Adams: On a positive note, it can't get any worse

Tennessee Volunteer head coach and his wife, Vicky, walk off the field after Tennessee's 13-7 homecoming game loss to the University of Wyoming Cowboys Saturday in Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee Volunteer head coach and his wife, Vicky, walk off the field after Tennessee's 13-7 homecoming game loss to the University of Wyoming Cowboys Saturday in Neyland Stadium.

If you still had any doubts whether Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton made the right decision, you should have seen the Wyoming Cowboys celebrating at Neyland Stadium.

UT's athletic director decided at the first of the week he needed a new football coach. The Vols provided confirmation Saturday afternoon.

The 13-7 defeat to Wyoming wasn't just another loss in a 3-7 season. It was one for the ages.

It's one thing to lose to your SEC rivals or in overtime to a talentless UCLA team. But this was the lowest scoring team in Division I-A, traveling across two time zones

How bad is Wyoming? It lost five consecutive games in the middle of the season by a 207-30 count.

How bad is Wyoming? Not as bad as UT.

I still wonder if this UT team has figured out how bad it is.

Players seemed shocked by coach Phillip Fulmer's forced resignation on Monday. It makes you wonder if they have been keeping score.

They just became only the second team in school history to lose as many as seven games in a season. The program has now lost 21 games in the last four years. And based on the performance against Wyoming, two more losses are hardly out of the question. That would tie UT's 1977-80 teams for the most losses in a four-year period.

It's not just the losing that has cost Fulmer his job. It's the reaction to the losing.

As I pulled into a UT parking garage 30 minutes before kickoff, a parking lot attendant said she had never seen so few cars in her 22 years of working that garage on game day. Neyland Stadium wasn't three-quarters full at kickoff and wasn't half full by the time the Cowboys ran out the clock.

Apathy does have its advantages. In almost any other season, a loss to Wyoming would have sent shockwaves through Big Orange country. UT fans are beyond shock. They have moved on.

"Who won?" wasn't the biggest question of the day. "Who's next?" was more important. The numbers on the scoreboard weren't as significant as the new phone numbers on Hamilton's Blackberry.

He has the ball in his hands. And he's running with it.

Forget the players and coaches. Hamilton is the star now. He can't save this season, but he can save the program.

Maybe he can land a big-name coach like North Carolina's Butch Davis. Maybe he will hire a coach with more potential than accomplishments.

But no matter whom Hamilton hires, the new coach should be able to improve on this.

In the middle of the season, I wasn't so sure if the next UT team would be any better. Now, I'm convinced. It can't help but be better. That speaks volumes for how this season has gone.

The Vols made the same mistakes in the 10th game that they made in the season opener. They were an undisciplined, mistake-prone team then. They're an undisciplined, mistake-prone team now.

Every week, we hear how well this team practiced. And after each loss, we hear about how much effort it gave.

But for all those supposedly good practices and all the effort, this team isn't getting better. It's getting worse.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 131

normdia writes:

I hate to say it, but...

Well said, Adams.

Misremembered writes:

So long Scratch and Clawfense!!

volsdontsuck writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

turfgrassalumni writes:

I would like to say thanks to the Fulmer of the first 10 to 12 years. Job well done, and your history in the vols is secure. That being said, "UT fans are beyond shock. They have moved on" is the only way to sum up the current state of the program. Please secure the next staff soon so we can keep and/or gain some good talent for next year.

haus writes:

i hope we don't honor anyone else the rest of the season. or ever again.... wake me up when this nightmare is over

sjpharmd#530831 writes:

It is a time for change. I call for John Adams to be replaced . He seems to trive on writting on the negative on the Vols. He is a smart A__$ most of the time when on the sports animal . Ive canceled my paper. Lets clean house.

FWBVol writes:

Nothing like kicking a man when he's down John. If you knew as much about coaching winning football in the SEC you would be making several times what the KNS pays you.

You talk about an undisciplined football team, but Gary Danielson of CBS said when he attended UT's practices he saw a disciplined team in practice...it's the talent that's down, which I'll admit is a problem.

I guess you've got to take your final shots at Phillip Fulmer while you can. Next year, during the honeymoon season, there won't be anyone on your bandwagon when you rip the coach.

budd#207344 writes:

adams, I have always defended you and felt that you are correct in bursting bubbles. I watch the ga press lick mark richt's aXX and am glad you make the fans of Big Orange look at reality. But a true winner knows when to let it go. These stories do not serve any purpose other than "na na I told you so" I hope you are bigger than that

Knoxobserver writes:

Word. That simple.

I work one of the lots close to the stadium. Not only were we not close to filling our base lot by 12:30, we never even opened up the lower lot. One long timer commented that this was likely a 75,000 crowd. It would be hard to imagine that there were actually 90+K including concessionaires.

Though many may not like Adams' articles, there is one statement that is incontrovertibly true and is all the more damning of Fulmer's reputation this season - no improvement. There has been no improvement in this team from the UCLA game until now. Same problems, same issues, same response. The players may think this is just a recent development, but this has been building since Fulmer failed to capitalize on the national championship. His legacy and dynasty since then have been marked by the lack of accomplishment. Today's game was an exclamation point on the events of the past ten years, not just the week or the season.

Is the Vol Nation prepared for 3-9??

Epic fail.

MikeTheTiger writes:

Well said John. I am sure these players are upset because they may actually have to work hard for a new coach next season. Hopefully Mike Hamilton will clean the ENTIRE HOUSE. Please don't keep anyone from this staff. While you are at it, please get rid of Bob Kessling and Bobby Denton!!

UTFAN1751 writes:

in response to Misremembered:

So long Scratch and Clawfense!!

Time for Mr. Clausen to kick rocks as well

zqvol writes:

All I can say is what happened to the days of Marvin west, Ben Byrd, and Tom Siler.

Adams is nothing but classless.

pistoldca writes:

Whats the deal with the Adams' haters? These articles are right on...

THE_VOL writes:

Careful JA or that PHAT PH*CK will write you another public letter before he leaves!!!

I said all summer that this was going to be PERFECT STORM II and caught all kinds of hell for it. Well folks, whatcha think we ought to call it now?????

I_Sweat_Orange writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

FedUpVolFan writes:

Amen John!

dvols writes:

kns should be ashamed..... coaches are not the only way to clean house....i remember a certain ron zook taking it on the nose one year.... its coming

cdldoc#211897 writes:

I wish you all would run this t**d out of town on a rail. Adams is a viscious, illegitimate weasel. This story was just Adams repeating what we all saw while he collects a check.

THE_VOL writes:

in response to I_Sweat_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now that's not in keeping with your usual bible beating holier than thou attitude! Say you're sorry and then pucker up and crawl back under ole Philip's desk!

THE_VOL writes:

in response to cdldoc#211897:

I wish you all would run this t**d out of town on a rail. Adams is a viscious, illegitimate weasel. This story was just Adams repeating what we all saw while he collects a check.

You seem to be VERY sensitive to the TRUTH! It's hard to admit for you isn't it????? LMFAO!!!!

TommyJack writes:

What did Adams say that wasn't true?

bigOutfan writes:

Take Bob Kesling with you...

john#208876 writes:

What did people think was going to happen in this game? Anyone who expected the Vols to come out and play their best game of the year has never had to confront a losing spiral in sports.
Did Hamilton make the right decision? Well if he really thought that announcing his decision on Monday was going to lead to a celebration of Phillip Fulmer's tenure down the stretch he was delusional.
Sometimes it's better just to lie to the idiots like John Adams who are trying to find out your secrets. Al he wants to do is use whatever info he can dig up to screw with you anyway. Why not let the season play out like Hamilton has always said he would and announce after it's over. Now he has put the team in an untenable situation, (as if they needed any help).
Finally, we may have looked horrible, but if you can watch the post game press conference (link below) and not feel empathy for what those players and Coach Fulmer are going through, then being a Vol means something entirely different to you than it does to me. I hope the boys take some time off, maybe go for a ride in the Smokies to get it out of their minds, and come back and play like the Vandy starts a new season.
GO VOLS
http://www.utsports.com/

BillVol writes:

Oh, John, you big, bad meanie. That's why Fulmer would only take questions from Drew Edwards and Bryan Mullen.

Good column again, anyhow.

OldNumber7 writes:

I see a lot of sour grapes from fans - Adams is dead on and has been for years. I've agreed with most of what he has always warned. If you don't like the truth - quit reading his articles.

Bufforange00 writes:

John,
Still think you are small-time, but this article is right on. I would say that anyone could make these observations, but from some of the posts I am seeing, some people still have not moved on from fulmer.

tennisvol writes:

I thought this team had the entire offense back that went to the championship game except for the QB and of course, Cutcliffe. What happened? Whatever happened to BJ Coleman?

smokey_vols writes:

in response to I_Sweat_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Some people will never learn. He told the truth and he could have been worse about it and probably should have been, This was an embarrassment to this University and the fans. Your name calling sounds like some of the players on this team. NO DISCIPLINE.

smokey_vols writes:

in response to Footballfanatic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Extremely well said.

trace5254 writes:

Get used to this UT...it will be many years before this program is a legitimate SEC east contender. Relax, get ready for basketball and pull for the Tide to bring another championship to the SEC.

Scores writes:

The two happiest people in Knoxville right now are John Adams and Mike Hamilton. Again I say since we are starting over let's clean house and send Hamilton and Adams out of town also.

rusty_shackleford writes:

Being "correct" and being a "smart-a--" are two different things. Little Stevie Superior is often correct, but rubs everyone the wrong way with his arrogance. Same for tuscaloosa john.

BTW, hating tuscaloosa john and seeing the need for change at HC are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to do both.

wagee12 writes:

Thanks John for another spot, dead on commentary on this sorry excuse for a football team. Folks, Fulmer, his players and his wife who was laughing while they walked off the field, gave the Vol Nation the middle finger salute today. Personally, I wouldn't show up at the Kentucky game if I knew the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were picking me up at the airport. And if it true that the idiot Thunder Thornton had on a cap that said Fire Mike Hamilton, I hope some real Tennessee fan takes it off his head and sticks it where the sun don't shine. So Phil, Vicky, take your stinking millions and get the hell out of Dodge!

dougowen#209282 writes:

"But no matter whom Hamilton hires, the new coach should be able to improve on this."

I bet he will not improve on the last 17 years (150-52) and that's what he has to improve on not this 1 year!!!!!!

This is what you don't seem to understand it isn't just about this year!!!!

jabark82 writes:

in response to sjpharmd#530831:

It is a time for change. I call for John Adams to be replaced . He seems to trive on writting on the negative on the Vols. He is a smart A__$ most of the time when on the sports animal . Ive canceled my paper. Lets clean house.

Only writes on the negative? Has there been anything positive this season? Eric Berry is it... The only positive aspect of this team. Sickening...Absolutely sickening.

khelton657 writes:

Adams is spot on, has been for some time...has gotten an inordinate amount of criticism foe being truthful about the program...he can gloat some now.

Wherethe____isBrandonWarren writes:

Fulmer might have lost his coaching touch, but he always carried his self with dignity and honor, unlike you John. To be blunt, Mr. Adams, you are the king of all douchebags. There could be monuments built to immortalize your narrow-mindedness and arrogance. I agree it was a time for a coaching change, but you, Mr. Adams, are as class less as they come and I hope you never call yourself a Vols fan again.

jabark82 writes:

I absolutely cannot believe there are still people taking up for Philip Fulmer!?!?! I felt sorry for him Monday too. He's had a great run. But the time has come for him to be gone. Truth being told he should have been let go after the 2005 season. This team is no longer what it was in the 90's. When that happens in major college football someone MUST answer for it. Good luck Phil... Hope you are successful wherever you go but thank you for finally leaving...

HeckuvaStandpoint writes:

You CLOWN Adams-Haters....he's the only one that had the brass to tell the truth....to call it like he sees it...as it really is.

You need objective reporting from the hometown rag. JA called it way back..get off him....he's right.

Kool-Aid Free Zone

jabark82 writes:

in response to Wherethe____isBrandonWarren:

Fulmer might have lost his coaching touch, but he always carried his self with dignity and honor, unlike you John. To be blunt, Mr. Adams, you are the king of all douchebags. There could be monuments built to immortalize your narrow-mindedness and arrogance. I agree it was a time for a coaching change, but you, Mr. Adams, are as class less as they come and I hope you never call yourself a Vols fan again.

unfortunately dignity and honor doesnt win football games!

hotrodvol writes:

in response to trace5254:

Get used to this UT...it will be many years before this program is a legitimate SEC east contender. Relax, get ready for basketball and pull for the Tide to bring another championship to the SEC.

bama would be the last team I would pull for, I don't care who, are when they are playing.

vaughan1 writes:

Thanks to the Vols performance today I can rest assured knowing my Cowboys are not the worst team in Division 1A.

TNVOLFN writes:

This is a classless article by Mr. Adams. I seriously question his integrity as a journalist. He articulates a destructive and personal agenda that dismisses any notion of fair and balanced journalism. If we all subscribed to his logic, then we should demand his resignation for unoriginal journalism (see Strange's "so Bad!: that says it all about 3-6 Vols"). Forget the fact that a group of 18-22 year old kids have lost a father figure; forget the fact that UT has lost an icon that has brought Vol fans the happiest memories they will experience as sports fans; forget the fact that families will be displaced after this decision by the administration. This is simply a cheap (first of many, I suspect) parting shot for Mr. Adams... I hope UT rises to the top again (one day), but I seriously hope Mr. Adams is not there to distort the picture.

Triton1 writes:

in response to sjpharmd#530831:

It is a time for change. I call for John Adams to be replaced . He seems to trive on writting on the negative on the Vols. He is a smart A__$ most of the time when on the sports animal . Ive canceled my paper. Lets clean house.

I agree 100%, the headline should continue, and On A Negative Note: Adams Will Stay. That's almost as sad as losing to the Cowboys.

volsfan327 writes:

John Adams is dead on. I was not at the game but I did watch it on pay per view and not only was I speachless but the commentators were at a lose for words as well. They could not make sense of this mess today. It was sad and I must say it brought real tears to my eyes. Very very disappointing. I never wanted Coach Fulmer to leave the UT family but I couldn't hang in there with him any more in the head coaching position. We were/are losing and he can't figure out a way to stop it. I support Mike Hamilton in this, I am sure, gut wrenching decision. I doubt we will win out, not that it would make any difference at this point. There is no joy in Vol Town tonight. Only broken hearts and red eyes.

dougowen#209282 writes:

in response to Footballfanatic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just another idiot who can only insult and has no substance behind their argument, PF took us to the SEC championship game last year and 2 bad picks by Ainge away from winning the SEC. We could be like Alabama and not win our division in 10 years and go through 3 coaches in the next 19 years will that make your moronic azz happy?

TommyJack writes:

in response to gatorfan8:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

charming

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to trace5254:

Get used to this UT...it will be many years before this program is a legitimate SEC east contender. Relax, get ready for basketball and pull for the Tide to bring another championship to the SEC.

The Tide almost got it handed to them today. In the SEC championship game, Florida will kick their rears

john#208876 writes:

in response to Footballfanatic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey fanatic, my point was, idiots like you who keep piling on this team need to get over it. Obviously you didn't watch the POST GAME press conference. It's unfortunate but this team just hasn't been very good. Their coach is out, they're embarrassed, but guess what, they still wear orange.
So what do you think is going to help us get a new coach to help turn this thing around? John Adams rip jobs, fans like you calling your own players clowns? (By the way don't think I'd try that one on Wes Brown tonight.) Think again. How about just being a fan and supporting 'your' team with some class.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to dougowen#209282:

"But no matter whom Hamilton hires, the new coach should be able to improve on this."

I bet he will not improve on the last 17 years (150-52) and that's what he has to improve on not this 1 year!!!!!!

This is what you don't seem to understand it isn't just about this year!!!!

The majority of Fulmer's wins were at the expense of second and third tier teams. Look at the last 7 years record and get back to us. Especially his record against top ten teams

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