Coach Fulmer talks about starting the season 1-2 and how to overcome the mistakes they've made as an organization. Watch »
Coach Fulmer addresses the topic of negative comments regarding his coaching and the Vols' playing ability following the loss to Florida and the effects that it has on the players. Watch »
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer expressed confidence that his football team would eliminate the mistakes that have plagued his team in a 1-2 start.
Animated and at times candid during his weekly press conference early Tuesday afternoon in Neyland Stadium, Fulmer was adamant that his team would work hard in preparation and play better this weekend at No. 15 Auburn (TV: WVLT, 3:30 p.m.).
“I think this football team is a team that will fight,” Fulmer said. “Certainly we haven’t had an effort problem. We haven’t had an attitude problem. Contrary to what some people might have said on television, we haven’t had a leadership problem at all. We have a consistency of execution problem on offense from time to time. We’ve been here before and we know how to respond to that and coach.
“We’ve won 148 football games in my time here at Tennessee and lost a little bit less than that – a lot less than that, actually – and we didn’t all of a sudden get stupid as coaches. We know what we’re doing, and we’re going to go to the practice field and correct and work and put our football team on the field with the best advantage that we can possibly have.”
Fulmer, who was asked twice by callers on his radio show Monday night when or if he might consider retirement, also responded to criticism from media and fans following a 30-6 loss to Florida on Saturday, UT’s fourth straight loss to the Gators.
“Because somebody boos in the stands doesn’t mean you don’t have the support. That just means they’re passionate about what they do. They just want to win,” Fulmer said, adding that he had received calls of support from friends and family. “Ninety-five percent of them probably never played football before, or maybe not played a sport. I don’t know. I can’t tell you all that. I would have booed a couple things I saw out there if I’d have been in the stands. That goes with the territory when your fans and your people are passionate about what they want to see on the field. I wouldn’t have it any other way from that standpoint. Now, do I like to be booed? No. Do I want to be booed again? No. But if I stay in this profession, you don’t think I’m going to have an opportunity to get booed? That just goes with the territory.”
Wide receiver Josh Briscoe, who is usually softspoken and reserved with the media, spoke out against Fulmer’s critics.
“It makes us mad as a team,” he said. “The ones who are saying that, most of them probably didn’t play football. They all don’t or have never coached football. They’re not putting in the 18 hours a day that coach Fulmer’s putting in. They’re not out there on the practice field and out there going through the training and conditioning that we’re going through. It’s very unfair to coach Fulmer because he’s dedicated his life to this, and so has all our coaching staff and this team.
“I’m not a guy that usually comes up and is very vocal about things, but that’s one of the things that hurt me a lot,” Briscoe continued. “Everybody seems to know how to coach. Everybody seems to know how to fix situations. But the real fact is, if everybody had all the answers this world would be a completely different place. Everybody doesn’t have the answers. Everybody’s not given the ability to coach football, to play college football, to be president of the United States or whatever it is. That really hurts because we dedicate our lives to this.”
More on Fulmer’s comments later today on GoVolsXtra.com and in Wednesday’s News Sentinel.