions and criticism, it’s the third time the Vols have said media coverage played a role. It happened after win against South Carolina and Georgia, too.

“None of you guys in here thought we could have won this game,” UT linebacker Jerod Mayo told reporters during post-game interviews. “I heard all the things. The coaches heard all the things.”

Mayo and company heard all week about Arkansas, a favorite over UT following its 48-36 demolition of South Carolina just a week before. The headliner coming into the Saturday’s game was Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, a Heisman Trophy candidate, and fellow tailback Felix Jones.

Most members of the media said the duo was due for another big day against UT’s hapless defense.

“I definitely heard about them enough,” linebacker Rico McCoy said of Arkansas’ tailbacks. “That gets to you. That bites you … That just pissed everyone off.”

Against UT, McFadden and Jones rushed for only 123 yards on 25 carries.

“I definitely got tired of hearing about them,” Mayo said.

UT’s receivers also heard how Arkansas’ press coverage would play to their weaknesses, an inability to get off the line of scrimmage versus physical defensive backs.

“Anytime guys walk up in your face and can press you across the board, that means they have no respect for you,” receiver coach Trooper Taylor said.

Arkansas’ press coverage ended up flat, according to Taylor, who said the Razorbacks played more soft man and zone coverage in the second half.

It all came down to preparation, running back Arian Foster said.

“Since I’ve been here this has been the best week of practice ever since I’ve been on this campus,” he said.

Said UT linebacker Ryan Karl: “I think we play our best when everyone counts us out.”

That could be bad news for the Vols going forward. They could be favored in their remaining regular-season games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

If the Vols win those two games, the media will have their back once again, likely picking against them in the SEC Championship Game.

Brad’s Back: Tight end Brad Cottam returned to action with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first quarter. On his first play, the senior was targeted for a short pass by quarterback Erik Ainge on second-and-1. The pass was deflected.

Saturday was the first time Cottam has played this season after suffering a wrist injury during a preseason scrimmage. Cottam, who estimated he played 15 snaps against Arkansas, wasn’t dismayed by not recording a reception.

“It felt amazing,” he said. “It’s so much better to actually get in the game than to sit on the sideline and watch.”

UT had hoped to secure a sixth year of eligibility for Cottam, who has been sidelined with several injuries in his career. By playing this season, the Vols conceded the chance of a sixth season, which the SEC deemed unlikely to be granted by the NCAA.

Fortuitous False Starts: The Vols were called for a false start penalty twice on consecutive third-and-goals late in the second quarter inside the Arkansas 11. Both plays appeared to be well defended.

On their third opportunity, the Vols took a 20-3 lead when Erik Ainge found sophomore Josh Briscoe for a 14-yard touchdown.

That’s not the first time UT has benefited from its own mistake. The Vols were called for a false start in the waning moments of regulation against South Carolina just before a game-tying field goal attempt sailed wide.

On the ensuing play, Lincoln made the field goal to send the game into overtime. The Vols went on to win 27-24 in overtime.

Coming up Long: The Vols were one-for-one on fourth down against Arkansas converting on a quarterback dive by Erik Ainge. UT used the same play to convert twice on third-and-short.

“We felt like we matched up better (in the interior lines),” Ainge said. “That kind of hypes you up a little bit.”

The short yardage push had just the opposite affect on the other sideline.

“It’s got to be deflating, thinking you’re about to get off the field,” offensive guard Anthony Parker said of the Razorbacks’ defense.

Long Gone: Arian Foster’s 59-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the second-longest of his career. The longest, 66 yards, came against Vanderbilt in 2005. The dash against Arkansas was the longest run of the season for UT.

“As soon as I passed two yards, nobody was going to catch me,” Foster said.

Honest Lincoln: Lincoln’s second-quarter field goal broke the UT freshman record of 17 made in a season, set by James Wilhoit in 2003.

“I just kick the ball,” Lincoln said of the record. “I let everybody else worry about that stuff.”

Lincoln made two of three field-goal attempts on Saturday and all three of his extra points. That gives Lincoln 95 points this season, which matches another freshman mark, set by Jeff Hall in 1995.

Recruiting Rap: Quarterback Casey Kelley from Sarasota (Fla.) High School took an unofficial visit to Knoxville this weekend. The Vols are thought to be in strong position with Kelley as long as he doesn’t pursue a professional baseball career immediately after high school.

UT hosted one official visitor this weekend, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy from Western High School in Las Vegas.

Berry Good: Freshman safety Erik Berry has 207 interception return yards this season, breaking Bobby Majors’ all-time record of 177 in 1970. Berry had two interceptions for 98 return yards against Arkansas.

Novembers to Remember: Since 1985, the Vols are 30-1 at home against SEC foes in November. The only team to beat them in the stretch was Vanderbilt in 2005.

G-Whiz: The Vols ran the G-Gun package once against Arkansas. Receiver Gerald Jones lined up at quarterback and lost 2 yards running off right guard.

Bowling: Representatives from the Capital One (Orlando, Fla.), Outback (Tampa, Fla.), Music City (Nashville) and Liberty (Memphis) Bowls were in attendance for Saturday’s game.

Injury Report: Receiver Austin Rogers was able to play the entire game despite a sore shoulder injured last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“Early in the week, I really didn’t think I would be able to play.” said Rogers, who led the Vols with six receptions and 62 yards and a touchdown.

Taylor’s Troupe: Taylor said his receivers had at least nine knockdown blocks to clear the way for UT’s tailbacks.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2007, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2007 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 46

asleep#212036 writes:

I know we will be favored at home over Vandy but I find it hard to believe we will be road favorites against a passing team like Kentucky. If we get past Vandy, I know the media types will say we have no chance to stop Woodson and the Cats, so maybe we will bow up again and prove them wrong. Go Vols!!!

agentorange writes:


andy112382#209793 writes:

Liberty (Shreveport, La.) Bowl.........am I missing something, I thought the Liberty bowl was in Memphis? I know they have sponsors for all of the bowls now (which is rather annoying, i miss all of the traditional bowl names) so I didn't know if that was it.....just curious!


agentorange writes:


volfan73120#211815 writes:

Andy, you are right The Liberty Bowl is in Memphis.
Shreveport has the Independence Bowl.

kb7398#233189 writes:

There will be Cap One reps, Sugar reps and Outback reps the rest of the way. The Vols will win out and play in the SECCG. Whether or not they can knock off LSU is another discussion for later.

Forget Memphis and Shreveport guys...they were scouting Arky. LOL

jigsha writes:

Thanks for the correction andy112382 and volfan32120. The Liberty Bowl is in Memphis. We've fixed it.

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

I hope the media does not say any thing positive about Tennessee the rest of the year if that's what it takes for them to respond. They played hard and had emotion and blocked and tackled, they did all that is needed to win a big game. Keep it up!


OldNumber7 writes:

Great win yesterday. But just when I thought some self-motivation was finally going on, or Fulmer was doing some magic, I read these players quotes. Maybe we could save millions and just let the media guys come in for an hour each day, trash talk the team, go home, and watch them win a title.

Players and coaches - you need to get out of bed each day with the winning attitude just because. Not because someone bad mouthed you. Winning is a habit!....oh well.


RocketVol - I completely agree with you but, truthfully the Vols have become nothing more then a bunch of whiney cry babies. Had the media not trash talked them and then all of the good players we used to have write a sweet little note for their big baby coach Philly, We probably would've have lost our shirts and our mortgages to the Hogs. Whatever happened to winning for the sake of winning and because "WE CAN"? I'm sick and tired of waiting for someone else to get them fired up......Great win - okay - but they're favored to win against Vandy and KY....Sorry but my money is on Georgia to win out and make it to Atlanta. The Vols can't keep playing like this......Sorry no one believes them anymore. They can go 14-0 next year win the Champonship and I still won't believe in them anymore.

yeavols#228407 writes:

Congrats to the VOLS and Vandy will be good game. Kentucky will be very interesting. Randy Sanders and Company would love nothing better than to spoil UT's finish. Fingers crossed in Atlanta. GO VOLS as always.

why36knot#656113 writes:

Please don't buy into Hookers's take on the motivation of players.. He wants to take credit for something he has no right to. What he really is saying is .... "I can say anything I want for the rest of the year and no one can criticize me because of what these 2 or 3 players have said."
Focus was the key in this ball game...make no mistake about it. This team was focused like I haven't seen since last years opener against Cal. If you were at the game you could just see it! If you were not it may have been hard to see.
Two more wins against pretty darn good programs and we are in Atlanta.
>>>>>>>GO VOLS BEAT COMMODORES<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

yeavols#228407 writes:

Ya'll take the negative comments too seriously. You know everyone loves the VOLS and negative comments help to motivate the VOLS. Hey, I don't mind reading them.

why36knot#656113 writes:

rocketvol...tnwolfpup and touchdowntn...
You three guys need to be writing for the KNS. You would fit right in with the other team bashers and Fulmer haters that are there. You say you want the team to win but......you want Fulmer to lose his job... the one doesn't follow the other so how can you be honest when you say phooey like that?
I think it is PUKE time again. NO... I think you three guys are PUKES.
>>>>>>>Go VOLS BEAT COMMODORES><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

james#216392 writes:

Vandy is a very capable team. Do not need a letdown. If it takes the press to get these guys up, then I hope we read some more doom stories. I hope the coaches would be the ones motivating the team, not the press. Anyway, great game against Arkansas. Need two more great games to get to Atlanta.

VOLnATL writes:

Great win! I was wrong and happy to admit it! However, we should have put people in the endzone and not balls through the uprights. What happened to us in the red zone?

TNWOLFPUP: I am not a fan of Fulmer by any stretch but I believe in this team! Please start pulling for another team. You can disagree with the coach and judge the play of the team but to loose faith is unacceptable.

Great win defense and go Vols!

DennisVols writes:

Last week I posted what UT would have to do to win this game. (Maybe I should be coach LOL)
The keys to winning this game for UT are:
1) Establish the running game. Ball control is very important. AK does not have a strong pass defense. If UT can develop the running game this will cause bigger opportunities for the passing game. Keeping UT offense on the field is the best defense against AK running attack.
2) Limit the mistakes: In the Bama game it was mental mistakes causing penalties that gave them extra opportunities on offense. In the Cal and Florida games it was fundamental mistakes like missed tackles, fumbles,& being out of position on kick returns that cost UT the opportunity to win. The excuse of youth is past now, we are 9 games into a 12 game season.
3) Force AK to play catch-up. AK has a very suspect passing attack with Monk out or limited at receiver. If UT takes the lead early and can keep the pressure on with their offense then AK will be forced to go to their passing game which is plan B or C for them not plan A which is to run down hill with McFadden and Jones.

This was the type of total team effort we need to see week in and week out. Twice this year, GA & AK UT played a full game. The mistakes were few and far between.

eefor10c writes:

Give it a rest Hooker. I'm sure you called an audible on the play and forced our guys to jump on the two procedure penalties near the goal line. Tee Hee Hee That way you get to take credit for something you didn't do, again. What will be your stupid bash the Vols poll be this week on WNML.

VOLnATL writes:

dlsskaggs: Good assessment but last I looked, we played Arkansas and not Alaska, LOL. J/K

Mr_Bandman writes:

The entire sporting world wanted to run Randy Moss out on a rail when he said "I play when I want to" a few years back....that's essentially the work ethic of this year's VOLS---they play when they want to---when they feel slighted.....well let's take a look at WHY they've been slighted....hmmm....a beat down from Bama, who then turned around and lost to Miss. St. and previously lost to UGa, both of whom UT beat handily.....where else can we look....hmmm....a humiliating beat down from Florida, who have since lost to UGa and Auburn (who lost to Miss. St.).....hmmm....let's see....is there anywhere else we can look to find a reason to "disrespect" the VOLS???.....hmmm....a beat down from Cal...who've since lost 4 times, including losses to UCLA (who lost to Washington St., Arizona, and NOTRE DAME?!?!?!) and Oregon St. (who lost to UCLA!)....the VOLS have lost 3 games to teams that have proven very, very beatable by teams that aren't as talented as the VOLS......gee---where does the disrespect come from? Those evil media goons!!! How dare they say bad things about our VOLS!!! For crying out loud, quit disrespecting yourselves and get out there and play like you're supposed to---TO WIN----regardless of what a bunch of sportswriters and blog hounds have to say about you. Or you could stay true to form, lose to Vandy, and set up some nice nasty newspaper comments to get you really fired up for UK.....and lose the SEC East in the process, but it really isn't about that, is it? It's all about avenging your hurt feelings.....

VolHooch14 writes:

Well, the mystery game of 07' is finally behind us, & I'm very surprised but also very glad we won this game. Your dead right...It's coaching that will bring a team up (or not) if they happen to come out a little flat at any particular game. I've been a VOLS fan all my life, but it is maddening trying to figure out from week to week which team is going to show up. If we had played like this on defense against UF & Bama, there could easily be 2 more W's in the left column. I hate Georgia with a passion, but I have nothing but respect for Coach Mark Richt. Talk about a guy that can motivate & get creative with his players! I have to say also that I am happy for Coach Chavis after yesterday. Even though I question CPF's ability to manage, Chavis has had a rough time in trying to bounce back from 5 losses to his defensive backfield.
Again, glad for this win, & as someone said on the radio yesterday...The VOLS don't need to "back into" the SECC game...they need to win the last 2 convincingly.



Again I'm getting bashed for being a baaaad Faaaan- I'm not a VOLS fan!!!! - granted I don't think I ever was - maybe I just got caught up in the hoopla of National Championship - Oh wait, I was rooting and losing sleep over them for a decade prior to that. No problem. No one likes to hear negativity but no one wants to deal with change either - the Vols need a change for their own good. If I'm wrong for that - that's okay. Keep believin' I don't live around there anyway - so I'm happy in my ignorance.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

McNeil, you can have 5 chicks this week! Great win, congrats all. That said, PLEASE don't overlook Vanderbush. Smite them mightily as the bard said! Well, back to the roadside for more cans so we can afford the PPV. Go Vols!

VOLnATL writes:

I agree with you n that they need change. You can move my cheese all day long! I was not bashing you that you are not a fan but to loose faith and stop believing is a little strong isn't it? If they did go 14-0 next year, I am sure you would be singing a different tune.

Again, I am no fan of the Big Taco and Foolmer. I do not believe in "staying the course" or in charts But I can believe in the kids we put on the field.

Don't take offense, just my opinion!

TommyJack writes:

TDTN: On behalf of Vol fans, thanks for getting this team pumped for a win. Man, you have a pair! lol

GerryOP writes:

Thanks Mr_Bandman. I was just writing a query for one of you psych-pros to analyze the schizoid performance of this team. Hmmm ... avenging hurt feelings. Interesting!

jweaver3#395614 writes:

Great post TouchdownTN sorry I slamed you!!!
I agree coaches should have them fired up every week to play and outside of Trooper there has not been a lot of fire on the staff!!! That said hopefully with the pressure and the chance to win the East this team and staff will stay fired up and finish the season strong!!!
Only time will tell!!!
I support the team and staff 100%

waterskier3#226480 writes:

does anyone see a trend...it takes the media not the coaches to get fired up to win a game????? all i can say is that i thought ark would be more physical but we were... all this proves is that we have the talent folks but the coaching staff isn't getting it done... you can't play like that against ga and ark and not have talent.... although i would like to ask was the long run by foster the slowest you've ever seen... man I could have gotten their faster..lol

SpringCityVol writes:

If Fulmer returns next year he should give half his salary to set up journalism scholarships in the name of media naysayers who have clearly saved him his job. This team's Helter Skelter performance can clearly be linked to this coaching staff's inability to properly prepare or motivate their players. The idea that it takes a few pointed remarks from the press to get this team to perform to their potential is laughable and Fulmer and his cadre of apathetic sycophants he calls coaches should be ashamed to resort to it. This team, my team, deserves better!

Colliervol writes:

The only thing I can say then is that I am hoping for a boatload of negative articles during the next two weeks. If that's what it takes to get them fired up, so be it.

Democrat, "Helter Skelter performance" is a pretty good way to put it. The inconsistency is pretty frustrating. Georgia and Arkansas performances on one side and Florida/Bama debacles on the other. Especially the Bama game. No way do I think that bunch is 24 points better than we are. (Did anybody see that egg they laid yesterday?) As for Florida, I think they are simply a better team, but the delicious thing is that, if UT wins the next two, the Gators will be watching us wave to them from the Georgia Dome. You don't think that wouldn't frost Meyer and the Gator fans?

qball77 writes:

Wow we only had one official visitor this weekend. Wish we could have had a bunch. I'm sure whoever was visiting was inspired to put on the Orange and white yesterday!

SpringCityVol writes:

You're right Colliervol, the prospect of disgruntled Gators and Dawgs reduced to spectators will make for a sweet irony. However, the bitter pill that is UT's future is the taste that lingers.

rubbervol writes:

My Big Orange Flag sure looks good flapping in the breeze down here in Bama! We are so proud to
be Volunteers.Lets all go to Atlanta !!!

koamalina writes:

I don't know what has gotten the team playing well now, but whatever it is, keep it going through Vandy, KY, Atlanta (assuming wins over Vandy and KY), and the bowl game! If it takes the threat of being fired, then give Fulmer and the assistant coaches game-to-game contracts. In the words of the Raiders Al Davis, "Just win, baby"!

mike.reinhardt#231757 writes:

Kentucky Basketball, Miami Football, Nebraska Football, One got tired of 20 win seasons the other two thought 10 wins was not enough. Now all three can relax those problems are gone. Some coaching changes don’t work out for the good… Be careful what you wish for

firefulmer (Inactive) writes:

waterskier and Democrat08, I'm glad at least two more intelligent people might see my point. It absolutely amazes me that Fulmer has so many people fooled. As I have said many times: "Fulmer is an idiot and a pathetic excuse for a coach."

asleep#212036 writes:

I am with you on the defensive line. I have said all year that our biggest problems in the secondary had less to do with inexperience, and more to do with lack of pressure by the defensive line. Every Chavis D the past 15 years has been predicated on pressure from the D line. Wasn't it just a few years ago we recorded 39 sacks for the season. What do we have this year - 14? Tackles for loss? Way down. One hundred yard rushers? Pretty much everybody we played. Linebackers? Getting steamrolled by downfield lineman that our D line didn't tie up. Once they come to play, we shut down the most formidable run team in the SEC since the Bryant option teams of the 70's. Now can they pressure a quarterback? If so, we'll be in Atlanta in early December. If not, we'll go to Atlanta later in the month. Go Vols!!!

gohawks1 writes:


There. That ought to do it. Now go out there next week and flush the Commode-ers down the pipes.

Go Vols!

LargeOrange writes:

Apparently the 24 hour mourning period is over. The Haters and WHYners have the HaterAid flowing again in record time. So now, the line is, that we did have the talent to win the NC if only we had a coach. As I said before, These guys are still kids, they play on emotion, the coaches try to use that and cultivate it but it is not like they coach these these guys to come out flat and emotionless, it happens to all teams, this year more than ever. Ask Urban Meyer how he could have lost 3 games including a 12 pt blowout by arch rival UGA? I guess he just had 3 bad coaching days and forgot to prepare them. And what about the genius Steve Superior, losing 4 in a row? At least he is starting to establish some consistency. And what about the savior of Alabammy, Nick Saban, the one who can do no wrong, didn't motivate his team yesterday and they lose to Miss St. I believe that is the 4th time this year that he forgot to motivate his team. An what to do with Tommy Tuberville, here Texas A&M was about to give him a contract reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars and dang, he goes and totally forgets to motivate the Auburn players and they get get creamed by a Georgia team who Mark Richt apparently remembered to motivate this week, unlike the day he week he forgot to motivate them for Tennessee where CPF apparently heard all of the writers and moronic negative posters and remembered to motivate his team this week. I think Meyers, Spurier, Tuberville, Richt, and Saban had better get some coach haters going in their towns soon or they will continue to lose big games. What say we fire them all and let the Penningtons, Adams and the flamers on this board coach these teams? They are sooooo smart, but if you don't buy the phooey they sell, then you are an idiot, if you post in agreement with them then you are intelligent. I laughed all day yesterday sitting Neyland remembering all the vile and negative dribble that you guys spewed all week. Victory! - as I predicted, I am glad that some of us like sjt18 and other intelligent AND loyal fans don't have to try and have it both ways. If we are wrong and the VOLS lose we would be ripped to shreds on this board, but we have the courage to see some good amongst the bad and stand up for our VOLS, but the Haters have to have it both ways, if the VOLS lose they are geniuses but if they win then they take credit for motivating them to win. Sorry you guys are wrong and need to try and find a life.

asleep#212036 writes:


I agree with you but I think that even the "haters" would admit that had we not gotten blown our in our 3 losses, their venom would be somewhat less toxic. With injuries and inexperience at DB and reciever and a patchwork situation at defensive tackle, some losses were inevitable with our schedule, especially on the road. But even the most die-hard optimistic fans (like me) got a little sideways losing big to Florida and Alabama, especially in light of how those teams have done against everyone else. We are, I believe, in both cases their biggest wins over a D-1 BCS school. That is what brought out the "haters" and why they won't go away. There are significant issues that caused those losses. They just tend to blame it all on Fulmer where most of the rest of us believe it is not that simple. Go Vols!!!

LargeOrange writes:

Agreed, asleep. I posted many times that this is the very same Chavis that reportedly gets NFL offers and could name his price as a DC at about any D1 school with an opening at DC, but now all the sudden to the HaterAid chuggers, he is a fat idiot. They intentionally discount that Inky should be out there and about 5 or 6 others and that he is playing with 2nd teamers and true freshmen. As hard as it was to get blown out by FLA and ALA these young guys are getting the best experience they could have ever have gotten and will be great for the VOLS if we can keep them healthy.

Txvol57 writes:


If that's what it takes to get the team ready and prepared to play then I hope the media doubts them every week!!! Its just ashame that that's what it takes instead of the coaches being able to get them ready.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

gulp, glom, glom, gulp....I am eating the e-words I may have written about the fear of Ark's running game. We are all easy to piss off when the Vols do bad, but hey:


Chavis said you won't be a defense to remember, but I bet you guys won't ever forget the Ark game.

Good luck with VU and UK, they are worthy teams who are going to get after you.

asleep#212036 writes:

Exactly LargeOrange,

As bad as it was, if we can win out, we still win the East. Even if we don't, we have gotten a lot of very talented young players experience they normally could not have received this early in their careers. With all but 2 offensive players returning and losing only 4 (very replaceable) current defensive starters, the future looks bright for 2008. I just hope the 2007 squad can close the deal to get some momentum going for next year. FL and GA look pretty scary for 2008 plus we have Auburn on the schedule again. Funny thing, next year the defense could be the strength of the team, depending on how Crompton responds as a starter. Go Vols!!!

Singaporehillbilly writes:

Great. Now touchdownTn is taking credit for firing up the team for a win. He is truly the FOOL.

londonvol writes:

We were outcoached by California, Bama, and Florida, the other games we were not, it's a simple as that. My problem is that in the losses, we did not look like we were ready to play. I believe (still) we are a better team than Bama and California and should have beat them, if we had played like the team that beat Georgia and Arkansas. Weird season in college football

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.