Hamilton talked to Fulmer about potential of Stephens impact

The decision Friday to start Nick Stephens at quarterback had a far greater impact on Tennessee's football program than just helping a struggling offense.

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said he believed that decision had a positive impact on fan turnout Saturday for UT's 13-9 win over Northern Illinois.

"I don't think there is any doubt," Hamilton said. "I thought there would be some energy from the crowd's standpoint depending on how the announcement went."

Hamilton said he discussed the potential impact of Stephens starting and attendance with UT coach Phillip Fulmer last week.

UT opened up a quarterback competition last Sunday between Stephens and junior Jonathan Crompton, who started UT's first four games of the season.

Hamilton said he was unsure if the conversation had an effect on Fulmer's decision, adding that he believed Fulmer had already made his decision.

"Phillip and I have regular meetings and we were just kicking it around and talking about it," Hamilton said. "I just said I would encourage you that if you have a decision you ought to announce it in advance so the fans can know that."

Crompton had drawn the ire of UT fans following his recent struggles. Crompton finished last out of five choices and received 2 percent of the vote in a poll on govolsxtra.com asking who should start at quarterback against Northern Illinois.

The crowd - or lack thereof - was part of another lackluster UT win this season.

The announced attendance Saturday was 99,539. That is based on tickets sold and stadium personnel, not actual fans in attendance.

There were plenty of empty seats in the upper deck and a significant amount in the lower bowl.

The upper deck of the student section was roughly 50 percent full. The lower student sections also were noticeably short of capacity for much of the game.

Saturday's crowd was estimated by several media members to be approximately 80,000 to 85,000, about the same as when UT hosted UAB on Sept. 13.

Hamilton said he was pleased with the turnout.

"The crowd had great energy," he said. "This is still Tennessee football."

Hamilton and much of the media disagreed with the crowd size for the UAB game. Hamilton said following the game that the crowd was close to capacity.

"We don't know because we don't have turnstiles," Hamilton said. "It's all a judgment call."

Hamilton said concession sales supported his claim. He said UT's concession sales were the third highest in two seasons.

Ends Continue: After failing to record a sack from a defensive end in UT's first three games, that group has recorded three sacks in their last two games.

Junior Wes Brown recorded his first solo sack of his career. Brown had half a sack last season.

Defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell said facing pocket passers has helped.

"We were able to lay our ears back and not worry about the contain element," Caldwell said.

Sophomores Ben Martin and Chris Walker recorded sacks last week against Auburn. How close is the group to being dominant?

"We're really, really close," Walker said.

Junior college transfer Gerald Williams batted down a pass. He also had two tackles last week in limited time.

"I want to get him more and more (in the rotation) everyday," Caldwell said. "We'll figure out a good rotation."

Injury Report: Offensive lineman Vladimir Richard did not dress for the game. He has been slow to recover from a sore knee.

Junior Jeff Cottam only played a handful of snaps. Cottam returned from back surgery earlier this week. He was supposed to play 20 snaps.

Boos Are Back: Fans booed early in the second quarter when UT decided not to go for it on fourth down at their own 45. Fans also booed when UT took a knee to run out the clock with 31 seconds before halftime.

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Comments » 99

vtvol#210290 writes:

Maybe the internet revolt and the empty seats are exacting change with the football program. Stay the course Vol fans!

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

Dear Phil, remember that the real people in charge of the football game for the officials, and create respect for yourself with the fans. That's who you are playing for. That's why they boo you. Quit playing to win, and play to the fans, they will let you know when they've had enough.

chrisw2967 writes:

wow , Fulmer needed Hamilton to suggest to him we needed a QB change , pathetic , from fulmer all the way down to hamilton needs to be fired. Hamilton was looking at it from a money stand point,thats all it is about to the AD.when is this circus going to stop ?

BillsBrother writes:

Man, is Hamilton way behind. I thought Dave Clawson suggested the change two weeks ago!

bluetick writes:

OH some fans just suck..that's all. (regarding the booing) Can't please everybody. For the hundred or so people (maybe) in the stands that boo, there are thousands that don't. I say put Eric Berry on offense one some plays. Surely can't hurt. I only heard the game online but seems that Nick is the guy now to solidify the QB position. Seems he was much more comfy in the pocket and running the offense than Crompton. Plus Nick is much better spoken than Crompton in my opinion.

FedUpVolFan writes:

Hey!We are now ranked 55th in the nation!
UCLA is 88th.
Go figure!

Sheepscape writes:

Four point victory over Northern Illinois will seem pretty fine when we get back to SEC play...we're in bad shape.

highVOLtage writes:

So it takes lousy attendance or at least the threat of it for the coaching staff to make the correct call to start the better QB?

newtonrail writes:

GVX is sinking lower and lower in facts. This story headlines that Hamilton suggested change in QB's. Wrong. Story clearly says he suggested announcing change if CPF had made a decision. BIG difference. Attendance was nearer the announced figured when game was underway in 1rst Quarter. The 1200 unsold Student seats in CC and DD were obviously empty, as were a few hundred of the upper seats in II and JJ returned by Northern Illinois. There were some empty seats here and there, but 25,000 vacant? Come on Hooker. You and your fellow scribes have to stir the pot, whether you stretch the truth till it breaks or not.

VolPowers writes:

Mike Hamilton IS Baghadad Bob. The Ostrich Syndrome runs amock on the Hill!?! I've had it with this level of "leadership".

bigexecutiveguy writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tntorbett writes:

That's what it's all about, do what we can to get more butts in the seats. As those #'s go up, $$$$'s go up too. Forget having a football team this school & state can be proud of, What can we do to make more money. Thanks alot Mike"SHOW ME THE MONEY" Hamilton, you're just further proving what a jackass you are.

Also, how many other programs in America, do the Athletic Directors make comments to coaches on who should & shouldn't be playing? Not sure who's running this sinking ship, but they all need to go.

This is in no way intended to be a knock on Nick Stephens, considering this was his first week practicing w/ the first team, I thought he did an outstanding job.

Just sick of "Dollar Signs" Hamilton & his Financial approach to athletics, jack ticket prices, make these lineup changes. Hamilton, you've really helped the basketball team out alot, but please hire someone to your staff who knows something about football, besides the "business" aspect of it.

txsvol#372416 writes:

Mike Hamilton! Knoxville's answer to Al Davis! SAVol

imnotwithphil writes:

Well... Mike is certainly qualified to make the QB call... being an accountant and all...

BTW - do you notice how ole Mike takes credit for success... but is nowhere to be found when its time to take responsibility for the program's failures?

I suppose the ole saying is true... success and a 1,000 fathers... and its newest pop is apparently Mr. Hamilton.

chbradshaw writes:

Mike Hamilton is clearly in over his head as Athletic Director at a major university that at one time included a major college football program. He should be fired for Fulmer's contract alone.

The Governor needs to step in and clean up this mess. Maybe this is what happens when we have not had a native Tennessean as Governor in 14 years since Ned McWherter, Bredesen and Sundquist before him didn't seem to understand what Tennessee football means to this state.

This is as much of an outrage as the Shumaker scandal.

And get rid of Kesling too...he is a buffoon and an embarassment to the legacy of John Ward and his predecessors.

ClassicVol (Inactive) writes:

Hamilton in my opinion is trying to save his own job. After the contract that gave Fulmer a seven million doller buyout i think he should be fired.
If we want to see Fulmer gone, put more pressure on Hamilton to go.

rocky_topper writes:

I for one left my 8 seats empty and will continue to do so until we have a new coach. Next year, I won't be renewing my tickets either!

pitdoug98 writes:

in response to WeLoveTennesseeVols:

Dear Phil, remember that the real people in charge of the football game for the officials, and create respect for yourself with the fans. That's who you are playing for. That's why they boo you. Quit playing to win, and play to the fans, they will let you know when they've had enough.

"of the football game for the officials",Some quick proof reading might help. And what does "quit playing to win" mean exactly? You ALWAYS play to win. The fans speak with attendance or lack there of.With hat and tee shirt purchases or lack there of. Ask the GM at Calhoun's to compare this season with seasons past. I know for a fact I'll not spend the $ required to attend a game when the product on the field is so hard to get excited about. I love my Vols but with our fan base and facilities we should always be in the 'hunt'. The Vols are an after thought nationally. Nick Saban to a potential Vol/Tide recruit and his parents,"Well Coach Fulmer is a great guy and a great friend but he may not make it four more years with the current conditions up in Knoxville".Please coach tell us your a grandfather and want to spend time with your family, that you want to step back from football and enjoy what really matters. Grace is important. Bye Phil.

ClayMolder (Inactive) writes:

did i understand this article to say that the AD made the suggestion to change qb? i know the headline said it. if that isnt enough to send fulmer packing there will never be grounds to fire him. the fans should lay off the fat jokes and all the personal attacks on him and make a concerted effort to persuade the powers that be to buy him out. not next year, NOW.

eutefan writes:

From the article:

"Hamilton said he was unsure if the conversation had an effect on Fulmer's decision, adding that he believed Fulmer had already made his decision."

fedupvol writes:

Fire both hammy and philly...NOW, not after the season....this stuff is stinking badly and will only get worse in the next 7-8 weeks....could easily go 0-8 in SEC...what a travesty!

beachvol1 writes:

BS ON HAMILTON MAKING A SUGGESTION TO CHANGE QB'S...WHAT IS HE ALL OF A SUDDEN AN AL DAVIS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL??? IF HE SO GOOD AT SUGGESTIONS, HOW ABOUT SUGGESTING THE "FAT RAT" BE MOVED OUT OF THE HEAD COACHING POSITION FOR THE REMAINDER AND HOW ABOUT SUGGESTING BRANDON WARREN PLAYING ABOUT 50 PERCENT OF THE TIME...ANYBODY HAVE A BUYOUT PKG FOR HAMBONE AND FAT RAT??? DEFENSE IS FINE, BUT THIS OFFENSE WILL NOT SCORE AGAINST GEORGIA, NO MATTER WHO IS QB...THIS TEAM SUCKS AND TICKET HOLDERS HAVE A RIGHT TO BOO IF THEY WANT, SO YOU CLOSET CASE BOOERS WHO SIT AT HOME AND BOO PUT A LID ON IT....3-8 LOOKS LIKE A MOVING VAN TO ME...

tennecwingrider writes:

Translation from Mr. Hamilton, "All is well." Herein lies our problem. Attendance is the issue, concession sales are the validator. Pay for the stadium, Phil. That's the main clause in your long, enormous contract.

txvolsfan writes:

Good analogy SAVOL, Maybe it should be Mike Hamilton for coach!!!

cleVOLand writes:

There attendance for this game was higher than for UAB. The energy was great. Contrary to some predictions, tickets were not abundant outside the stadium. There were obviously a lot of kids and people who usually don't get the chance to go to games there looking for tickets. There was more of a sellers market for tickets at this game than for the Arkansas game last year. The boos where surprising but significantly softer than in previous games. In fact, the boos at the end of the first half were partially drowned out by cheers from exuberant fans in the north end zone who were cheering their vols into the tunnel. For those of you that were too high and mighty to attend, you missed a fun game.

philfan writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

wow , Fulmer needed Hamilton to suggest to him we needed a QB change , pathetic , from fulmer all the way down to hamilton needs to be fired. Hamilton was looking at it from a money stand point,thats all it is about to the AD.when is this circus going to stop ?

You want Hamilton fired? Are you serious? Yes, Tennessee football may not be where it used to be, but firing Hamilton would be incredibly stupid. He has been one of the main rerasons for the resurgence of basketball, and he is in charge of all the sports programs, not just football. Hamilton is the CEO for the athletic department, and he needs to be concerned about money matters, because with money new gymnasiums are built, scholarships are funded, and renovations are made to Neyland Stadium and the other training facilities. From now on, take a deep breath and think about what you say before the BS just comes flowing out of your mouth.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

OFFENSIVE LINE BUNCH OF SOFT AZZ SISSY'S . FULMER IS BRINGING THIS PROGRAM DOWN .

SpringCityVol writes:

Hey Hamilton! Since you're calling the shots now and you've determined money matters more than winning, you know what would really put butts in the seats and cash in the till? Fire Fulmer and replace him every week with a different celebrity coach like Dolly Parton. I'd show up for both of those games if you know what I mean ;).

pdhuff#552644 writes:

As I said last week, no way Phil changed QBs on his own.

Hamilton got the call and relayed the message.

Deed done.

The next call is the one Phil better dread.

Well, let's hope for a Richt brain fa#t again or it could be a looooong afternoon in Athens.

madcow26#524674 writes:

undisciplined and poorly coached... this will not end well..

vol52 writes:

I will be impressed when Mikey makes a change in coach and not before. He needs to start working Billy Bob Thornton.

SpringCityVol writes:

I like how Hamilton bragged on the concession sales being the third highest in two seasons like it was a good thing that of the fans that showed up most of them would rather stand in line than watch the game. The other possibility is they were taking the CPF approach and eating away their misery. Either way let's hear it for the hardest working bunch at Neyland...the concessionaires.

chbradshaw writes:

in response to philfan:

You want Hamilton fired? Are you serious? Yes, Tennessee football may not be where it used to be, but firing Hamilton would be incredibly stupid. He has been one of the main rerasons for the resurgence of basketball, and he is in charge of all the sports programs, not just football. Hamilton is the CEO for the athletic department, and he needs to be concerned about money matters, because with money new gymnasiums are built, scholarships are funded, and renovations are made to Neyland Stadium and the other training facilities. From now on, take a deep breath and think about what you say before the BS just comes flowing out of your mouth.

Philfan...

I took your advice and thought about it some more.

Yes, Hamilton should be fired immediately. He has nowhere near the stature necessary to be custodian of the Athletic Department at the flagship university of this state.

Anyone who would dumb down the football program to proclaim in a contract that an 8-6 season was worthy of a contract extension is far beneath the job.

Hamilton and Fulmer are robbing an entire generation of potential young Tennessee fans of the memories all of us have of growing up following the tradition of the Volunteers. I have an 8 year-old son who I am embarassed when he cannot understand why Tennessee football is so bad.

He has kids whose parents went to Georgia in his class. This will not be a proud week for him thanks to Fulmer and Hamilton.

They need to go now before they soil the program any more.

CT_VOL writes:

My favorite part of the game was when Fulmer calls back to back time outs on the NIU 3 yard line to ensure everyone's on the same page. After waiting 10 minutes for this careful and crafty planning, we are treated to instant Stephens sack! Funny sad!

Frank

chattownvol writes:

in response to rocky_topper:

I for one left my 8 seats empty and will continue to do so until we have a new coach. Next year, I won't be renewing my tickets either!

i'll take 'em.

CTM749115 writes:

in response to philfan:

You want Hamilton fired? Are you serious? Yes, Tennessee football may not be where it used to be, but firing Hamilton would be incredibly stupid. He has been one of the main rerasons for the resurgence of basketball, and he is in charge of all the sports programs, not just football. Hamilton is the CEO for the athletic department, and he needs to be concerned about money matters, because with money new gymnasiums are built, scholarships are funded, and renovations are made to Neyland Stadium and the other training facilities. From now on, take a deep breath and think about what you say before the BS just comes flowing out of your mouth.

Hamilton had nothing to do with Pat Head or Joan Cronan and that's half of UT basketball success - right? Also Ernie Grunfeld, former UT great, is the one responsible for Bruce Pearl, Hamilton was smart enough to take his advice and do the contracts. What Hamilton did was extend Phil Fulmer's contract and up his salary.

TommyJack writes:

Remember this fact. Mikey didn't hire Phixable. It's his job to rememdy this in a fast, bidness-like way. As for the suggestion to change QB's...Duh...Mikey could see the obvious PR involved...Phixable could not. Or is too stubborn to make the change. Glad Mikey stepped in. Needs to do more stepping. As for next Saturday, I'm afraid the Big Dawg will eat. A lot.

budd#207344 writes:

Folks you miss the whole point of the article. Milkey is worried. Why else does he ask fulmer to announce the change during the week. He says it is to spur attendance. Forget what else he says, he is running scared on attendance and he knows he has to do something. By the end of the season he will problably have a concert after the game. Or have the circus outside the stadium and counmt the folks there

Boycott Neyland. Milkey is scared! Keep the pressure on!

How bout them Dores!!!

koamalina writes:

I was at the game yesterday, and here is my take on things. Walking around campus starting around 4pm, it was so quiet that you barely would know it was game day. There was some activity in the fan zone in front of Circle Park, but other than that, it was about dead. Until just before kickoff, there were many more empty seats than usual. It was looking like a 60K crowd. But just before kickoff and into the first quarter fans started to arrive until the stadium looked about like the UAB game. There was one big difference though. There were a lot more kids at the game; a lot more. It seems that a lot of parents took advantage of cheap (or free, from what some people were saying) tickets available outside to take their kids to a game. So it was good for the kids to go to a game, but it was an illusion to any who think that the fans are happy with the situation that is Tennessee football. I am afraid that all will come back to reality between the hedges next Saturday, and that when Bama comes to town, Neyland may be wearing nearly as much crimson as orange.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

As I said last week, no way Phil changed QBs on his own.

Hamilton got the call and relayed the message.

Deed done.

The next call is the one Phil better dread.

Well, let's hope for a Richt brain fa#t again or it could be a looooong afternoon in Athens.

Try as I might, can't see how the afternoon in Athens could be otherwise. Keep hope alive!

MassVol writes:

in response to newtonrail:

GVX is sinking lower and lower in facts. This story headlines that Hamilton suggested change in QB's. Wrong. Story clearly says he suggested announcing change if CPF had made a decision. BIG difference. Attendance was nearer the announced figured when game was underway in 1rst Quarter. The 1200 unsold Student seats in CC and DD were obviously empty, as were a few hundred of the upper seats in II and JJ returned by Northern Illinois. There were some empty seats here and there, but 25,000 vacant? Come on Hooker. You and your fellow scribes have to stir the pot, whether you stretch the truth till it breaks or not.

I agree Newtonrail. Looks like Tuscaloosa John is pressing the insurgency. Win the hearts and minds through the media (even if it's not true) and then you can say whatever you want about Coach Fulmer.

Nice headline. Completely and purposefully skewing public opinion. What a bunch of punks.

murrayvol writes:

in response to grvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ole!

nextyear writes:

Maybe we could get Hamilton to talk to Fulmer about benching #27 too. He's our 3rd or 4th best back, but gets all the snaps. We have to beat Ms State to stay out of the potato cellar ...

2008 SEC Standings

EAST CONF
Vanderbilt #19 3-0 5-0
Florida #12 2-1 4-1
Georgia #11 1-1 4-1
South Carolina 1-2 4-2
Kentucky 0-1 4-1
Tennessee 0-2 2-3

WEST CONF
Alabama #2 3-0 6-0
LSU #3 2-0 4-0
Auburn #13 2-2 4-2
Mississippi 1-2 3-3
Arkansas 0-2 2-3
Mississippi State 0-2 1-4

We need a new head coach. We have the talent. We have been spiraling down since 2001 (even a bad stock market will temporarily go up once in a while ... like beating GA ... we still need a new coach)

richvol writes:

`I'll bet Fulmer had to be told to play Stephens. If he was ever going to sit Crompton he would have done it before now as badly as he has played.

The offensive line is soft and underachieving...NIU pushed them around all night and we could not make a 4th and less than a yard again. Stephens was also pressured quite a bit.

Tennessee will always have skill players. The overwhelming problem is both sides of the line. We are not getting and developing the type of linemen we once had. LSU, Florida and Alabama are dominate because of their LINEMEN. That Alabama line is so well coached and aggressive that I'm afraid that game will be the worst beating we take this year.

Until UT starts getting the linemen we once had and starts coaching them up properly we will be a 2nd tier program in the SEC.

Smokey91 writes:

If Mike Hamilton is in over his head as the AD, then Clawson should feel right at home. I can't believe this guy knows anything about coaching at this level. Terrible hire buy Fulmer and Hamilton. The only thing they do consistently is underwhelm and prove how irrelevant they are to college football.

tripsavol3#650322 writes:

in response to rocky_topper:

I for one left my 8 seats empty and will continue to do so until we have a new coach. Next year, I won't be renewing my tickets either!

I'll take them, email me @yahoo.

Go4Two writes:

Cbradshaw

What time frame would you like the vols to return to. You talk about great memories please explain what decade you would like to return to.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

mikevol:
You're actually right, when you look at the history the only success sustained for an extended period are the Neyland years which were way before my time. Every other era seems to be a climb out of mediocrity, a peak of a few years followed by decline. Fulmer has held off the decline longer than all the others except Neyland, but it is slipping way from him now too. It will be tough to maintain a consistently strong program in this era with the recruiting base that we have and the improved programs in the SEC. We certainly won't be able to maintain parity without an extremely exceptional coaching staff...this one sadly is not exceptional.

FireJohnAdams writes:

in response to txsvol#372416:

Mike Hamilton! Knoxville's answer to Al Davis! SAVol

My sentiments exactly! Like we need this on top of all our other problems! But heck, I'm sure Mike is a Coaching phenom...he handles Grandfather seating and sticking it to the paying-public so well, he might as well jump into coaching!!!

Go4Two writes:

Volndawg

The key to Tennessee's success has been stability. Since we don't have the recruiting base we have to show recruits that the coaching staff is stable. Only two head football coaches since 1976 holds this true. It's appears that Penn State and FSU decision to stay with their tenures coaches is beginning to pay off. Both when though tough seasons but seem to have cycled and are moving back to the top of College Football. It's easy to pull the trigger hoping for better times to only find your program falling quickly to the bottom. Nebraska, Texas A&M, Miami, Michigan even old Miss got tired of just winning 9 games under David C. But I think the best example is the New York Yankees have got tired of old Joe not winning the WS so they sent him packing. Torre is still playing while the Yankees failed to make the play offs...

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