Adams: Losing Cutcliffe the deepest cut

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On the same night that Tennessee was falling to 3-5, Duke was improving to 4-3. Imagine that.

The proximity of Saturday’s outcomes increases the irony. While UT was losing 29-9 to Alabama at Neyland Stadium, Duke was upsetting Vanderbilt 10-7 in Nashville.

You can’t note one team’s failure and the other’s success without gaining an increased appreciation for Duke coach David Cutcliffe, UT’s former offensive coordinator.

I’m not touting Cutcliffe as a successor to UT head coach Phillip Fulmer. And I’m not trying to fuel the rumors that Cutcliffe might return if Fulmer were fired.

When UT finally decides to make a coaching change, you would think the change would be more significant than replacing a longtime UT head coach with a longtime former UT offensive coordinator. But that doesn’t diminish Cutcliffe’s worth as a football coach.

Look what UT has done without him. And look what Duke has done with him.

Last season, UT averaged 401.5 yards per game. This season, it is averaging 280.6 yards per game, which qualifies it as the 112th best offense in Division I-A.

Last season, UT averaged 32.5 points per game. This season, it is averaging 18.4 points, 107th best in the country.

The dramatic drop-off in production has been accomplished with basically the same personnel.

The starting offensive line returned. So did the top three receivers and the top three running backs.

The noticeable exception is at quarterback, where UT had to replace Erik Ainge, who — thanks to this year’s offensive disaster — has surpassed Casey Clausen as the most underappreciated quarterback in school history.

Combine what has gone wrong at UT with what has gone right at Duke.

Duke upset Vanderbilt in Nashville for its fourth victory in seven games. The Blue Devils might not win another game against a schedule comprised of Wake Forest, N.C. State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. But four victories at Duke is a rousing success.

Prior to Cutcliffe’s hiring after last season, it had taken the Blue Devils four years to win four games. In 2006-2007 they were 1-23.

Granted, with 17 returning starters, Duke should have improved this season even if it hadn’t made a coaching change. And it’s also significant that Duke has won despite an offense that ranks 98th nationally.

Duke won with defense Saturday. It held Vanderbilt to 291 yards, including 79 on one touchdown pass; then killed the Commodores’ last threat with an interception at the Duke 1.

Maybe 4-3 will be as good as it gets for Cutcliffe at Duke. You can only speculate on that.

But you don’t have to speculate about his track record at UT.

In the last season of his first stint at UT, the Vols won a national championship. The next season, a veteran, talented team dropped to 9-3.

Cutcliffe returned to UT in 2006 after five winning seasons in six years as a head coach at Ole Miss. The Vols then improved from 5-6 to 9-4.

Last year, UT was 10-4. A year later, without Cutcliffe, it’s 3-5.

Cutcliffe returns; UT gets better. Cutcliffe leaves; UT gets worse.

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

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Comments » 94

bdub77 writes:

place holder...

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

How ironic. Just a year ago, there was a clamor for Cutcliffe to be replaced. A couple of years before, there was clamor for Randy Sanders to be replaced.
Knoxville, an unusual town,
When faced with a chance at reknown
From a project that'll work
Produces a jerk
Hell-bent to tear the thing down.
That has been knoxville's tradition for 60 years that I know about and the beat goes on.

ect1983 writes:

Please JA----you have become such a weenie since the Phire Phil Phulmer article-------Why not write another ??? It's overdue.....God knows Hamilton is still waiting to evaluate the "whole body of Work"......probably at this time next year he still wil be....PUT SOME HEAT ON HIM !!!!!!!!!

TheVolMan writes:

Good point about Erik and Casey being unappreciated. Great article.

olozbal#646632 writes:

Personally I think the main reason the O line was touted so highly was because of Cutcliffe's strong instructions to Ainge to basically drop back and toss it after 3 seconds tops no matter what. That guaranteed no sacks and made the O line look good. (That plus the fact that Ainge was decent and Cutcliffe was an excellent coach of QB's)

Cutcliffe is a good O coordinator, maybe really good. But he can't recruit and he can't scheme like a true solid coach can (see Sabin / Myer). We need to "do a Rich Rodriguez" and start over again with a known coach. And yes that means a few years of really bad numbers as we learn the new ways (like we have now, but with more hope)

leedsvol2007 writes:

I live in Birmingham and know individuals who have worked or played for Cutcliffe and all have great things to say about him.

I also think that his abilities complement Fulmer's and the two made a dynamic duo. So what I'm about to say is not a knock on Cutcliffe but a little reality.

Cutcliffe his last year at Ole Miss had a quarterback named Michael Spurlock whom he groomed to take the place of Eli Manning. Spurlock from all reports had a great spring and people were confident he was going to be a competent SEC quarterback. Cutcliffe installed him as the starter and he did not perform well.

Spurlock has since played in the NFL as a kick returner.

This year we had a quarterback that appeared to be poised to take Ainge's place and be a very good SEC quarterback. From all reports he did well in practice. To date he has not carried that game from the practice field to the playing field.

As a consequence we have Nick Stephens who is developing but still has a long way to go.

Without a genuine passing threat teams have ganged up on the run and have limited our success offensively and we have struggled.

You can blame coaching if you like but Cutcliffe worked with Crompton and is well known to be a tremendous quarterback coach. Dave Clawson came in with great credentials.

Can you really say that its the lack of coaching ability that has caused our problem at quarterback this year?

Personally I think its great that Cutcliffe has done well at Duke and I wish him the best of success. On the other hand I wonder how many games Duke would have won if they had played UCLA, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Adams keeps talking about the fact that Fulmer is a mediocre coach. Folks you can look this up.

From 1970 through 1992 we won 10 games or more in a season 3 times 1970, 1987 and 1989. We went from 1970 through 1984 without an SEC championship.

And most of the credit for recruiting the talent to Tennessee that started our big surge from 89 through 92 went to Fulmer.

Since Fulmer has been our head coach we have won 10 or more games 9 times in 16 years including 4 times this decade.

Much has been said about Saban and how he had a great recruiting year last year. But he also had a great in state pool of talent and the ability to offer immediate playing time to all recruits due to his depth situation.

This year according to the recruiting services Fulmer is putting together a terrific recruiting class.

Lets not to be too hasty to send packing the coach who has achieved more at UT than any other coach with the exception of Robert Reese Neyland.

GoVols!

Oh and by the way. In 2002 LSU had lost once and routed Florida in Gainesville but in the course of that rout lost Matt Mauck to injury. The rest of the year they went 3-4 including lopsided losses to Auburn 31-7 and Alabama 31-0. It seems even the 4 million dollar man has trouble winning without a competent QB.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

I live in Birmingham and know individuals who have worked or played for Cutcliffe and all have great things to say about him.

I also think that his abilities complement Fulmer's and the two made a dynamic duo. So what I'm about to say is not a knock on Cutcliffe but a little reality.

Cutcliffe his last year at Ole Miss had a quarterback named Michael Spurlock whom he groomed to take the place of Eli Manning. Spurlock from all reports had a great spring and people were confident he was going to be a competent SEC quarterback. Cutcliffe installed him as the starter and he did not perform well.

Spurlock has since played in the NFL as a kick returner.

This year we had a quarterback that appeared to be poised to take Ainge's place and be a very good SEC quarterback. From all reports he did well in practice. To date he has not carried that game from the practice field to the playing field.

As a consequence we have Nick Stephens who is developing but still has a long way to go.

Without a genuine passing threat teams have ganged up on the run and have limited our success offensively and we have struggled.

You can blame coaching if you like but Cutcliffe worked with Crompton and is well known to be a tremendous quarterback coach. Dave Clawson came in with great credentials.

Can you really say that its the lack of coaching ability that has caused our problem at quarterback this year?

Personally I think its great that Cutcliffe has done well at Duke and I wish him the best of success. On the other hand I wonder how many games Duke would have won if they had played UCLA, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Adams keeps talking about the fact that Fulmer is a mediocre coach. Folks you can look this up.

From 1970 through 1992 we won 10 games or more in a season 3 times 1970, 1987 and 1989. We went from 1970 through 1984 without an SEC championship.

And most of the credit for recruiting the talent to Tennessee that started our big surge from 89 through 92 went to Fulmer.

Since Fulmer has been our head coach we have won 10 or more games 9 times in 16 years including 4 times this decade.

Much has been said about Saban and how he had a great recruiting year last year. But he also had a great in state pool of talent and the ability to offer immediate playing time to all recruits due to his depth situation.

This year according to the recruiting services Fulmer is putting together a terrific recruiting class.

Lets not to be too hasty to send packing the coach who has achieved more at UT than any other coach with the exception of Robert Reese Neyland.

GoVols!

Oh and by the way. In 2002 LSU had lost once and routed Florida in Gainesville but in the course of that rout lost Matt Mauck to injury. The rest of the year they went 3-4 including lopsided losses to Auburn 31-7 and Alabama 31-0. It seems even the 4 million dollar man has trouble winning without a competent QB.

My heart is with your post. My head is 70% against it and thinks there needs to be a change.

Props to Clausen and Ainge who were / are indeed grossly unappreciated.

Cutcliffe was great... but let's not go for him. He wouldn't break Phil's heart that way either.

Best case scenario this year: TN and Duke finish strong and play each other in some podunk bowl!! NOW THAT, is worth seeing!

HeckuvaStandpoint writes:

Make the best of a bad situation...

Play FULMER BINGO

http://www.fulmerbingo.com/

Laugh while you cry!

FLAVOLS writes:

HMMMMMMMMM.

dford9#209809 writes:

This is probably the most sensible article that the one
and only John Adams has ever written~!

Its true, Coach Cut [David Cutcliffe] is a whiz of an OC;
and UT seems too flourish with his presence. Bring him
back, pay him what he is worth; somehwere a'round $1.5
million a year, and see where we go~! Also, increase
John Chavis to about $1 million a year; and we will
have ourselves another National Championship Team in
short order. Spread the wealth around a little bit.

MidTennVol writes:

Puhlease, people. Cut is Fulmer Lite. I was disappointed when he came back to replace Sanders.

We can and should do better if we want to return to being a national program in the mix for championships each season.

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

FOOLmer stays...UT gets worse

FOOLmer leaves...UT gets better.

DadwasaVol writes:

Many many Vols fans really wanted Cutcliffe outa here. I didn't understand it then, and I still don't know why they dislike him now, especially.

DadwasaVol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed, gator. Cutcliffe doesn't look too bad now, eh?

Oenoboy writes:

This is a fluff piece. Fulmer's record with and without Cut has been hashed and rehashed over and over again. If we had Duke's schedule we would be 5-2 if not 6-1. That's a mute point however because our talent is higher across the board.

Thing is, we need NEW blood at the helm. Cut is a good coach no doubt but he's not what our program needs. Tennessee will be the premier head coaching spot available in the country and we need to go out and get the premier candidate. Nuff said.

GO VOLS!!!

GoVol writes:

I don't want Cut as a HC, but I bet Duke would be us if we played tomorrow, but then again, just about any team I can think of would be us as long as Fulmer is the HC.

GerryOP writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gatorzz, and the "new" offense may still be great, if we ever get to see it. Is there anyone out there who really believes Clawson is running "his" offense?

It is ludicrous to take a new coach away from his players and hide him away in the press box! Likewise, the green jersey on the QB ... insane.

Volgrad777 writes:

our problem is far from the offensive coord. Clawson is a smart man and schemes well , this IS NOT HIS OFFENSE. From what i hear Fulmer is actually calling Cut quite a bit. When Crompton struggled with the new offense Fulmer backed it off and simplified things after UCLA and wanted to stick with Crompton even though Clawson wanted a true QB competition from the get go. So , as Crompton struggled the offense shrunk and shrunk. As far as Cut coaching Crompton , its blatantly obvious he knew Crompton wasnt very good. Thats why the Cromptons wanted him gone and the Nites wanted him gone , its pretty obvious he made the right call. Everyone ask yourself , is the offense we see now , what we saw in the Spring game??? It doesnt matter if was against the 2 defense. Is it even comparable??? The answer is NO. I had watched Richmond play a dozen or so times when Clawson was there and his offense was pretty dang good and he did it with talent that doesnt compare to ours. Folks , football X's and O's dont change much , PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS DO. At this point Fulmer is dragging everyone around him down.

redstickvol writes:

Could not agree more zanebreeding. This is not Clawson's offense.

oldbasshead writes:

I agree there is strong evidence that UT's success was due to Cutcliffe and no doubt UT would be doing better this year if Cutcliffe were the OC. I don't know how UT would do under his leadership as HC. Certainly UT would be more attractive to top QB prospects. Can Cutcliffe raise the UT program back to national prominence? My gut feeling is that he would improve the program from where it now is, but still would fall short of where we all would like to program to go.

HoustonVol writes:

I am not in favor of replacing Fulmer, but if Fulmer does retire to quite the vocal minority, then I hope that Hamilton calls up the coach at Tulsa. I watched him do the near impossible at Rice. He took them from nothing to a bowl game in one year, and now has Tulsa humming along and possible crashing the BCS. BTW, The assistant that took over Rice still has the program performing after a one season hic-up.

TommyJack writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

agreed

tenntallguy_29#615180 writes:

Here is the bottom line. TENNESSEE FANS ARE THE WORST! They complain at everything "If they pass to much we aren't physical enough. IF we run it to much, we are boring. We don't play Berry on offense. We don't use him in the return game. We play to soft, we play to much man. It's Fulmer's fault, It Cut's fault, its majors fault. Clawson sucks and so does Hamilton. Concessions are to much! Or they run out of stuff" Our fans always know everthing that 'should' be done but don't do what needs to be done. What needs to be done is keep your mouth shut and cheer for your team. The people that have degrees and run things around here have done a pretty good job of doing the right things. See Bruce Pearl, the improvements at the Th-Bo and Neyland, The practice gym.

rusty_shackleford writes:

I saw Clawson's Richmond team v. ASU in last year's playoffs and I can tell you this isn't his offense. ASU had to defend the whole width of the field.

TommyJack writes:

in response to GerryOP:

gatorzz, and the "new" offense may still be great, if we ever get to see it. Is there anyone out there who really believes Clawson is running "his" offense?

It is ludicrous to take a new coach away from his players and hide him away in the press box! Likewise, the green jersey on the QB ... insane.

Yes. If I thought Clawson's offense had been implemented, I would fire him yesterday. But I don't. Something is really stinky here, but I don't think it's Clawson. Could be worng, but don't think so. (but he will end-up paying the price)

oldbasshead writes:

in response to Oenoboy:

This is a fluff piece. Fulmer's record with and without Cut has been hashed and rehashed over and over again. If we had Duke's schedule we would be 5-2 if not 6-1. That's a mute point however because our talent is higher across the board.

Thing is, we need NEW blood at the helm. Cut is a good coach no doubt but he's not what our program needs. Tennessee will be the premier head coaching spot available in the country and we need to go out and get the premier candidate. Nuff said.

GO VOLS!!!

I agree. If Fulmer leaves, UT will be the best spot in the country for some hotshot, on the rise coach. Clean house and let's begin the healing. If Fulmer stays, he either has to fire Clawson and go with another new system or stay with him. Now with the way the offense has performed this year, which prospect looks better to you.

oldbasshead writes:

in response to tenntallguy_29#615180:

Here is the bottom line. TENNESSEE FANS ARE THE WORST! They complain at everything "If they pass to much we aren't physical enough. IF we run it to much, we are boring. We don't play Berry on offense. We don't use him in the return game. We play to soft, we play to much man. It's Fulmer's fault, It Cut's fault, its majors fault. Clawson sucks and so does Hamilton. Concessions are to much! Or they run out of stuff" Our fans always know everthing that 'should' be done but don't do what needs to be done. What needs to be done is keep your mouth shut and cheer for your team. The people that have degrees and run things around here have done a pretty good job of doing the right things. See Bruce Pearl, the improvements at the Th-Bo and Neyland, The practice gym.

I understood what you were trying to say until you got to Pearl. How many coaches did UT fire before it found Pearl? Staying with any of the last 3-4 coaches before Pearl would have meant average to slightly better than average UT basketball teams. However, with Pearl, we have enjoyed excellent teams and a resurgence of basketball at UT. That is what fans want for the football program. I compare Fulmer to the fired basketball coaches.

jsm67vol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not many had heard of Bruce Pearl either had they? Now everyone in the nation knows who he is. I hope so badly that Clawson gets the HC after Fulmer steps down. No one has seen Clawsons offense in the sec and I for one believe that Clawsons hands have been tied since he arrived in terms of playcalling and even moreso in terms of personel on the field. BTW gatorzz what did you expect UT fans to say, this new offense will fail miserably, this can't work in the sec etc... Clawsons offense can and will work very well IMO but only if its allowed to be run the way Clawson runs it.

junder13 writes:

Good riddance, Cut. He's a great QB coach and a decent O-coordinator, but he's got a low ceiling. That's why he looks great at a school like Ole Miss or Duke, or with a school that out talents everyone but Florida in the 90s, or upon a return after a grossly underperforming 5-6 team. He is a good coach, and a fantastic QB coach, but he should not be mistaken as the solution to our problem. There's a reason people were getting upset with the dink-n-dunk offense...it was BORING and PREDICTABLE. It's just easier to tolerate these two problems when you're winning (although let's not make last year's 10-4 season out to be greater than it really was).

JohnnyVol writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

I live in Birmingham and know individuals who have worked or played for Cutcliffe and all have great things to say about him.

I also think that his abilities complement Fulmer's and the two made a dynamic duo. So what I'm about to say is not a knock on Cutcliffe but a little reality.

Cutcliffe his last year at Ole Miss had a quarterback named Michael Spurlock whom he groomed to take the place of Eli Manning. Spurlock from all reports had a great spring and people were confident he was going to be a competent SEC quarterback. Cutcliffe installed him as the starter and he did not perform well.

Spurlock has since played in the NFL as a kick returner.

This year we had a quarterback that appeared to be poised to take Ainge's place and be a very good SEC quarterback. From all reports he did well in practice. To date he has not carried that game from the practice field to the playing field.

As a consequence we have Nick Stephens who is developing but still has a long way to go.

Without a genuine passing threat teams have ganged up on the run and have limited our success offensively and we have struggled.

You can blame coaching if you like but Cutcliffe worked with Crompton and is well known to be a tremendous quarterback coach. Dave Clawson came in with great credentials.

Can you really say that its the lack of coaching ability that has caused our problem at quarterback this year?

Personally I think its great that Cutcliffe has done well at Duke and I wish him the best of success. On the other hand I wonder how many games Duke would have won if they had played UCLA, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Adams keeps talking about the fact that Fulmer is a mediocre coach. Folks you can look this up.

From 1970 through 1992 we won 10 games or more in a season 3 times 1970, 1987 and 1989. We went from 1970 through 1984 without an SEC championship.

And most of the credit for recruiting the talent to Tennessee that started our big surge from 89 through 92 went to Fulmer.

Since Fulmer has been our head coach we have won 10 or more games 9 times in 16 years including 4 times this decade.

Much has been said about Saban and how he had a great recruiting year last year. But he also had a great in state pool of talent and the ability to offer immediate playing time to all recruits due to his depth situation.

This year according to the recruiting services Fulmer is putting together a terrific recruiting class.

Lets not to be too hasty to send packing the coach who has achieved more at UT than any other coach with the exception of Robert Reese Neyland.

GoVols!

Oh and by the way. In 2002 LSU had lost once and routed Florida in Gainesville but in the course of that rout lost Matt Mauck to injury. The rest of the year they went 3-4 including lopsided losses to Auburn 31-7 and Alabama 31-0. It seems even the 4 million dollar man has trouble winning without a competent QB.

I appreciate the spirit in which you wrote this post. If we were honest, we could say that Johnny Majors took UT football out of the gutter and gave it new life. The 1985-86 Sugar Bowl victory against Miami (The U) was one of the great sports highlights of my life. That really got us going.

When Majors left, I am convinced it was time for him to go. CPF has taken UT football from a solid level, to national top ten prominence...until the last 5-7 years. Yes, we have played in several SEC championships over the last 8 years. We have won none.

That having been said, just as I deeply appreciate what Majors did for UT football, I am grateful for what Fulmer has done. Nevertheless, it may very well be time for CPF to step aside as Majors did.

This year's recruiting class is shaping up to be fantastic, but I have NEVER felt recruiting was a problem. I am convinced that player development is the weakness. CPF can recruit with the best of them, but it seems that developing the players is below average -- unless we get a freak of nature like Eric Berry.

Anyway, I don't have all the answers...or even some. I do have some opinions based on years of football playing, coaching, and watching. One opinion is that it may be time...

junder13 writes:

I have never watched Richmond play, so I can't say with certainty that this is or is not Clawson's offense from experience. I can say, however, that no offense as predictable and limited as this one would lead to such success as he had at Richmond and other schools, whether it be in the SEC, WAC or Division II. With that in mind, I feel confident in saying, "this is not Clawson's offense". I agree with previous posters here, he will probably take the fall, or, at least, be a part of the fall.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

Once again, Fulmer should resign. I don't think it is a matter any longer of his ability to get the program back on track. I BELIEVE he is more than capable and given time and fan support he probably would...trouble being he has lost the fan support and thus he's living on borrowed time. He needs to resign to preserve his legacy and retire in good standing with the majority of fans.

Still, articles like this highlight the idiocy amongst the most vocal Fulmer haters. Johnny says Chavis saved Phil's butt and fans nodded in unison. Now we're saying Cut was the braintrust all along. Some are even looking at Sanders' success at KY and saying HE was "the man". Fulmer is a CEO, and it is his primary job to hire assistants who can get the job done. By giving all these assistant coaches kudos, you are unwittingly admitting that Fulmer has done his job and done it well. Maybe THAT's why he is 150-50 over his 16 year career.

The problem here is recruiting, recruiting, recruiting PERIOD. I don't care what the pundits say about our talent being on par with the rest of the league. It isn't. Oh sure, maybe we have plenty of rivals "stars" on the roster, but evidently we've not recruited the RIGHT KIND of players, the ones with a winning attitude that doesn't need a coach to instill it. The Al Wilson, Peyton Manning, Tee Martin types. Those guys went out there and played their hearts out under THIS HEAD COACH who hasn't changed a bit in sixteen years. They won because THEY WANTED IT every Saturday. We don't have enough of those types any more.

Recruiting is the coach's job. If he hasn't brought the right players to the school he's failed. That burden lies on Fulmer's lap. I do question if other forces have been at work that are beyond Fulmer's control. Recruiting competiton stiffer in the south, facility improvements at rival schools, internet media proliferation influencing recruits etc. Whatever the cause, it has happened and until we get players with the inner desire to win we'll be in the same boat no matter who the HC is.

I laugh at the "Cutcliffe Haters" here. man, I really hope they do hire Cut when Fulmer steps down. I'll laugh my azz off at the predictable responses here. Funny how we can't show any love to "our own", yet we get "moist" thinking about some coach from freeeggin Tulsa or Boise State coaching at UT. Heck, why don't we just transfer the entire football team from Tulsa to UT and put em in Arnge? Or better yet, why not just become Tulsa fans and forget about Tennessee? Evidently it isn't about the school or players, its about the coach. You'd badmouth Robert Reese Neyland's grandson if he was HC. I hope every last one of you enjoy what you are wishing for cuz you'll get what you deserve.

jsm67vol writes:

A true sign of a coach trying to hang on too long. Giving in to the fans the media and web posters who wanted Berry touching the ball more, who wanted qb change in 2nd half of FL game. I'm not saying these are things UT should not have done, it seems obvious the need for these. A great coach doesn't make these changes as a result of fan disappointment. Berry should have been practicing KO and punt returns in spring. Stephens and Crompton should have been competing for qb in spring. You can not implement these changes in a week to play a team like bama, which was obvious Sat. night.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

Once again, Fulmer should resign. I don't think it is a matter any longer of his ability to get the program back on track. I BELIEVE he is more than capable and given time and fan support he probably would...trouble being he has lost the fan support and thus he's living on borrowed time. He needs to resign to preserve his legacy and retire in good standing with the majority of fans.

Still, articles like this highlight the idiocy amongst the most vocal Fulmer haters. Johnny says Chavis saved Phil's butt and fans nodded in unison. Now we're saying Cut was the braintrust all along. Some are even looking at Sanders' success at KY and saying HE was "the man". Fulmer is a CEO, and it is his primary job to hire assistants who can get the job done. By giving all these assistant coaches kudos, you are unwittingly admitting that Fulmer has done his job and done it well. Maybe THAT's why he is 150-50 over his 16 year career.

The problem here is recruiting, recruiting, recruiting PERIOD. I don't care what the pundits say about our talent being on par with the rest of the league. It isn't. Oh sure, maybe we have plenty of rivals "stars" on the roster, but evidently we've not recruited the RIGHT KIND of players, the ones with a winning attitude that doesn't need a coach to instill it. The Al Wilson, Peyton Manning, Tee Martin types. Those guys went out there and played their hearts out under THIS HEAD COACH who hasn't changed a bit in sixteen years. They won because THEY WANTED IT every Saturday. We don't have enough of those types any more.

Recruiting is the coach's job. If he hasn't brought the right players to the school he's failed. That burden lies on Fulmer's lap. I do question if other forces have been at work that are beyond Fulmer's control. Recruiting competiton stiffer in the south, facility improvements at rival schools, internet media proliferation influencing recruits etc. Whatever the cause, it has happened and until we get players with the inner desire to win we'll be in the same boat no matter who the HC is.

I laugh at the "Cutcliffe Haters" here. man, I really hope they do hire Cut when Fulmer steps down. I'll laugh my azz off at the predictable responses here. Funny how we can't show any love to "our own", yet we get "moist" thinking about some coach from freeeggin Tulsa or Boise State coaching at UT. Heck, why don't we just transfer the entire football team from Tulsa to UT and put em in Arnge? Or better yet, why not just become Tulsa fans and forget about Tennessee? Evidently it isn't about the school or players, its about the coach. You'd badmouth Robert Reese Neyland's grandson if he was HC. I hope every last one of you enjoy what you are wishing for cuz you'll get what you deserve.

Moaning, based on the money and support that this program has and generates, what we "deserve" is to compete again with the big boys. We no longer are competitive. It's that simple. All you have to do is look at the record against the current coaches and the record against top 10 or top 20 teams over the last few years.

GerryOP writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yes. If I thought Clawson's offense had been implemented, I would fire him yesterday. But I don't. Something is really stinky here, but I don't think it's Clawson. Could be worng, but don't think so. (but he will end-up paying the price)

JMO TJ, but being a cynical, sarcastic, conspiracy theorist, I think Fulmer reluctantly conceeded to Hamilton's wishes to hire Clawson, after all of Fulmer's choices turned him down, and then tied his hands ... green jersey, no contact, in the press box, player selection, overuling plays, etc. And now we see what Fulmer hath wrought.

If Hamilton has to sacrifice Clawson to appease the "big guys" in order to get rid of Fulmer, he will. If Hamilton prevails, I suspect that Clawson will be the big winner. Do you find it interesting that we are seeing more and more of an upbeat Clawson in the press room? JMO.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

Collierville, I agree with you that the fans of this program should get a return on their investments. Like I have said, reluctanly, it is time for Phil to step aside. However, I think the fans on this site mirror the fan on the street. I'm fed up and DISGUSTED with the downright disrespect that so many show Fulmer. He has given us more great football than anyone sans Neyland in UT's history. I don't give a sh!te how or why. Cut, Chavis, or the freeeggin waterboy, it doesn't matter. In 16 years, I have watched/listened to/read about 150 games that Tennessee has won and been disappointed 50 times. I proudly sported a "Perfect Season" NC T-shirt for 5 years before the collar wore out. Somewhere I still have a worn NC ballcap. The only teams in the SEC with "more recent NC garb" are Florida and LSU. All statistics, numbers, and arguments aside, Phil Fulmer has bleed "arnge" for 30+ years and did more than anyone for Tennessee. I'm truly disgusted at the way fans are treating him. I really am.

I swear, I am "this close" to losing all interest in college football, and not because of Tennessee's season but because I'm resolved that it is unhealthy mentally and emotionally to even be tempted to HATE another person as much as some folks hate Fulmer.

PaulTheVol writes:

I don't care whether this is Clausen's offense or not. I do care that this is Clausen's coaching and I am completely unimpressed by what I see. The mental mistakes, the breakdown of technique, the failure of the QB's to make proper reads, the predictablity of the offense and adjustments all speak to poor coaching and poor preparation. When was the last time you heard someone say that Fulmer and his staff "coached up" a player?

I don't know where this slide will eventually end but, despite occasional upticks, it will not be stopped. It's too bad because Coach Fulmer he is a decent man who has made the University and its fans proud.

Those of us who remember the Bill Battle years (190 lb. defensive ends anyone?) and the Majors years (egomania taken to a new level) can appreciate the stability and consistency that Coach Fulmer has brought. But he is a victim of his own success and a probably victim of complacency and the time has come to go in a new direction.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

Collierville, I agree with you that the fans of this program should get a return on their investments. Like I have said, reluctanly, it is time for Phil to step aside. However, I think the fans on this site mirror the fan on the street. I'm fed up and DISGUSTED with the downright disrespect that so many show Fulmer. He has given us more great football than anyone sans Neyland in UT's history. I don't give a sh!te how or why. Cut, Chavis, or the freeeggin waterboy, it doesn't matter. In 16 years, I have watched/listened to/read about 150 games that Tennessee has won and been disappointed 50 times. I proudly sported a "Perfect Season" NC T-shirt for 5 years before the collar wore out. Somewhere I still have a worn NC ballcap. The only teams in the SEC with "more recent NC garb" are Florida and LSU. All statistics, numbers, and arguments aside, Phil Fulmer has bleed "arnge" for 30+ years and did more than anyone for Tennessee. I'm truly disgusted at the way fans are treating him. I really am.

I swear, I am "this close" to losing all interest in college football, and not because of Tennessee's season but because I'm resolved that it is unhealthy mentally and emotionally to even be tempted to HATE another person as much as some folks hate Fulmer.

Oh I agree with you whole-heartedly about the folks that simply hate Fulmer for no good reason. He has contributed mightily to the legacy of the program and has been a loyal employee for a long time. Anybody that denies that is just hatin' to be hatin'. Or they were Majors fans. Or whatever. And those folks' opinions are basically irrelevant.

In this situation, all you have to do is evaluate the facts and they are not pretty. Name calling is just a tool for the ignorant or for people who just can't carry on a decent debate.

wkjq#213863 writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You might have a good point until you say 10-4 sucks, then you lose all credibility.

FlaVol2 writes:

I think Adams should be sent packing instead of Fulmer. He is the worst newpaperman I know in the way he tears down our coaches and the football team. He needs to be send to Gainsville to tear down the Gators. He would fit right in down there. We fans need to realize that we will never win them all, all of the time. I know this season has been very dismal so far, but there is hope. The recruits that TN is courting are special and we need a good coaching staff to groom them. If we do not have a known staff, we may lose those prospects, the basis of a better season next year, and the years after. Fans, wake up and support the Vols when they most need it. Many of you that are posting are one way charleys, only for the team if it is doing well. That is not the way true TN fans should act. Go Vols!!!

Colliervol writes:

in response to wkjq#213863:

You might have a good point until you say 10-4 sucks, then you lose all credibility.

Probably true. But when I tell you that in our last 50 games we are 30 and 20, what does that say?

For a program with this money and support, that sucks.

MillisaAnn writes:

I agree with Mr. Adams.

Vol_In_Ohio writes:

So who are the top three candidates for the job? I am surprised I haven't seen more articles on this. Is it:
1) Graham (Tulsa)
2) Johnson (Vandy)
3) Clawson

I don't think Cut makes the cut. The Tulsa pick kind of goes the Bruce Pearl route (maybe Clawson does too). I guess teams like Oklahoma State, Ball State, and some other upstarts have coaches that will get a look.

None of those are all that exciting - who else should be considered?

WVVOLFAN writes:

maybe it has been cutcliff saving CPF's job all these years and not Chavis as Johnnie alluded top.

BTCHSLPN writes:

in response to redstickvol:

Could not agree more zanebreeding. This is not Clawson's offense.

i was really wondering what Clawson`s offense looked like at Hampton,so i went on you tube typed it in and let me tell you the offense i was seeing was not what i have been watching on tv....they had guys going in motion,slants across the middle,oh yeah the easiest one to run the screen.We tried one this past saturday but our guys are to fat and slow to get out there to block...im sick of fulmer football

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

Collierville, I agree with you that the fans of this program should get a return on their investments. Like I have said, reluctanly, it is time for Phil to step aside. However, I think the fans on this site mirror the fan on the street. I'm fed up and DISGUSTED with the downright disrespect that so many show Fulmer. He has given us more great football than anyone sans Neyland in UT's history. I don't give a sh!te how or why. Cut, Chavis, or the freeeggin waterboy, it doesn't matter. In 16 years, I have watched/listened to/read about 150 games that Tennessee has won and been disappointed 50 times. I proudly sported a "Perfect Season" NC T-shirt for 5 years before the collar wore out. Somewhere I still have a worn NC ballcap. The only teams in the SEC with "more recent NC garb" are Florida and LSU. All statistics, numbers, and arguments aside, Phil Fulmer has bleed "arnge" for 30+ years and did more than anyone for Tennessee. I'm truly disgusted at the way fans are treating him. I really am.

I swear, I am "this close" to losing all interest in college football, and not because of Tennessee's season but because I'm resolved that it is unhealthy mentally and emotionally to even be tempted to HATE another person as much as some folks hate Fulmer.

Moaning, I tend to agree with your post but none more so than on this thread.

I too reluctantly admit it's time for Fulmer to step aside. But the way people flat out disrespect the man that has done more for TN football, the university, and the state in general than any poster on this board could ever dream of is outlandish.

Is Fulmer a "great" coach? Maybe not but he is no where near as bad a coach as the peanut gallery makes him out to be. You don't just get lucky on your way to 150 wins and a NC title.

CrankE writes:

There's a lot of truth to what Adams the pierce writes here. Cutcliffe gets a lot of credit for righting the ship in 2006-07. It's also clear that when he left, things got worse. The offensive struggles of 1999 and 2008 are obvious.

Whatever Cutcliffe's impact, this is Fulmer's baby. Every four years, he gets us to the SEC Championship. The next season it's down the tubes. UT then spends the next three years to get out of the ditch and back on track. Here's a novel idea; Quit falling into this same ditch over and over again (2002, 2005, 2008) and play good football every snap, every game, every season.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

in response to burntorangeVOLffle:

Moaning, I tend to agree with your post but none more so than on this thread.

I too reluctantly admit it's time for Fulmer to step aside. But the way people flat out disrespect the man that has done more for TN football, the university, and the state in general than any poster on this board could ever dream of is outlandish.

Is Fulmer a "great" coach? Maybe not but he is no where near as bad a coach as the peanut gallery makes him out to be. You don't just get lucky on your way to 150 wins and a NC title.

Exactly.

I'm not going to try to spin anything. We are celebrating the 10th anniversary since the NC and we have had a serious drout the past 10 years NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. Does that trend "expose" Fulmer? Maybe so. What does it expose? That he is a .500 caliber coach in the SEC? Mid grade coaching in arguably the toughest conference of college football? Well burn my britches! That pretty much tells me that Fulmer could "coach up" 100 other schools in Div-IA. He isn't a chump. He isn't an idiot. He's an expert, a professional, the creme de la creme in collegiate football. He knows what he's been doing for 16 years. Nobody "gave" him those 150 wins. You don't "luck up" and have winning seasons 15/16 years of your career. Other than 05, has Tennessee EVER been below .500 in SEC play? Maybe once or twice? You tell me, I'm not looking it up but I don't think so. That tells me that Fulmer over the long haul has been among the best, period.

This doesn't change the facts that he no longer has enough fan support to keep it going. Two lousy seasons in four years is definately grounds for him to move on. CERTAINLY, another younger coach could turn Tennessee back into the program Fulmer once made it. I agree, with reservations, that it is time.

JUST RESPECT THE MAN. IS THAT SO HARD? HE'S GOING TO BE GONE. THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL. DOES INSULTING HIM MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER? GROW UP!

TommyJack writes:

in response to GerryOP:

JMO TJ, but being a cynical, sarcastic, conspiracy theorist, I think Fulmer reluctantly conceeded to Hamilton's wishes to hire Clawson, after all of Fulmer's choices turned him down, and then tied his hands ... green jersey, no contact, in the press box, player selection, overuling plays, etc. And now we see what Fulmer hath wrought.

If Hamilton has to sacrifice Clawson to appease the "big guys" in order to get rid of Fulmer, he will. If Hamilton prevails, I suspect that Clawson will be the big winner. Do you find it interesting that we are seeing more and more of an upbeat Clawson in the press room? JMO.

Good observation. I think, and hope, you're right. Thus far, Clawson's input has been about like MoaninLike's posts...wordy, but meaningless.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Good observation. I think, and hope, you're right. Thus far, Clawson's input has been about like MoaninLike's posts...wordy, but meaningless.

cute!

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