Fulmer tells players to say 'I'm not quitting'

ATHENS, Ga. — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer knows what’s going to happen this week as fans digest an 0-3 start in the SEC and another double-digit loss to a conference rival.

After Saturday’s 26-14 loss to No. 10 Georgia, Fulmer said he expects to be criticized.

And he knows he probably won’t be the only one taking heat from fans.

“Everybody in the world is going to talk about me,” Fulmer said. “They’re going to talk about our staff. They’re going to talk about (the players) and what kind of backbone we’ve got.

“Look ’em in the eye and say, ‘I’m not quitting.’ Who’s going to stand up? They got to go on campus, out and about. They better be able to look them in the eye and say, ‘Hey, I did my best.’ That’s the staff, and that’s me and that’s everybody else.”

Fulmer vowed to keep fighting to get Tennessee back on track.

“You stay in this business long enough and you’re going to have ups and downs,” said Fulmer, who coached his 198th game as UT’s head coach. “I’ve won a lot more than I’ve lost. I’ve been disappointed in every dang one of them we lost (and) felt like this. I’m not going to do anything but keep fighting.”

He also said that’s what he expects his players to do this week in practice as they prepare for Mississippi State’s trip to Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

“I think they’re human, and they’re going to be disappointed and wondering and looking around for leadership,” Fulmer said. “Most of us, I hope, will come right back to work and put our nose to the grindstone until we get it right.”

What does UT have to do in order to start winning?

“Simple fact, we got to execute better . . . get ourselves where we keep our focus (and) we don’t beat ourselves,” Fulmer said. “That’s a few words, but a lot to do.”

Lots Of Laundry: The Vols finished with 10 penalties for 97 yards against Georgia. Both of those are season highs for UT, which had 95 penalty yards in a 30-6 loss to Florida.

Tennessee also was whistled for four personal fouls. Defensive tackle Dan Williams said Georgia baited UT into some of those plays.

“Coach always reminds us every time you go on the field, keep your head,” Williams said. “I won’t say we just did it on our own. The Georgia players did kind of provoke us. It’s out of our hands. We just have to be more mature and control our actions.

“By no means are they a dirty team or anything like that. It’s just regular stuff that goes on during the game, a little pushing. It kind of was frustrating.”

UT entered Saturday’s game 10th in the SEC with an average of seven penalties for 59 yards a game. Georgia, which led the nation in most penalty yardage coming into the game, had 11 penalties for 76 yards Saturday.

Return Record for Berry: Tennessee safety Eric Berry claimed UT’s career interception return yardage record by virtue of his 54-yard return of a pick in the third quarter.

Berry has nine interception returns for 325 yards, moving ahead of Tim Priest and Mike Jones, both of whom shared the record with 305 yards.

Berry, who moved into third place on the SEC’s career list, is 55 yards away from breaking Ole Miss’ Bobby Wilson’s record of 379 yards.

“He’s a leader, and an awesome player and those are the kind of plays he makes,” UT safety Demetrice Morley said of Berry.

Injury Update: Defensive end Chris Walker suffered an injury to his lower back and did not play in the second half.

Defensive tackle Walter Fisher left the game with an injury to a toe on his right foot. He left Sanford Stadium in a walking boot.

Strongside linebacker Nevin McKenzie also suffered a left ankle injury.

Douglas, Lathers Surgeries Successful: Tight end Aaron Douglas (shoulder) and linebacker Herman Lathers (tonsils) were released from UT Medical Center on Saturday morning following successful surgeries on Friday.

Douglas is expected to be ready for spring practice, UT head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh said. It is unclear when Lathers would be able to return.

Extra Points: Georgia’s 97-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter was its third scoring drive of longer than 90 yards this season. … Robert Ayers’ interception of Matthew Stafford at the UT 13-yard line was the first time Georgia’s offense had been stopped inside an opponent’s 20-yard line. Their only other failure to score in the red zone came when the Bulldogs took a knee at the end of a victory over Arizona State.

Dave Hooker contributed to this report.

© 2008 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 112

kwvolsfan writes:

Won't say it but i'll know it, game stank, no heart to the team, lack of intensity...

GREEKDAWG writes:

That made my day,Phil not quitting!!!!!!!!!

sbgovols#218409 writes:

One can only hope the next article it titled..."Fulmer Tells Players - I am quitting"

volsfan327 writes:

There was enough blame to go around but it starts at the top and something needs to change and change FAST. We are the New York Yankees of College Football.....TONS of money, money is no object but still can't get to the big show...or in our case, any show at all! Come on! Get it together! Geez...go vols

orangecountry21 writes:

He has to tell his players what to say?

BillsBrother writes:

CPF is trying his best, its just that his best isn't good enough anymore.

stormblast writes:

Great...that'll depress them even more so.

orangecountry21 writes:

Butch Davis is EXACTLY what we need. A man like Saban who DEMANDS respect and you know you had better play hard for him. And no sucker punches.

eduardo writes:

It looks like they quit when they walked out on the field against ucla to start the season. I dont know what that guy sees or doesnt see but he is over. This guy is holding everyone of us vol fans hostage. The stupid contract he was given was a total joke. Should have never happened. Then what happens this team comes out and lays a total egg to start the season against a juco team and its only gotten worse as the season goes on. The commendable thing would be for coacho oacho to come out on Mon. and say he is stepping down at the end of the seson. Go out with some dignity CPF!

utvolz#637682 writes:

We suck, plain and simple. From the Phat one, his staff and our effort on the field. Hell, I went and mowed the lawn insted of watching the carnage during the second half!

Frank(broadcasting live from Manchester, TN!)

JacksonvilleVol writes:

BillsBrother, you are absolutely right.
Phil, it's not that you haven't done a lot of good for UT but let's face it, when you use the same plays year after year, the coaches get a loooot of tape evidence of what WORKS AGAINST IT. See Urban Meyer, Mark Richt and Nick Saban. Any coach that looks at those coach's schemes against UT can mount a smart gameplan against the Vols, and it has happened a lot in the past 4 years.

rusty_shackleford writes:

The three injuries listed are all on the defensive side? When it rains it pours!

Colliervol writes:

Good grief. So many cliches, so little time to digest them all. Enough of the excuses. I don't need any more as I've heard them every week.

ctmartin writes:

in response to kwvolsfan:

Won't say it but i'll know it, game stank, no heart to the team, lack of intensity...

Team fought hard from start to finish, I don't know what game you were watching.

FedUpVolFan writes:

Does anyone thing Fulmer beleives the *bs* coming out of his mouth??????????

JMP_Vols writes:

Hopefully, we'll see an article this week on how Coach plans to discipline Gerald Williams.

Although discipline doesn't seem to be too high on Phil's priority list.

jasonn1970 writes:

IT'S BUYOUT TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!!!

Coach Fulmer, please talk to your agent and tell him to start negotiating with the university for your retirement terms. We Vol fans want to celebrate all you did for the program. But, at this point, it is very obvious a new head coach is needed to turn things around.

FedUpVolFan writes:

in response to ctmartin:

Team fought hard from start to finish, I don't know what game you were watching.

5 or 6 players fought hard.The rest like Foster had no clue.
Get real!

orangecountry21 writes:

I wonder if he reads this stuff. PLEASSSSEEEE say it's so. WE WANT YOU GONE FULMER!

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

I can tell you of one thing that must be done. Our entire offensive system is outdated. The one thing that teams that consistently do well on offense have in common is that they run a system that no one else runs and they get the players that will buy into it. We keep running a pro-style offense with the exact same predictable plays, and somehow expect that every other team will be too stupid to not figure out how to stop it. Yes, the offensive line isn't doing their job either, but even then there is no creativity or real danger with our offense. I think the stat of the game was Georgia ran 81 plays, Tennessee ran 45. Too many short drives, leaving the defense on the field too long. I don't want to hear people getting on here saying "pound that tater/fritter" when our running game is helplessly awful. I'm not saying we need to go out and put the spread in... just something different. I mean... think about the consistently good offenses out there- USC, Hawaii, Florida, Texas Tech, Navy (when under Paul Johnson), West Virginia (when under Rich Rodriguez), Kentucky (when under Hal Mumme), Nebraska (when under Tom Osborne)... the key was not running what everyone else runs. I'm not really saying "let's go pick up the spread" at all... While it's considered an offense of the future, teams will learn how to stop it when enough people run it. If we'll work out something altogether different to operate out of, our offense will come around... but we need a whole different mindset. My thinking is that either Fulmer turns over his offense to someone who will run something totally different, or he gets fired and someone is brought in under the understanding that we'll need someone to run a different offense.

thesmokeychomp writes:

technically retiring is quitting sooo maybe fulmer will just go that route..

orangecountry21 writes:

Good post mbible. Fulmer is either to stubborn or arrogant (or both) to give up the reins of the offense. That means new OC as his scapegoat.

mlbrown5454 writes:

insert the Muppet's "Mahna, Mahna" music.
Doo-doo, doo-doo-doo.

Is this part of a thread true about his buy-out?
From a Tenneseean Post:

According to an intern in the A.D., there was a boosters meeting about the state of the program, where they decided that less than 8 wins this year and Fulmer is out. On the list that they supposedly put together of potential candidates were Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian (OC at USC), Butch Davis, and most notably Pete Carroll (doesn't hurt to ask, right? Oh, and the $4.5 million per year Tennessee's allegedly prepared to offer doesn't hurt either). If I'm not mistaken, the buy-out for Fulmer's contract can fluctuate depending on how many wins he has. For example, if he wins 4 games, then the buy-out wouldn't be as significant as if he had 7 or 8. The $6 million buy-out only applies if we want to get rid of him after a season in which he wins 8 games.

kwvolsfan writes:

in response to ctmartin:

Team fought hard from start to finish, I don't know what game you were watching.

Probley the same one you were, but when the Offense can only generate 1 yard net rushing, IMO = stank, lack of heart or intensity. Sure there were some flashes out on the field, but from a few of the players. "NO I in TEAM", the "O"-linesmen should be "CONTROLLING & DOMINATING" this year = lack of heart or intensity. Gave up 4 sacks all last year and gave two today, sure Angie chunked the pill in the stands alot to keep that # down last year, but still the 5 returning starters shouldn't be having this much trouble.

rickhillal#577233 writes:

Spent the game at the hospital with a friend whose son is in ICU after a horrific car crash. Wish the UT football players could have felt the emotional drain in the room as my friend and his wife looked for inspiration from a losing performance by a team that has to be reminded by their coach not to quit. I have faith in the young man coming out of a week-old coma but not the UT football team. At least Tebow stands up and apologizes for his poor performance, then demonstrates his resolve on the football field.

thegreatpumpkin writes:

in response to ctmartin:

Team fought hard from start to finish, I don't know what game you were watching.

What game were you watching?? THEY SUCK.

bigOutfan writes:

"WORK LIKE HECK" IS NOT WORKING...

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to FedUpVolFan:

5 or 6 players fought hard.The rest like Foster had no clue.
Get real!

idiotic to judge a guy on just 3 rushing attempts behind a pitiful OL which you don't care to denounce as well

leepevey writes:

Where is the passion? I remember Erk Russell, UGA Def. Coord. under Dooley, used to butt heads with his players. He didn't wear a helmet. That was a man. Coach Fulmer, fire your boys up, bang heads with them. Do something. Anything. Talk is cheap. We need PASSION!

Mr_Bandman writes:

in response to orangecountry21:

Good post mbible. Fulmer is either to stubborn or arrogant (or both) to give up the reins of the offense. That means new OC as his scapegoat.

Incorrect use of "to"---that should read "too stubborn", and I would never have posted this had you not played Grammar Police with me last week....get back to class!

Oh yeah----fire Fulmer....we stink....uh---bring on Wyoming....bring back Bill Battle...thought I should at least try to participate in the conversation, such as it is...

soccervol writes:

We don't have the same caliber players as the other top teams and programs...I'm watching the UF/LSU game tonight and seeing their guys with speed and moves and they dont' run into the big pile - they make plays.

Its time for some changes...Our program is in the toliet.

TNPilgrim writes:

Considering that Arkansas won at Auburn tonight, we may be looking at the worst team in the SEC - especially if they loose to Miss State next week. If Fulmer has to tell the players to say they're not quitting, they must be on the verge of quitting. Hopefully, Fulmer is on the verge of quitting. Go out with some class Phil - retire and let UT keep their $6 mil buyout so they can hire a championship contender.

db11_cn writes:

The Bobby Wilson of Ole Miss whose interception return yardage record Eric Berry is close to breaking is the former Carson-Newman baseball coach who died this past June in Jefferson City.

FedUpVolFan writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

idiotic to judge a guy on just 3 rushing attempts behind a pitiful OL which you don't care to denounce as well

My point exactly!
Thank you!

DingoVol writes:

North Carolina beat Notre Dame today. They moved to 3-1. Butch Davis does seem like a good fit here. I really don't see us winning a single SEC game this year. I will suffer through it if it gets us a new coach. Has anyone ever wondered why we never have to worry about the NFL coming after our beloved head coach? At least we don't have to hear about his "best winning percentage among active coaches" anymore.

graphpro#231211 writes:

Time to hire the Ole Ball Coach... Spurrier! Pay him $1.8 million and you have both a head coach and an offensive coordinator. It's a two for one!!

He coaches football like Bruce Pearl coaches basketball.... aggressively! It's always a treat to watch the Ole Ball Coach.

Plus, what an enjoyable slap in the face to it would be to Foolmer on his way out...

TNVolsFan writes:

I'm glad it is not Tennessee personality to change as Fulmer has said numerous times. All they have to do is Stay the course, work like heck and don't quit. I sure wish Fulmer would quit!!!! When will he get the hint!!! Quit already.

mlbrown5454 writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

First, I'm 6'2 and not short.
Second, I don't know if my neighbors have cats. I coudl really care less.

I don't know you, don't care.
You are a dumbas#.

mlbrown5454 writes:

in response to VolnFlorida:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

seriously, dude.
shut the hell up.

i could care less about who it came from.
i was curious about contract stipulations.

you are the moron defending the worst team / staff we have had in a long time.

VOLinGA writes:

Who cares...just please continue to lose so we can get a new coach.

chucker6 writes:

Fulmer said, "‘Hey, I did my best.’ That’s the staff, and that’s me and that’s everybody else.” BS!!! Some of the players certainly did, but the coaching sucked once again.

Speaking of player efforts, anyone else notice the right tackle (or was it Foster) on the first play of UT's last series give up on his block after a preliminary push, stopped contact and let the Georgia defender smash Stephens?

On top of all the inexcusable motion penalties this year, their obvious lack of adequate effort with run blocking and mediocre pass blocking says volumes about "not doing their best". Foster has no business being out then instead of Creer or Hardesty.

Fulmer is in his own private universe and it is a very sad one. Hamilton will have to do the right thing and fire Fulmer as Fulmer is obviously going to keep on dragging this team down no matter how poorly they are playing.

mattnchatt writes:

Guess what? We are the only SEC team with out a conference win. Keep doing your best coach! I hope we give Wyoming a good game! It's the only one I see us being competitive in.

xvolx writes:

never stay where you're not wanted. we dont want the players to quit. we want you to quit.

Volumnus writes:

I have known Phil for a long time. He is a very good guy, but the time has come. I am sorry for that but the time has come.

MrBamSeydu writes:

for the LOVE OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!

FIRE FULMER!!!! BUY HIM OUT!!!!! PUT HIS NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE!!!!

I'm tired of hearing his broken record "we just lost and we're going to work darn hard at it" speech.

"We're just 84 plays away from being 6-0!" - Fat Phil

Runningangry writes:

It makes me sad to see that Tennessee football has fallen this far. If you truly love UT Phil, resign at the end of the season and hand the reigns to another coach. Your legacy could depend on it.

ctmartin writes:

in response to mbible1utk#324980:

I can tell you of one thing that must be done. Our entire offensive system is outdated. The one thing that teams that consistently do well on offense have in common is that they run a system that no one else runs and they get the players that will buy into it. We keep running a pro-style offense with the exact same predictable plays, and somehow expect that every other team will be too stupid to not figure out how to stop it. Yes, the offensive line isn't doing their job either, but even then there is no creativity or real danger with our offense. I think the stat of the game was Georgia ran 81 plays, Tennessee ran 45. Too many short drives, leaving the defense on the field too long. I don't want to hear people getting on here saying "pound that tater/fritter" when our running game is helplessly awful. I'm not saying we need to go out and put the spread in... just something different. I mean... think about the consistently good offenses out there- USC, Hawaii, Florida, Texas Tech, Navy (when under Paul Johnson), West Virginia (when under Rich Rodriguez), Kentucky (when under Hal Mumme), Nebraska (when under Tom Osborne)... the key was not running what everyone else runs. I'm not really saying "let's go pick up the spread" at all... While it's considered an offense of the future, teams will learn how to stop it when enough people run it. If we'll work out something altogether different to operate out of, our offense will come around... but we need a whole different mindset. My thinking is that either Fulmer turns over his offense to someone who will run something totally different, or he gets fired and someone is brought in under the understanding that we'll need someone to run a different offense.

We run the same offense as GA, Ala, LSU, KY, Miss State. The only good team running something different is FLA.

ctmartin writes:

in response to mattnchatt:

Guess what? We are the only SEC team with out a conference win. Keep doing your best coach! I hope we give Wyoming a good game! It's the only one I see us being competitive in.

KY is 0-2 in conf.

madisonvillevol writes:

can't quit something that never got started!

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to GREEKDAWG:

That made my day,Phil not quitting!!!!!!!!!

It should , unless you are a quitter yourselves. His only sin is not winning. He is not losing 42 to nothing!. Other teams have a right to win some too! We are not God almighty to win , or to expect to win everytime we step onto the field. That is arrogance. You play to win, and play to have fun. Great fans expect failure. You just cannot win 'em all all of the time. You will have ups and downs. Look at Vandy, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Ole Miss, AUBURN! Why aren't the boo birds asking for his head. We have a great program here at Tennessee and the kids who come here deserve to have a stable program. Look at our new recruits who are coming here next year. We will have great programs right down the road and many many victories to share.

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