Hardesty no show for UT workout

Tailback unhappy over lack of carries

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A day after expressing displeasure with a lack of carries in Tennessee's 41-17 loss to Alabama, Tennessee tailback Montario Hardesty did not show up for the team's practice Sunday night.

UT coach Phillip Fulmer said he did not know why the sophomore tailback missed UT's hour-long practice inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

"You know, I'm not sure what's going on with Montario," Fulmer said following practice. "His roommate doesn't know where he is. We'll find out and deal with it."

A phone message left Sunday night with Hardesty's brother was not immediately returned.

Hardesty is UT's second-leading rusher this season with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries, despite missing two games with an ankle injury.

Hardesty rushed for 146 of those yards against Mississippi State and Georgia, UT's two games before Alabama.

But after Hardesty did not play Saturday despite being healthy, he expressed his displeasure to Volquest.com immediately following the game.

"(Expletive) you tell me," Hardesty told the website when asked why he did not have a carry against the Crimson Tide.

Tennessee rushed only 19 times against Alabama. When asked why Hardesty did not play, Fulmer said Saturday that LaMarcus Coker and Arian Foster were better fits for the three-wide receiver sets UT ran because of its ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He echoed those comments again Sunday night.

UT running backs coach Kurt Roper said Saturday he "didn't do a good job of getting (Hardesty) in there."

Fulmer said Sunday that Hardesty's lack of carries against Alabama was not for disciplinary reasons.

Fulmer said he spoke with Hardesty briefly after Saturday's game, but did not share details of that conversation.

"He wasn't very happy," Fulmer said. "But this isn't the right way to make that presentation.

"It's disappointing, yeah. He should be here with his teammates."

Wide receiver Kenny O'Neal also missed practice Sunday, however Fulmer said the junior college transfer had "academic business he was taking care of."

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Comments » 70

wisonsinvol writes:

I doubt this will be the last to defect if indeed he has. If I was a an athlete who had NFL potential and was left on the bench while a freshman cost us a drive with his one carry, I'd bolt. Obviously, the coaches don't believe in Hardesty. I do, but unfortunately my opinion doesn't matter. It's a sad time for Tennessee football.

chrisw2967 writes:

well Hardesty is probably the best back they have and he sure isnt behind a frshmen or coker , I dont blame him one bit if he packs it in and leaves and dont be suprised if they are more to defect this pathetic so called football team. I couldnt figure out myself why he wasnt playing yesterday and Fulmer didnt know why , does Fulmer even know they had a football game yesterday and what state it was in. He has to be the most ignorant coach in the history of football. If Hardest has left the team I dont blame him.

creepykev#228270 writes:

Fulmer didn't know where Hardesty was Saturday either.

chrisw2967 writes:

plasticman:Coaches must do a better job of getting the right players on the field in crucial situations

you havent figured it out that these 3 stooges you call coaches cant get their ownselves in the right place to do nothing , except ruin this program

ktm589 writes:

Fulmer didn't even know Hardesty didn't play saturday!!! Whats wrong with that picture?

AlpharettaVol writes:

I know that it was difficult for Hardesty to accept that he didn't play on Saturday and there is no way to justify it. However, I think most Vol fans feel he has a good future at Tennessee and will continue to make outstanding contributions to the Big Orange. I hope he doesn't let the emotions of the moment put a stain on his record that might jeopardize his bright future. Montario, if you read these things, hang in there; lots of us have confidence in you.

utallvol writes:

I drove 7 hours to the game in AL. I can't understand why we played so poorly. I've always been I Coach Fulmer fan but yesterday's game made me think back to when Coach Majors was here as Head Coach and he just couldn't understand the fact that the game had pasted him bye. Well may friends I do Honestly Believe that the game has indeed done that. We need Young Fresh Blood as Coach Someone who really fires up the troops. Someone who brings the same passion to the field like Coach Taylor, he's out there chest bumping, high 5ing,and showing passion that everyone can see. I don't believe you should put a freshmen in that situation unless the 3 backs in front of him is hurt and out of the game. Also the refs played a huge role in the outcome of the game also well I counted 2 plays where AL had 12 men on the field the 1st play on offense for us in the 3rd q, and i dont remember the other one. Long season to go . GO Vols!!!!

Pullingguard writes:

This coaching staff is so unreliable and dis-oriented that it would surprise no one if there was a wholesale defection of players. One has to ask, why did Hardesty not play on short needed yardage plays. If he was being punished, why not leave him a home.. It just another chapter in Vol land of problems on top of problems.

Richmondvol writes:

Why cant the headline read: "Coaches get fired on Monday!"

asand211#361548 writes:

The absence of Hardesty is a very bad thing. It opens the curtain and reveals things that are going on behind the scenes and all is not as well as we are led to believe. I'm sure there is great divide growing between the players and the coaches over a season so obviously going down the tubes. The Hardesty situation also highlights another big problem in the program. That is the lack of control coaches have over the players. In the last several years we have seen player after player arrested or in some other trouble. Also, I am amazed that Fulmer admitted that he had no idea where Hardesty was. That is shameful and leads me to believe the sheep are leading the shepherd.

vol52 writes:

Fulmer need to resign and lets get the search going. He was defeated by a first year OC and less talent.

Phowell23 writes:

Hardesty should have been put in for at least one series in the Alabama game to provide some sort of spark. There is no excuse why he was not played.

That being said he should have showed up for practice with the rest of the team. Even if the coaching staff is fired (please Hamilton please) then he needs to work out with the team as everyone else and go through the motions until this mess is fixed.

Hamilton please fix this mess before it gets worse.

CoverOrange writes:

Thing is, if he shows up Monday without a good excuse he is in the doghouse for the rest of the season. Shame. And he was finally having some success on the field.

Ironcity writes:

Give me a break! These things happen all the time at major schools. There is no major defections other then the Vol Nation! There are plenty of things wrong with this team but a player missing practice doesn't mean the team has quit (which some of you seem to want). Lets hope he sticks around. 3 weeks ago nobody could care less if he stayed or went. If Hardesty did get up into the coach at practice last week then he deserved to sit on the bench. Some of you want disipline but when its handed out you wine like little Alabama Cheerleaders!!

Seviervol2200 writes:

Well I don't know how things can get any worse at this point but the situation probably will get worse before it gets better. I hope Hardesty comes back to the team but it seems to me fans can complain and e-mail Mike Hamilton all they want and most likely get no results. It pains me to say this but empty seats at Neyland may get more action. If we want a coaching change, hit 'em where it hurts, in the pocketbook.

DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

For you youngsters, Tennessee started the 1981 season in Los Angeles, losing to USC 42-7. Fulmer was offensive line coach or offensive coordinator at the time, I believe. Majors had just hired him the year before.

The next week, a buddy of mine and I got a wild hair. We drove from Memphis to Athens, GA to see our beloved Vols play the Bulldogs. We did not have tickets.

I stopped at a cousin's house on the way and borrowed his authentic UT game jersey to wear to the game. It was number 44.

We finally got to Athens and shelled out $100 each for our tickets -- smack dab in the middle of the GA section.

I was wearing a UT jersey with the number 44, sitting in the GA section, and the Bulldogs pound us 44-0. The GA fans were cool and we just laughed that I had worn the correct jersey to the game. "How did you know?" they joked.

But this is not what I remember most about this game.

We stayed after and raced over to the tunnel where the Tennessee players and coaches, including Fulmer, were leaving the field.

We simply wanted to cheer the players on, tell tem to keep their heads up, fight another day, etc. After all, we had just lost our first two games 86-7.

There were about 30-50 Tennessee people gathered in the stands around the tunnel. Some were there for the same reasons we were -- to support and encourage the team and coaches.

There were a few, though, who introduced me for the first time to real ugliness - -from so-called "fans."

They screamed obscenities and cursed at Majors and all the coaches without mercy. They threw almost-empty cups and drinks at them.

It was horrific, ugly, embarassing and almost certainly drunken. These were not kids, either. They were grown men -- husbands and fathers, some of whom had their small children with them.

I'll never forget it.

Fulmer was one of those who walked through that gauntlet, all of them with their heads down. It was his second season on the UT coaching staff.

Seventeen years later, he would bring home the national championship for those very same fans.

My point: even if you agree, as I do, that his time has come, please show the man some respect on these boards. He does not deserve to be personally attacked with name-calling and insults.

Please don't be one of those fans I saw at that game. We're better than that, aren't we?

Even you teenagers out there spewing what you think is cute and clever venom to score some laugh points with your friends, weren't you raised better?

DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

As for Hardesty, if he intentionally skipped practice as some form of protest, his butt should either be suspended or benched for a few games. That's not how to earn the respect of your peers or work your way into the game.

rootin4volz writes:

mbumburu...Great story and great point. Take that to heart, all of you negative, poor sport, sore loser FireFulmorons.

BigManVolFan writes:

Hardesty has really showed the last couple of weeks that he can be a productive back with loads of promise to come, but leave it up to Fulmer to screw a young man who has over come injuries and some adversity to get on track form a good 1-2 punch with Foster in the run game...So thank you Fat Phil Fulmer for not playin probably the best back we have!

Go to UNC Hardesty, you'll be an instant star(ter) there!!

CoverOrange writes:

Mbum, I'm guessing Hardesty thought he had done what was necessary to earn respect and be in the game, then found himself alone at the bus station without a ticket. Like a lot of fans, he may feel deceived. On top of that, the insult Fulmer laid on him about not being as good as others implying even a freshman was more reliable than he.

CoverOrange writes:

How could he transfer? He would have to sit a year then only have one year of eligibility left. Who would offer an injury prone RB one year?

BigManVolFan writes:

I hope Hardesty doesnt leave but I wouldnt be suprised if he did....Fulmer has a way of screwing over talented kids here.

Ralph_Crampton writes:


DenmarkVol_aka_Mbumburu writes:

WD40, no argument here as to how he might feel. I'm a fan of this young back and was one of those screaming "where is he?" Saturday.

Like many of us, I was astonished to learn that he wasn't hurt, he wasn't played out of choice. Apparently, he earned a ride on the pine Saturday. Some kind of practice conflict with Roper?

If not -- if he was just not played out of choice -- then that is just too off-the-edge-of-the-paper, jaw-dropping unfathomable for my mind to handle.

However, let's be clear about what Fulmer said, which was that Hardesty wasn't as as good a receiver as Foster or Coker, and that's why he wasn't in for the passing packages.

Don't have to agree with him -- that's just what he said after the game.

If Hardesty is in open revolt over not playing, then he needs to have his butt sat down for a few games or else shown the door. My opinion.

Pullingguard writes:

Typical hindsight from coaching.. Roper says he should have done a better job of getting Hardesty in the ball game.. No wonder we are not winning, the coaching staff cannot meet the needs of the game, its review and hindsight about what should be done after the fact.

chrisw2967 writes:

mbumburu If Hardesty is in open revolt over not playing, then he needs to have his butt sat down for a few games or else shown the door. My opinion.

my opinion is Fulmer needs to be shown the door , he had no ideal where Hardesty was or why he didnt play , now thats a real coach right there. I guess Fulmer didnt realize he wasnt playing.Fulmer does not have clue what he is even doing himself. Fulmer has destroyed this program.
If hardesty screwed up then he needs something to happen to him , but this kid has proven he can run the ball , he is the best back we have and again thats my opinion.
The wheels are falling off the wagon really fast now.

thevol writes:

Foster should be the one pissed off. He was running great and should have carried the ball everytime.

jimmy71#237592 writes:

CLUNK!...what's that noise?... CLUNK! listen, there it is again, what is that?...CLUNK! CLUNK!...Oh, now I see, its just the wheels falling off...

injunvol writes:

just want to say to this team guys hang in there lots of football left and take things upon yourself to win out despite your current coaching staff you can do it the 98 team won it all with the very same inept staff you have now they just pulled these clowns along for the ride and the fact remains they did it on their own and you can too if you wont quit

west_tn_volfan writes:

Where are you guys coming up with the "got into it with Roper in practice" stuff? Did you hear it from a friend of a friend? If its true, then Fulmer is lying because he was quoted as saying there were no disciplinary reasons for Hardesty not playing.

MissUT writes:

Not a single one of you have any idea what's going on with the football program...you're just like a bunch of vultures, ready to swoop down on someone without knowing the facts. What you THINK may not necessarily be how it IS. You've allowed your hatred for Coach Fulmer to cloud your judgement, and some of you, your sense of decency.

I would like to know which one of you is willing to take over this football team, straighten out all the personnel problems, and guarantee us (the paying fans) wins for the rest of the season. Surely, there are many of you that know all of our problems and the solutions...a piece of cake! When do you plan to reveal yourself to the rest of us???

If I didn't love this program so much, I would love to see some of you get exactly what you want...Coach Fulmer and his entire staff clean out their offices and walk out. I would imagine half the team (or more) would go with them. Then you know-it-alls could bring in your dream coaches to take over this downtrodden program (or what's left of it). Just think of all the 4* & 5* recruits lurking out there...just waiting to come to TN to win nothing but championships for the next 10 years or more...God only knows what these prima donnas will be promised...it will take the promised 10 years to complete all the investigations and then we can spend the next 4-5 years on probation. By that time, we'll be back in the hunt for a new coaching staff.

Many of you have made your wishes known...championships at all cost, and nothing less. You want a coaching staff that lets you dictate how they do their jobs.

You're not satisfied with a decent, family man, who plays by the rules...a man that loves his university, his family, his players. I wouldn't blame him if he left us in a lurch, but he's too decent for that.

EglinVOL writes:

Good point mbumburu.
Good point thevol.

Up-root the entire coaching staff and we're really screwed. Meyer took over a pretty good program from Zook. A new head coach isnt always the answer. If you want to blame somebody blame Chavis. Worst defense I've ever seen TN field...

cphil writes:

MissUT, obviously you are blinded by an emotional attachment to Fulmer more than your love for the football program. Either that or you've been watching games for the past few seasons through Con Hunley's rose colored glasses.

This isn't a situation of a few disgruntled fans upset over a loss, or even a few losses. It's about adamant fans and supporters who DO love the University of Tennessee and are deeply troubled by the direction the football program has taken in recent years. It matters not how fine a person Phillip Fulmer or any of the other members of the coaching staff are. That is no reason to accept complacency, much less the degradation that has crept into the program, and has been slowly destroying it.

We now have a football program that, year after year, recruits some of the most talented players in the nation, yet sees them perform well below their abilities. There is no longer any leadership from the coaching staff. There is no longer any motivation from the coaching staff. There is no longer any sense of direction from the coaching staff.

Let's look at the situation by analogy. Say you hired a contractor to build you a new house. He's a fine man. Highest morals of any builder in the area. He goes to church every time the doors open. He helps orphans and widows at every opportunity. However, you notice the job he's doing on your house is not up to par. The corners are crooked, there are cracks in the walls and foundation, it's taking him twice as long to do any of the tasks as what he told you it should take, and as a result it's costing you a lot more money. Would you accept him continuing to work for you just because you think he's a fine person? I think not. Would you not look for another builder just because of the uncertainty of that builder's workmanship? I think not.

This is indeed a sad day in the history of the University. Philip Fulmer is a son of the University. But that fact, regardless of how fine a person he is, cannot distract from the fact that he is no longer able to command the program. It's only been a couple of years ago that the same argument was made when the move was made in the basketball program. I don't think anyone questioned that Buzz Peterson was a fine man. His players loved him. Many fans did too. However, he was unable to get the performance from those players they were capable of. Enter Bruce Pearle. Enough said.

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

Miss UT,


alfrizzle097 writes:

You are very quick to criticize the coaches for not putting Hardesty in, but Foster was averaging seven yards per carry. SEVEN! Foster getting the majority of the carries is not one of the many things you can criticize the coaches for about this game.

murrayvol writes:

Phil's doghouse has many mansions and for whatever reason Hardesty now occupies one of them. What the hell kind of game plan doesn't include a single carry for your #2 tailback in your second biggest game of the year? If for no other reason to give your #1 guy a blow. There's no way to put lipstick on this pig. For those who haven't scanned the AP poll, there are 7 ranked SEC teams. We're not among them but at least 3 idiots gave us a top 25 vote. We should thank those guys for the props.

budrhon writes:

Unfortunately we have to take the high road. Hardesty should have been at practice. Wait like several others until the end of the season then make a decision if UT is where you want to be at. On another note is a Sunday practice really going to help this team focus on playing competitive? Interesting sense of urgency at this point of the season.

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

I'm sure the 3 votes were from the Berkeley/Oakland region. They are still holding on to beating us as a bright spot to their season. You know like were good or something.

mtnvol writes:

I heard that John Pennington overheard someone talking in the McDonald's on the strip about the Roper v. Hardesty conflict. ;-)

nextyear writes:

Miss UT, I assume your last name is Fulmer or something close to it. I want Phil to continue to be a part of UT, but not as coach. We need a new coaching staff.

MY FAVORITE UNOFFICIAL STAT: I live and work in Atlanta and know many football fans from every SEC school. No fan of any other university wants UT to change coaches. After all, I wanted Florida to keep Ron Zook!

I think that says volumes about our coaching staff. Our rivals do not want UT to make a coaching change.

powert#205805 writes:

In the immortal words of Dick Cheney "And now, the wheel has turned. It is time. It is time for them to go."

secten#238516 writes:

Seems like the coaches don't have a clue anymore........sad

cnalumni writes:

I understand Hardesty being upset for not playing, but that is no excuse for not showing up for practice. I am sure there are other players who feel like they should be playing more, but they still come to practice. He is not being a good team mate. Ainge was able to handle it with Clausen, and Hardesty needs to be patient. His time will come and he will be the premier RB. Hang in there.

jdcvols#230433 writes:

I see missut has brought the kool-aid back.

Richmondvol writes:

only 18 more days until basketball!!

VolsorCat writes:

19 carries.......shotgun on 3rd and 2......I think Montario could gain 2 yards as could Foster. Dealing in facts, UT got outcoached in every aspect of the game. Gotta love the reverse that could have easily been a fumble had he not pitched it. I am disgusted and I have really tried to be supportive up until this point.

tigervol9802 writes:

So here's the big question -

Wouldn't it be ironic if Suprrier was the final nail in Fulmer's coaching coffin?

RangerForSix writes:



jdcvols#230433 writes:

or Marc Ash. The player who bleeds orange so wants to help the team during the game and is left out to dry. Hardesty has been through many injuries and is just now healthy. He has been a great backup to Foster, never been suspended like Coker and just maybe sees the inept coaching> Nothing I've read or heard should have caused him to sit out the game. When you have a sinking ship, some people go down with it and others take action or make suggestions to stop the bleeding. It could be the case here. I will agree that skipping practice for the sole purpose to protest lack of playing time is wrong....but there will be another side to the story.

jdcvols#230433 writes:

marc_ash, I'm afraid as well that the fallout will get worse. I'm sure there was some finger pointing after the game. Wonder what went on at halftime about making adjustments? I can't believe that our MVP of the season is our FG kicker. In the preseason, this was one of our biggest concerns....and now the one major bright spot. Go Lincoln!

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