Finally ... all smiles

But Vols can’t enjoy the taste of SEC victory for long

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Smiles have been in short supply around the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center the past few weeks.

As Tennessee struggled to a 2-4 start, the typical Sunday night practice was subdued and silent. But this week, Tennessee’s players were chatting, cutting up and even laughing as they gathered on the indoor field before practice began.

The good vibes even extended to UT coach Phillip Fulmer.

“It sure feels good coming to work on Sunday with a win,” he said.

Tennessee’s 34-3 victory over Mississippi State won’t be worth any points against No. 2 Alabama this week in Neyland Stadium (TV: ESPN, 7:45 p.m.). But it still has value for the Vols, who improved to 3-4 overall and avoided their first 0-4 start in SEC play since 1988 with a victory over Mississippi State.

“With the season we’ve been having so far, it’s obviously been disappointing,” UT center Josh McNeil said Sunday night. “I can’t explain just how big this Mississippi State win was for us.”

The Bulldogs aren’t exactly an elite team. At 2-5, State has the worst overall record in the SEC, and its 101 points scored is the lowest total in the conference.

No matter who they beat, the Vols will take a confidence boost where they can get one this season. Ditto for a conference win.

“This was very important,” offensive coordinator Dave Clawson said. “Very important that we won an SEC game, too.”

Particularly encouraging for McNeil was the way Tennessee won.

“Not only did we go out there and win the game, but we won it in a really good fashion,” he said. “We were really solid offensively, ran the ball, passed the ball, played great defense, good special teams. It was just a really solid win. It just gave our team a really big boost of confidence through the whole team — offense, defense and special teams. We really needed that.”

It’s been a while since UT felt this good after a game.

The Vols had 12 days to stew over an overtime loss to UCLA on Sept. 1, and then a 35-3 victory over UAB quickly gave way to a 24-point loss to Florida. UT’s lone win since then — a 13-9 victory against Northern Illinois sandwiched between losses at Auburn and Georgia — didn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Still, Fulmer credited his players for hanging on during a 2-4 start, even if it wasn’t much fun.

“I don’t know if you’re able to keep it fun when you’re not winning,” Fulmer said. “But they stayed with us. They stayed committed to what we were trying to come out of, that tough couple games you felt like you should have won or could have won but didn’t. That’s really hard when you got 12 (games) to play.”

Saturday’s game won’t be easy.

Alabama (7-0) enters as the only undefeated team in the SEC and ranks second in the BCS standings, released for the first time this season Sunday. The Crimson Tide boasts the nation’s No. 2 rushing defense and has only allowed 23 first-half points all season.

“If I could pick somebody (to play), maybe I wouldn’t do that right now,” Fulmer said. “But every time you play in the Southeastern Conference, it’s an opportunity. We had a couple games get away from us early in the season that we did have a chance to win. Certainly we need to play our best against a really fine Alabama football team to have a chance to win.”

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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

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Comments » 92

rabidvol1998 writes:

PUT-UP OR SHUT-UP

It’s time for everyone to put-up or shut-up. The coaches need to put-up their best job of the year, or shut up about any criticism. The players need to put-up their best effort (mental and physical) of the year, or prepare to be referred to as the 08 team that lost coach Fulmer his job. The fans need to put-up and make non-stop constant noise on Saturday night. The Fulmer-haters need to stay home and mail their tickets to Hamilton so he can count how many there truly are. Are their 100, 1,000 or 10,000? Let’s see.

Go Vols - I will give my all for Tennessee

TNisPeerless writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

murrayvol writes:

We've got two chances....slim and none. I'll take slim and a tea glass full of Jack Daniels.

bugola19 writes:

THIRD!!! FOR SOME ODD REASON, I FEEL SOME MOMENTUM ON OUR SIDE FOR THE ALABAMA GAME!!!

rickhillal#577233 writes:

Boys, enjoy the win over Miss. State but just don't get overconfident.

gavol2572 writes:

Anything can happen on any given Saturday.

rblakeh writes:

in response to rabidvol1998:

PUT-UP OR SHUT-UP

It’s time for everyone to put-up or shut-up. The coaches need to put-up their best job of the year, or shut up about any criticism. The players need to put-up their best effort (mental and physical) of the year, or prepare to be referred to as the 08 team that lost coach Fulmer his job. The fans need to put-up and make non-stop constant noise on Saturday night. The Fulmer-haters need to stay home and mail their tickets to Hamilton so he can count how many there truly are. Are their 100, 1,000 or 10,000? Let’s see.

Go Vols - I will give my all for Tennessee

Amen.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

We've got two chances....slim and none. I'll take slim and a tea glass full of Jack Daniels.

Bet you didn't know, every game we play, its an opportunity.

HeckuvaStandpoint writes:

Keep the Smiles alive....long after this article and thread are dead

Play FULMER BINGO

http://www.fulmerbingo.com/

It's a Heckuva good time!

pammyvol1000 writes:

Did you hear Tee Martin actually say Pound the Rock tonight on Talkin Football?

oldbasshead writes:

in response to gavol2572:

Anything can happen on any given Saturday.

Any thing can happen on any given Saturday. I was hoping that when UT played Fl, Aub and Ga, but...
I guess you have to have hope but in the end it will just be wishful thinking.

tenuscvol writes:

in response to murrayvol:

We've got two chances....slim and none. I'll take slim and a tea glass full of Jack Daniels.

On many a Saturday the "best" team doesn't win. To say the odds are slim would indicate that you have biased your position with emotion as I beleive Tennesse has a good chance of winning. By "good" I mean 20-30% (e.g. Play ten times and UT wins two (2) or three (3)) The continued improvement may actually make those odds a little higher, regardless, they are better than "slim".

IMHO

GoVols!

gohawks1 writes:

in response to pammyvol1000:

Did you hear Tee Martin actually say Pound the Rock tonight on Talkin Football?

Pammy! You made the small screen! Congrats! You had that feller so shook up he didn't even answer your question.

Berry for heisman!

FlaVol2 writes:

Take it to Bama Vols. They can be beat - and you can do it with good play and determination. Go Vols!!!

The_Mayor writes:

I remember when I was a kid, my father drove me over to campus one weekday morning. I walked out onto the field at Neyland Stadium that day, and had the honor of meeting Stanley Morgan walking off at the end of practice. My dad drove me around, and I remember every single stop sign on campus had "BAMA" hand painted in white beneath the word "STOP". That was 1975. 33 Years later, I say, STOP BAMA!

murrayvol writes:

in response to tenuscvol:

On many a Saturday the "best" team doesn't win. To say the odds are slim would indicate that you have biased your position with emotion as I beleive Tennesse has a good chance of winning. By "good" I mean 20-30% (e.g. Play ten times and UT wins two (2) or three (3)) The continued improvement may actually make those odds a little higher, regardless, they are better than "slim".

IMHO

GoVols!

pdhuff reminds us in his post that each game is an opportunity. I'll buy that.

UT and Alabama have each had 7 opportunities this year. We've made good on 3. Bama closed the deal on all 7. My posistion is biased by conditions on the ground....not emotion.

We can hope.

Waldorf writes:

Wow, we beat a horrible Mississippi State team and suddenly Fulmer is the second coming of Lombardi. I love it!!!!!

EyeNoEvrthng writes:

Fulmer needs a contract extension through 2020 ! What a great offensive show last Saturday ! Maybe he can get that "humble" one-man Indy team Manning to come show the Vols how to give games away like he did Sunday ( against Green Bay) and against Florida and Nebraska ( when he wore Orange ) !

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to murrayvol:

We've got two chances....slim and none. I'll take slim and a tea glass full of Jack Daniels.

Murray, is this THE Bill Murray? I didn't know you were a Vol fan? Great to hear from you. Can we have an autograph and we loved you in Caddyshack!! Maybe we can win one for you. God bless you!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to EyeNoEvrthng:

Fulmer needs a contract extension through 2020 ! What a great offensive show last Saturday ! Maybe he can get that "humble" one-man Indy team Manning to come show the Vols how to give games away like he did Sunday ( against Green Bay) and against Florida and Nebraska ( when he wore Orange ) !

Naffy, you need a new drug.

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

GoshDarnetc, how did MS go so quickly from a formidable opponent when they beat the mitey commode doors to a 'horrible team'?
Perhaps the VOLS have finally come together as a team. I remember other VOLS teams having that experience and playing well afterward.
I believe Crompton's problem is that he was trying too hard. Perform well in practice, but be erratic in a game because of trying to be perfect. Much like Leaverton a few years back, the harder he tried the worse got. Relax and kick the ball 65 to 75 yards, but try to kick it 65 yards and you will do well to get 30. Been there, done that.

soccervol writes:

in response to ggriggs939#223122:

GoshDarnetc, how did MS go so quickly from a formidable opponent when they beat the mitey commode doors to a 'horrible team'?
Perhaps the VOLS have finally come together as a team. I remember other VOLS teams having that experience and playing well afterward.
I believe Crompton's problem is that he was trying too hard. Perform well in practice, but be erratic in a game because of trying to be perfect. Much like Leaverton a few years back, the harder he tried the worse got. Relax and kick the ball 65 to 75 yards, but try to kick it 65 yards and you will do well to get 30. Been there, done that.

I think either MSU got really lucky against Vandy or Vandy was looking ahead to UGA.

Either way, they are terrible, we are terrible and don't forget they lost to Bobby Buche and the muddogs.

Feared_Mustang_Package writes:

We're talking about Miss. State. Not Florida, Not Georgia, Miss. State. That tells you everything you need to know about the state of Tennessee football right now.

tnbigg writes:

"We had a couple games get away from us early in the season that we did have a chance to win."

I'm a wee bit confused. Is this the replacement phrase for "we're only three or four plays away from being so and so"? Coach. We have been one of the lamest teams in the Country. Spin it any way you want...but we have been terrible. This one quarter of good football doesn't change any of that. One quarter I say??? Yes. One quarter. Saturday? The best team by far that we have faced all year. No more "We're undefeated at home" mantra...now the spin is, "We're undeated at night at home". What's next if we lose to the Bammers? "We're undefeated at home at home at night during the annual snail darter rutting season?"

Please...just keep your mouth shut and win.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

pdhuff reminds us in his post that each game is an opportunity. I'll buy that.

UT and Alabama have each had 7 opportunities this year. We've made good on 3. Bama closed the deal on all 7. My posistion is biased by conditions on the ground....not emotion.

We can hope.

Kinda borrowed that from ol' Phil. He didn't go on to say that it was also a chance to get pounded into the ground.

Difference between head and heart.

Our little house long-haired chichiuaua (sic) thinks she can, the 4 pit bulls I've had knew they could.

fedupvol writes:

in response to Feared_Mustang_Package:

We're talking about Miss. State. Not Florida, Not Georgia, Miss. State. That tells you everything you need to know about the state of Tennessee football right now.

Yep...I agree...one win over a hapless team that is even worse than vols and all of a sudden it's bowl time....4-8 or 5-7 tops for those "on any given saturday" folks! "maybe" will squeeze out a win against dores or cats, lose to tide, gamecocks, and one of the other doormats and should win easily against cowboys...reality hurts sometimes...

xvolx writes:

2-4 what are they smiling about?

Volalumnus writes:

We're #1 ! We're #1 ! We're #1 !

Wait . Whats our record?

Oh never mind.

These guys act like they didn't see the game even though they played it. That game didn't break until the 4th and it didn't look pretty getting there.

As someone said above, we didn't prove anything to anyone.
Two bad teams played and one had to win and one had to loose.

Team has flashes with players making great plays here and there, but the team still looks poorly coached.

Couchdummy writes:

In the midst of all the bantering, some real news:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi7Qls...

dirtdobber1 writes:

3rd Saturday in October only means 1 thing...

It's MUSTANG PACKAGE TIME in Tennessee!

Can't wait to see the Vol Navy driving up I-40 toward the game Satuday!

gohawks1 writes:

It's not a victory over a national powerhouse, but it still feels good to get a conference win. Rejoice, and be glad in it.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TouchdownTenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, TDTN, when you see fans slobbering over beating a bottom dweller, that is the most telling reality of where Phixable has taken us.

Reality flys into Knoxville Friday.

Maybe somewhere we can pull out a miracle.

Not likely. Trenches are very lopsided.

blitzshoot writes:

Time for the OL to prove they should be on the field. True test is coming Saturday night. To me, they are the weak point in this game.

SKO_Vol82 writes:

This is THE weekend. Records don't matter. Go Vols! Beat the accursed Tide.

SemperVol writes:

"Alright, we've just won a ballgame. If we one more that'll be great, if we win another, it's called a streak....It has been done before"

Lou Brown (Major League)

JayTee writes:

Can't anyone see the problem here? Cutting up and laughing because you beat the worst team in the SEC that you were supposed to beat handily.
I know it's a game and it's supposed to be fun but with the number 2 ranked undefeated team coming to town I believe they should be taking it a little more serious.
YUK it up on your on time but when you hit the practice field the BS stops.
This could be why we see all the penalties and lack of effort in the game. If the coaches are lax and don't act disciplined then the players don't either.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

Will the poster that put up the Fulmer Bingo Card, please do it again, I thought I had it saved but I lost it. It was great.

fedupvol writes:

in response to JayTee:

Can't anyone see the problem here? Cutting up and laughing because you beat the worst team in the SEC that you were supposed to beat handily.
I know it's a game and it's supposed to be fun but with the number 2 ranked undefeated team coming to town I believe they should be taking it a little more serious.
YUK it up on your on time but when you hit the practice field the BS stops.
This could be why we see all the penalties and lack of effort in the game. If the coaches are lax and don't act disciplined then the players don't either.

Yep, you're right....vols should be ALL Business now after the huge hole they dug themselves into! It still should be backs against the wall, vols against the world attitude...then "maybe" a miracle or two could happen...they have to MAKE their own miracles at this point...and they could even wind up 6-6....guess that would get them the Poulan Weedeater Shrimp Bowl or whatever the lowest bowl out there is these days....PITIFUL!!

waterskier3#226480 writes:

I would say we would have a chance on sat but two things have stood out this season to me... 1. we can not run the ball so we have to rely on an average QB to win a game and that's not happening....(I know there are a lot more off problems) and 2. our defense only looks good against teams that are not balanced i.e. ga, fla and somewhat ucla.

So saying that the tide has the upper hand... we won't be able to run the ball... they will run the ball against our dl and pass at will... Berry is good no doubt but he needs help..

GO VOLS and I would love for us to win but when you break the vols down they are just overmatched...and i hate that as much as any vol fan but its the state of our program....

djstatik writes:

in response to JayTee:

Can't anyone see the problem here? Cutting up and laughing because you beat the worst team in the SEC that you were supposed to beat handily.
I know it's a game and it's supposed to be fun but with the number 2 ranked undefeated team coming to town I believe they should be taking it a little more serious.
YUK it up on your on time but when you hit the practice field the BS stops.
This could be why we see all the penalties and lack of effort in the game. If the coaches are lax and don't act disciplined then the players don't either.

The point is, you've got to play loose, and you've got to play confident to have a chance to beat a top 5 team. Have some fun and hit somebody!

If you guys don't think Tennessee can't beat Bama you're just crazy. Ole Miss came within 4 points of beating Bama. Ole Miss beat Florida. Ole Miss has the same record we do, because they lost to teams they should have beaten like Wake Forest and Vandy. Oh yeah, Mississippi State beat Vandy. Who did we beat last week? Hmmm....

Go Vols! Beat Bama!

volguy41nlouisiana writes:

BOY oh BOY..........If I was a player, or someone jut visiting this site, I wouldnt know what to think. We stink it up, BAD, everyone is on the team, then we win, and somehow the quality of the opponent isnt good enough. WTF!! Someone posted, "what are they smiling about"..UMMMMMMMM...they just played their azzes off,sick of hearing how bad they are, and oh yeah, they won their first SEC game. Remember, these are kids. For that brief moment after the game, it was just a game to them, and they won. Now we have some jack nut asking why they are smiling. Whewwwww...get on the coaches, not the players, esp after they win. Unreal. They gave their all for Tennessee last Saturday. It was against Miss St., but that is who was on the field. Hopefully they can continue and remember that feeling and have it carry over. Support our boys..Dont tear em down

volfan#207874 writes:

Hey Buckaroos, have faith in our Vols. Beating Bama is a distince possibility. There's an old saying down in Texas that goes: "There ain't a horse that can't be rode, and there ain't a man that can't be throwed." With a good effort from all involved this too can be done. In the meantime let the young men know that you are behind them and let them enjoy the feeling of a win. I believe it was Grantland Rice who penned, "And when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He writes, not that you won or lost, but how you played the game." Go Vols !!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Big Fletch and I were discussing Sat's game. We concluded that is is sad that this sense that we have no chance in this game is everywhere.

It has been a slow 180* turn from when we knew we will compete to 41-17 hammerings, 50 points to Ky and their ilk and no running game. Lost like a goose -changing QBs mid-season- finally moving D-coach to the box where he should have never left- sub .500 passing-quest to beat Neyland at any cost to the program, extensions for coaches for 8 wins, etc. Excitment has left us.

The commonplace season is, indeed, sad.

beef4davols writes:

Mickey Dearstone (this morning): “I’m sick of hearing about Mt. Cody. If he was any good at all he would have played in his Freshman year!”

Jeff Jacoby: “He is a Ju-Co transfer.”

MD: “That’s what I mean, if he was any good he wouldn’t have had to go to a Junior College.”

I had a mild stroke after listening to this.

Later…

Heather Dur Harrington: “We are not bad enough off offensively to need Eric Berry on offense.”

Again, stroke.

Worst show on the radio!!

VolFanNC writes:

There's always a chance. Bama plays tight man coverage and a lot of one on one. Wilson will not miss the open receivers that otehr teams missed. He's a 5th year senior having his best year versus a sophomore having a mediocre year. TN can expect 9 men in the box most of the 1st half.

Unfortunately, only Moore has shown any type of separation this year. Cody will be out, so there will be a chance to run the ball. Just can't afford 50% completion rate and the normal dropped balls.I just don't have the feeling that TN will win this game like I have for the past 14 years.

I felt like after the UCLA game Fulmer needed to win 2 out of 4 versus FL, Aub, Ga, and Bama. Don't see anyway he stays if this is a loss and a loss by 10 or more points.

redneckerson writes:

in response to KingsportVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That one hurts!

BigMix writes:

Go Vols!!!
Beat Bama!

BigMix writes:

Can someone give me a good AM/FM station in/around Fall Creek Falls State Park. Unfortunately I agreed with my wife to have our employee retreat this wknd. This agreement came after the Florida game when I was a little disgusted and a couple sheets in the wind.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to BigMix:

Can someone give me a good AM/FM station in/around Fall Creek Falls State Park. Unfortunately I agreed with my wife to have our employee retreat this wknd. This agreement came after the Florida game when I was a little disgusted and a couple sheets in the wind.

May be too far for 104.5 the Zone for sports news, but 104.7 Livingston should be gettable.

Vol station.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to beef4davols:

Mickey Dearstone (this morning): “I’m sick of hearing about Mt. Cody. If he was any good at all he would have played in his Freshman year!”

Jeff Jacoby: “He is a Ju-Co transfer.”

MD: “That’s what I mean, if he was any good he wouldn’t have had to go to a Junior College.”

I had a mild stroke after listening to this.

Later…

Heather Dur Harrington: “We are not bad enough off offensively to need Eric Berry on offense.”

Again, stroke.

Worst show on the radio!!

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2007/jul...

Here is Heather's field of expertise. I was listening to her babble Saturday, and almost lost my lunch.

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