Fulmer: 'Dark cloud' following Vols' offense

ATHENS, Ga. - Tennessee's struggling offense needed two plays to keep the game respectable in a 26-14 loss at Georgia on Saturday.

It could only manage one. The defense turned in the other.

Quarterback Nick Stephens found receiver Denarius Moore for a 60-yard gain in the second quarter. The Vols (2-4, 0-3 SEC) scored three plays later to cut the deficit to 13-7.

Safety Eric Berry temporarily jumpstarted the Vols' offense with a 54-yard interception return in the third quarter. UT scored seven plays later to close to 20-14.

Other than that, it was a typically tough day for the offense.

"Excuse my language, we've been (expletive) all year as far as offense," UT receiver Gerald Jones said.

UT's latest offensive miscues compounded its struggles this season. In their last four games, they've scored only 45 points, the lowest consecutive four-game total since 1980 when UT managed only 28 points.

Even when the Vols struggled so mightily in 2005, their lowest four-game total was 46 points. That season led to the departure of offensive coordinator Randy Sanders and two other offensive coaches.

UT coach Phillip Fulmer said he's never been more frustrated with an offense.

"Not for this stretch of a time," an animated Fulmer said following the game. "We've got to find ourselves, whatever it is, some rhythm.

"It's like this dark cloud is following you around everywhere."

Fulmer backed first-year UT offensive Dave Clawson.

"The plans are good," Fulmer said. "They're sound. We just don't execute like we need to.

"All of us need to do better."

Fulmer said he had no intentions to get further involved with UT's offense, adding that he's already plenty involved.

"He's got the head phones on and he's certainly aware of everything we're doing," Clawson said. "He certainly lets me call the game. I'm responsible for the offense."

UT's offense ran the ball for only 1 net yard on 15 rushing plays.

"I don't know where our run game has gone," Fulmer said. "They (Georgia) flat committed to stopping it."

Saturday was doubly challenging for Stephens, who was making his first road start and first SEC game.

When named the starter before last week's 13-9 win against Northern Illinois, Stephens was called a gunslinger for his aggressive decision making.

That was plenty evident against Georgia where Stephens didn't look intimidated. He completed 13 of 30 passes for 208 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

On the other hand, Georgia batted away a number of balls, many of which were thrown into coverage.

"He did some good things today but the bottom line is the job of the quarterback is to get the win," Clawson said. "Collectively, we didn't do that."

In UT's last two games it has become evident that the Vols have more problems than inconsistent quarterback play.

So how do the Vols turn their offense around?

"Coaches and players sticking together and not turning against one another and staying positive," Clawson said. "That's the only way I know to do it.

"It's easy to say. It's harder to do."

Clawson said he's seen no finger pointing among his coaching staff so far. Of UT's four offensive coaches, only two have coached together before this season: Clawson and wide receivers coach Latrell Scott.

"There's times in meetings when we get animated and have good discussions but when the meeting is over we're all on the same page," Clawson said.

That may be true among coaches. Players seem to be another matter.

"It's just a matter of picking up blitzes," Jones said. "I think that's our biggest problem right now. When we try to throw the ball, we get too much pressure on the quarterback.

"Last year, we only allowed four sacks. It's a totally different ball game this year."

Jones even expressed concern about UT's defense in their worst performance of the season, particularly when Georgia scored on a 97-yard touchdown drive just before halftime.

"They (Georgia) made some good plays on offense and we made some stupid plays on defense as far as penalties," Jones said. "They drove the ball 97 yards. Who does that?"

Not the Vols this season.

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Comments » 75

VolNBham writes:

First

TommyJack writes:

Pick pick pick. Now it's a dark cloud. Look inward, Big Oval.

rockytoptilidie writes:

Pathetic. Fulmer, YOU are the DARK CLOUD.

Volsfan75 writes:

Gerald Jones needs to worry about himself. He dropped the a ball and made mistakes also. The team would be better if each individual player took responsibility for himself and stopped worrying about other players on the team.

MANVOL writes:

Dark cloud? Is that the shadow fulmer cast?

DennisVols writes:

This team is on the verge of a complete breakdown. The fact that there is a story about no finger pointing tells me there is some begining to brew. If that happens then what we have seen so far will be the best part of the season.

MANVOL writes:

Defense could not get themselves off the field. We will never know how the season could have turned out if Phil had not been stubborn and replaced crompton in the UCLA game. Stephens has some swagger to him. Sorry Phil wish you could have turned it around. enjoy retirement. Bryan Kelly the Bruce Pearl off the grid iron would be a great hire,...

GREEKDAWG writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

eduardo writes:

This guy in Florida must be related to Don from Sheepwater. I mean how can you blame that on the officiating. They drove the ball on us all night. We only had 1 yd rushing. The qb had more incompletions than completions. No sustained drives that is pathetic. And the G-Run needs to be concerned about his lame offense and let the defense worry about its favorite down and thats 3rd and forever.

Vols1998 writes:

I guess the question is, does D. Clawson stay? is this the guy? is he a task master? the discipline is not there and that falls on the coaches, plain and simple. Whatever is going on at practice, can not be much different than what is going on at the game. UT is being out schemed on defense, DC's offense is too easy to read. The OL looks like the key stone cops, missed assignments, loose blocking, no one picking up the blize...come on...the OC has to take the heat.

I am sure DC is a smart man, but the SEC is above his apptitude and ability. Come on, pay the $$$ to bring in someone to make CPF look good or UT is going to be called the Vandy or Kentucky of the SEC next year too!

The Dark Cloud is the lack of intensity by the OC, that is plain and simple. The only gold lining is Nick....he has the IT factor, but does not have any WR who can break the coverage. Why is it that the other teams can get into our coverage, but UT can not? because the QB does not have time and the WRs do not know how to read a defense.

I do not care who is fired, but Damn! someone cowboy up and kick some butt.

Go Vols!

stormblast writes:

Dark Cloud? I bet this is a sign...someone might be leaving mid season. It happened in Auburn this week. Clawson might be gone. This could be interesting.

govols22231 writes:

i wish our offense was as good as our defense

hogan writes:

eduardo writes:

This guy in Florida must be related to Don from Sheepwater. I mean how can you blame that on the officiating. They drove the ball on us all night. We only had 1 yd rushing. The qb had more incompletions than completions. No sustained drives that is pathetic. And the G-Run needs to be concerned about his lame offense and let the defense worry about its favorite down and thats 3rd and forever.

He just loves that orange koolaid eduardo, oh and i guess he loves being a national joke (gameday), and the worst team in the sec. What can you expect from someone with the word florida in a name.

arkyvol writes:

fulmer says the dawgs "flat committed" to stopping the running game. well somebody flat committed to stopping the aerial attack as well. it seemed like every time stephens dropped back, he had at least two defenders hot on his tail. was georgia using two teams at once?

olozbal#646632 writes:

Anybody else already doing the "man, I bet we'll be pretty good next year" game? With Stephens, Hardesty, Jones, Berry, etc. we should be better. I know it's lame already writing off this season but I'm used to it.

I love to watch Eric Berry play. The guy is a bullet, one of those guys who come along every now and then you know is a sure NFL player. Now I just watch him play instead of our lame team.

Anybody else notice whenever Fulmer is yelling at players they just ignore him and give him a look of utter disrespect? Wow.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Saying a "dark cloud" is following us is ridiculous. Unbelievable that a major college coach would even resort to that kind of comment.

A better statement is "I'm just not getting it done!" There's no other way to spin this.

RckytopQB16 writes:

Its interesting that there is no finger pointing yet the G Gun himself throws the O line and the D under the bus. Nice teamwork guys!

law_vol writes:

Once again, Fulmer calls a conservative "safe" strategy and it fails. We are down, on the road, in the fourth quarter, against a top ranked opponent and rival, our defense hasn't forced a three and out the entire quarter (maybe more), we need two scores, we are 4th and one (albeit from our own ~30) and he punts the ball. What happens? The same damn thing that always happens. The other team does what it takes to run the clock and ice the game. I'm waiting for a "we had a hard fought SEC game and came up short on this one" line from the failure of a coaching staff.

And Chavis sucked as usual. We are down and his infinite wisdom tells him to play our DB's 8+ yards off of Green. Do you think Stafford is good enough to see that and take advantage? Yep. Do we do anything different? Nope.

rsarazen#221200 writes:

I feel sorry for these kids. We have great talent in some spots; decent talent in others and a coaching staff that just needs to simply go away. Just out of mere embarrassment of receiving the money these guys are making and putting a product on the field that resembles the movie slapshot. Saban has proven his worth in only his 2nd year bringing in the nations number 1 recruiting class and actually using these freshman. I live in Birmingham and just from merchandising alone, they have already made enough money to pay Saban 30,000,000. Eric Berry is a stud and Gerald Jones has potential to reach the stables in status along with Berry. Outside of that, I've not seen a UT team this undisciplined in 40 years of watching.

mattnchatt writes:

Our receivers looked pretty good last year. It's the scheme. Clawson's schemes require our linemen to play on different sides of the ball on certain plays. That's the reason they can't protect or run block like last year. As far as the defense, they were exposed today. I knew they were highly overrated. I was at the Florida game and they toyed with us. Third down is everything on defense and we are the worst. The coaching is atrocious, bottom line.

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Please think about what you are saying before posting. Good grief. "Hanging on to beat Northern Ill. by 4" shows improvement to you. ONE YARD RUSHING, 9 first downs, and giving up 450 yards total offense shows "improvement" to you.

Enough with the excuses. Nobody wants to hear them any more. We are done with that.

RckytopQB16 writes:

I dont hear the Oklahoma State staff talking of a dark cloud. Phil that was a great decision to let Trooper go. How about those Richmond Spiders! We were lucky to wrestle Clawson from that juggernaut.

FedUpVolFan writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

graphpro#231211 writes:

Berry is an awesome player. Maybe someone (Mike Hamilton) will see to it that he gets a coach that can help him win before he graduates.
Colquitt... Is it me or should he be suspended the rest of the season. Come on he sat for 5 games for DUI and his first game back he gets a 15 yard penalty... AHAHAHAHA
GO AWAY FOOLMER!!

Colliervol writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't have to drag anything to practice to tell anybody anything. I'm going to say it with my dollar contributions (or lack thereof). And I have a feeling there are going to be lots more like me.

It's funny to me that when people have no facts to debate, they just resort to name calling and silly responses. Don't even bother.

Colliervol writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

Saying a "dark cloud" is following us is ridiculous. Unbelievable that a major college coach would even resort to that kind of comment.

A better statement is "I'm just not getting it done!" There's no other way to spin this.

Just thinking out loud. Could the "dark cloud" be an overly large supply of magic dust that is blotting out the sun?

30233vol writes:

Foolmer is a joke! He sure "watches a lot of film and works like heck" just to look the same week in and week out! This team has shown no improvement! Offense still stinks! Special teams still stink! Coaching still stinks! Where is the improvement?

Where is Brandon Warren?

sbgovols#218409 writes:

Will someone get the dark cloud a burrito (or donut or ...) please? At least if he is eating he isn't talking.

mlbrown5454 writes:

I never thought we would be the worst team in the SEC.
Hell, we've gone this far, a chance of beating bama and saving fulmore would be bittersweet.

We look slow on special teams coverage and returns.
Rogan had no pop and dove up the middle.
Probably tired from running on d.
Willingham sucks.

Berry and Ayers played lights out.
Stephens did great when he had more than 2 seconds.
Our line sucks.
We suck.
We are last place.

terrible.

no spin.

we suck.

mlbrown5454 writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

Berry is an awesome player. Maybe someone (Mike Hamilton) will see to it that he gets a coach that can help him win before he graduates.
Colquitt... Is it me or should he be suspended the rest of the season. Come on he sat for 5 games for DUI and his first game back he gets a 15 yard penalty... AHAHAHAHA
GO AWAY FOOLMER!!

he's one of the few that played with intensity.
Although, Gerald Williams threw a very weak punch.
He sucks too.

orangecountry21 writes:

in response to 30233vol:

Foolmer is a joke! He sure "watches a lot of film and works like heck" just to look the same week in and week out! This team has shown no improvement! Offense still stinks! Special teams still stink! Coaching still stinks! Where is the improvement?

Where is Brandon Warren?

See, ol Foolmer is outsmarting the defense there. Giving the ball to Warren is EXACTLY what they're expecting. Genius.

DCVolFan (Inactive) writes:

Oklahoma State just looked really good in downing #3 Missouri. How much do we miss Trooper Taylor now?

orangecountry21 writes:

in response to mlbrown5454:

I never thought we would be the worst team in the SEC.
Hell, we've gone this far, a chance of beating bama and saving fulmore would be bittersweet.

We look slow on special teams coverage and returns.
Rogan had no pop and dove up the middle.
Probably tired from running on d.
Willingham sucks.

Berry and Ayers played lights out.
Stephens did great when he had more than 2 seconds.
Our line sucks.
We suck.
We are last place.

terrible.

no spin.

we suck.

That should be the on the cover of the media guide.

orangecountry21 writes:

in response to DCVolFan:

Oklahoma State just looked really good in downing #3 Missouri. How much do we miss Trooper Taylor now?

Troop is jammin to Toby Keith. "How Do You Like Me Now?"

Colliervol writes:

in response to orangecountry21:

Troop is jammin to Toby Keith. "How Do You Like Me Now?"

Just remember that Trooper is the "co-offensive coordinator". How many plays he is actually calling and how much he is just there for recruiting is up for debate. (Somehow, I think it's more of the latter. Not that this is a bad thing. We could certainly use some more recruiters.)

salocke#209467 writes:

"He did some good things today but the bottom line is the job of the quarterback is to get the win," Clawson said.

And the job of the offensive coordinator and QB coach is to plan and prepare a QB to win. I haven't seen anything close to that with Clawson who went exclusively with Crompton costing UT a chance at 2 wins (UCLA and Auburn). At least Randy Sanders was a good QB coach which is more than I can say for Clawson. I wonder if Richmond has any openings?

salocke#209467 writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There are 6 million ($) reasons why Fulmer is going nowhere. UT will lose more than 2 more games. In fact, they probably will be underdogs in all remaining games. Four wins may be a stretch. But Fulmer will be back along with Clawson (if Sanders had not resigned, he would still be at UT as OC).

murrayvol writes:

in response to law_vol:

Once again, Fulmer calls a conservative "safe" strategy and it fails. We are down, on the road, in the fourth quarter, against a top ranked opponent and rival, our defense hasn't forced a three and out the entire quarter (maybe more), we need two scores, we are 4th and one (albeit from our own ~30) and he punts the ball. What happens? The same damn thing that always happens. The other team does what it takes to run the clock and ice the game. I'm waiting for a "we had a hard fought SEC game and came up short on this one" line from the failure of a coaching staff.

And Chavis sucked as usual. We are down and his infinite wisdom tells him to play our DB's 8+ yards off of Green. Do you think Stafford is good enough to see that and take advantage? Yep. Do we do anything different? Nope.

Objection sustained.

jack_2222#231746 writes:

Berry, Ayers and Dan Williams on defense. And Gerald Jones and maybe Anthony Parker on offense. SEC caliber. Really, there is just not that much talent there anymore.

posivol writes:

in response to Vols1998:

I guess the question is, does D. Clawson stay? is this the guy? is he a task master? the discipline is not there and that falls on the coaches, plain and simple. Whatever is going on at practice, can not be much different than what is going on at the game. UT is being out schemed on defense, DC's offense is too easy to read. The OL looks like the key stone cops, missed assignments, loose blocking, no one picking up the blize...come on...the OC has to take the heat.

I am sure DC is a smart man, but the SEC is above his apptitude and ability. Come on, pay the $$$ to bring in someone to make CPF look good or UT is going to be called the Vandy or Kentucky of the SEC next year too!

The Dark Cloud is the lack of intensity by the OC, that is plain and simple. The only gold lining is Nick....he has the IT factor, but does not have any WR who can break the coverage. Why is it that the other teams can get into our coverage, but UT can not? because the QB does not have time and the WRs do not know how to read a defense.

I do not care who is fired, but Damn! someone cowboy up and kick some butt.

Go Vols!

"He's got the head phones on and he's certainly aware of everything we're doing," Clawson said. "He certainly lets me call the game. I'm responsible for the offense."

DONT KNOW IF DAVE IS READY FOR BIG BOY BALL,HAVENT SEEN IT YET?

jasonn1970 writes:

The "Dark Cloud" following this team is a formerly great head coach who is clearly past his prime. The Vol Nation is ready for a change and wanting someone to return this program to national prominence.

ssgdebity writes:

It is official we are officially bottom feeders now in the SEC. And that game with georgia, we totally suck. If this was the NFL fulmore or the OL coach would be sitting in the unemployment line. But fulmore and that OL coach needs to be fired. What ever it takes. Just get them gone. if 6 million reasons to get him out so be it, It will be allot worse once the fans start boycotting the games and ticket and merchandise sales go down. Hell I am even embarressed to call my self a fan after all this mess. Just get him gone. PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEE

xvolx writes:

well then, stop blotting out the sun.

posivol writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

could i do better,probably not.could i do worse,probably not.

our boys just dont seem to be buying in to our oc,s game plan.

phooey w/ stephens/jones/hardesty/creer/warren/moore ect ect.we do have more level of talent then what we are seeing on game day.

im not sold on its a player issue,we have enough talent to be putting up 30+ a game.

jmho

MrBamSeydu writes:

Jones is telling it like it is....

he's our best offensive weapon, but Denarius Moore needs to be right behind him. our top 3 WR's are Jones, Moore, and Lucas Taylor. Rogers, Hancock, and Briscoe need to just have a seat on the bench and study hard for their classes.

bobbarbilly writes:

Georgia was "flat committed" and Tennessee was " committed flat".

huntined#565710 writes:

Ayers played a good game today..only lineman that showed up..Got to face it we just don't have many good players now.

FedUpVolFan writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks but I already have a date and we won't be going to Neyland to watch the Vols!
Take a pill.Chill.
And have a good night.
I am!
LMAO!

thevoice writes:

in response to DennisVols:

This team is on the verge of a complete breakdown. The fact that there is a story about no finger pointing tells me there is some begining to brew. If that happens then what we have seen so far will be the best part of the season.

"On the verge?" I'd say they're already in a breakdown.

eutefan writes:

Looking back through the Vols' records, there has never been a season in which they lost to every Southeastern Conference foe.

There has always been at least one that could be beat.

Will this be the first oh-fer?

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