No joke: Channing Fugate expected to play role in offense

Chaney impressed with fullback

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Strange vs. Dearstone: News Sentinel pride on the line as Vols take to the field for Spring game

Channing Fugate

Channing Fugate

As promised, Jim Chaney put the ball in the hands of his fullback.

Apparently five touches for Channing Fugate in last week's scrimmage were enough to fill the quota for the Tennessee offensive coordinator.

Chaney joked that he's now done giving the bruising blocker a chance to show off his ability with the football after just a handful of chances, but UT's persistent effort to get Fugate more involved in the offense throughout the spring gave him away even before he started laughing.

"I told him after the scrimmage that it was a complete waste of our time and to go back to blocking," Chaney said. "I just wanted to get that over with in the spring so I didn't feel guilty about not trying it in the fall."

The Vols are used to Chaney's brand of humor by now, but even if Fugate thought the play-caller was serious, the sophomore hardly seemed concerned about how exactly he gets used in the attack.

Despite impressive high-school credentials as a rusher that included a 3,000-yard season as a junior, Fugate didn't have a single attempt last year for UT and finished with just two catches in a limited role as a true freshman. That workload figures to change significantly as he moves into a permanent, full-time gig in the backfield this fall, and even those couple opportunities last weekend provided a glimpse at what Fugate can do as he accounted for 26 total yards with three carries and two receptions.

"Coach Chaney is a funny guy, you know," Fugate said. "He jokes around a lot, but when it's time to get down to business, he tells you what to do and he's a good coach.

"But, you know, when I came in here they told me I was going to be a fullback and I wasn't going to get it that much - maybe just some passes out in the flat. But I accepted my role as a fullback and just tried to help the team out as much as I could. I just want to help the team out as much as possible. If they don't feel like handing it to me is going to help the team, then that's just fine with me."

Fugate won't be taking as many handoffs as he did at Breathitt County High School in Kentucky, since his main responsibility still will be paving the way for the running backs with his 6-foot-1, 251-pound frame.

But that impressive build can also be useful when Fugate does get a chance to carry the football himself. His stature makes him hard to tackle, his physical approach lends itself to fighting for extra yardage, he has reliable hands as a target out of the backfield - and he also has a track record of success at a lower level.

"Guys who have that many yards have excellent instincts," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "There's never been a running back who can rush for that many yards and not understand the tone and see things that other guys can't see. Then whether they're a good running back at this level or not, that's when the size and speed become a big issue.

"He's got great instincts and he's a heavy body, very good balance when he runs the ball. You can see why he was so productive in high school."

Fugate obviously isn't likely to ever match that sort of output at the collegiate level.

But he's going to get more than five touches in a scrimmage to give it a try - regardless of the hard time Fugate might get from his coordinator.

"He likes Channing and so do I, and I think he's going to play a big role in our offense," Dooley said. "We're going to give him the ball. If Jim doesn't want to, I'll call it."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 35

zigvol writes:

I love some TN. football!

CHITOWNVOL writes:

how short-sighted must Chaney be? my friends and I all talked shi9 about him last year and his miserable play calling. I thought I was just dumping on him, until I heard XM commentators expressing the same noise. if this kid is as good as his hype out of hs, then why not add some plays to the repetoire to increase his role. one more back to watch, one more potential receiver to cover. just waisting the other team's preparation time attempting to account for him as a weapon is worth the minimal effort involved in developing a few plays. havent' these guys played football?

tree_em_smokey writes:

Sounds good for Fugate this year. This will definately help by giving the defenses we face more to prepare for.

Chitown, a lot of what you say is correct but acting like your as smart as Chaney is bogus. Please don't be a couch quarter back. GBO!!!!!

ArealVolFan writes:

hahahahahaha. Cheney is one of the best OCs in college football. You're friends are dumb shi*s

VolinCalif writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

how short-sighted must Chaney be? my friends and I all talked shi9 about him last year and his miserable play calling. I thought I was just dumping on him, until I heard XM commentators expressing the same noise. if this kid is as good as his hype out of hs, then why not add some plays to the repetoire to increase his role. one more back to watch, one more potential receiver to cover. just waisting the other team's preparation time attempting to account for him as a weapon is worth the minimal effort involved in developing a few plays. havent' these guys played football?

Come on. Do you really expect the Coaches to advertise? Remember the Frig. I do and there wasn't any way to stop that dude in two yards. I don't care how much you prepare for that amount of Mass it hard to stop and Perry made a few TD's because of it. The Kid will carry and catch a few passes. Just how much difference is there in a FB and a TE in size. Watch for his debut in the Fl game.

flatrock writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

how short-sighted must Chaney be? my friends and I all talked shi9 about him last year and his miserable play calling. I thought I was just dumping on him, until I heard XM commentators expressing the same noise. if this kid is as good as his hype out of hs, then why not add some plays to the repetoire to increase his role. one more back to watch, one more potential receiver to cover. just waisting the other team's preparation time attempting to account for him as a weapon is worth the minimal effort involved in developing a few plays. havent' these guys played football?

I believe Coach Chaney's comments were in jest. In fact, I think he will utilize Fugate as a runner, blocker and receiver. Last year's play-calling was very limited because of a very inexperienced o-line and new QBs. In the real world of football, Coach Chaney is a well-respected OC.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes I know a little about that. You are correct William Perry was known as The Fridge. I was just making comment and not using the correct terms. My bad. But we know who I was talking about and I did call him Perry. Spelling was never my strong suite so I cut many things short. If it isn't math, preferable Binary so I only have to know ones and zero's them I'm bad.

VOLliven2it writes:

Let the Fugate man play Coach. Let him run, let him block, let him catch. Let's just stop talking and get down to playing. Looking forward to this fall.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Yes I know a little about that. You are correct William Perry was known as The Fridge. I was just making comment and not using the correct terms. My bad. But we know who I was talking about and I did call him Perry. Spelling was never my strong suite so I cut many things short. If it isn't math, preferable Binary so I only have to know ones and zero's them I'm bad.

Did you ever wonder how "fridge" came to be the abbreviation for "refrigerator"? There is no "d" in "refrigerator."

And I don't know why he put quotes around "debut." That was spelled correctly. Maybe he thought it was a misspelling of "da-butt" (Chicago accent).

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if Fugate gets a few short and goal throws on double or triple TE sets.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say grammar mistakes make little man feel big.
Bones never lie.

CHITOWNVOL writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Come on. Do you really expect the Coaches to advertise? Remember the Frig. I do and there wasn't any way to stop that dude in two yards. I don't care how much you prepare for that amount of Mass it hard to stop and Perry made a few TD's because of it. The Kid will carry and catch a few passes. Just how much difference is there in a FB and a TE in size. Watch for his debut in the Fl game.

i hear u on the adverstisement business... nonetheless, hard to defend some of his play calling last season....

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Times have sure changed. Once upon a time, the fullback actually carried the ball on occasion.

All the way back to the Watson,Amsler, Roland Poles, Richard Pickens etc days.

3rd and 1 or 2, and the fullback is the closer of the backs to the LOS. The tailback standing 5 or 6 yards or more behind the LOS gets the ball, and very often gets stuffed in the backfield. Yes, we know the fullback is blocking for him, but it only seems there's a good chance a 251 back, right behind the QB, on a quick count, behind hopefully some blocking can get that yard, or two.

So who knows? Maybe Fugate or another fullback will see the ball a little.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

Times have sure changed. Once upon a time, the fullback actually carried the ball on occasion.

All the way back to the Watson,Amsler, Roland Poles, Richard Pickens etc days.

3rd and 1 or 2, and the fullback is the closer of the backs to the LOS. The tailback standing 5 or 6 yards or more behind the LOS gets the ball, and very often gets stuffed in the backfield. Yes, we know the fullback is blocking for him, but it only seems there's a good chance a 251 back, right behind the QB, on a quick count, behind hopefully some blocking can get that yard, or two.

So who knows? Maybe Fugate or another fullback will see the ball a little.

Curt Watson, Richard Pickens... Those names take me back. I don't remember Curt being a fullback, but regardless, he was a fan favorite around the transistor radio on the back porch.

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

i hear u on the adverstisement business... nonetheless, hard to defend some of his play calling last season....

If he had called the plays you wanted and they didn't work, you would still be an arrogant crybaby.

hueypilot writes:

Many times Poole's loss yardage was because of inability for linemen to sustain blocks or inability to stop Lb's from shooting the gap. Tough to run with a 290 lb defensive tackle wrapped around you two yards deep in the backfield. With a more experienced O line, and a dependable extra blocker I'm looking for 3rd and 2 to be a better balanced play calling solution. BTW, anybody notice how often we went from the gun on 3rd and short in Ainge's senior year? Him having a broken finger explains a little of that, given the slamming ball into the hand when you're under center. That and the fact that our linemen were unable to sustain a two-yard push. Hoping for improvement on that next year.

FarmerVol writes:

Yep. A better OL makes the run game go better regardless of who totes the pill. BUT, not to use the FB except for blocking is a serious mis-statement of the run game. As a NT or MLB, if I know the FB is never going to run the ball, I am much wiser with my keys. Of course if the FB fumbles everytime he touches, what can you do ... make him a LB. GBO And go Channing!!

FarmerVol writes:

Forgot to add: Who would you rather handle the ball in a 4th an 1? Channing at 250 plus, Stickman at 195 with no center of gravity, or Tauren at 185 or less. Answer - the dude that can move the pile (cause their ain't no hole) and not get buried under it or broken in half by it.

FWBVol writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

how short-sighted must Chaney be? my friends and I all talked shi9 about him last year and his miserable play calling. I thought I was just dumping on him, until I heard XM commentators expressing the same noise. if this kid is as good as his hype out of hs, then why not add some plays to the repetoire to increase his role. one more back to watch, one more potential receiver to cover. just waisting the other team's preparation time attempting to account for him as a weapon is worth the minimal effort involved in developing a few plays. havent' these guys played football?

I don't think you read this very well. The story said Chaney was joking when he said Fugate was done getting the ball and it was time for him to just be a blocker again. The point was made that anyone who has seen the spring practices knows Fugate will be a more important part of the offense.

As for Chaney's play calling last year, I think he was somewhat limited in what he could call due to the youth of the team.

Entering the season we had one offensive lineman that had started a college football game and taken a significant number of snaps. Two of our top four receivers were true freshmen, and, of course, down the stretch our quarterback was a true freshmen. There were times when we had as many as seven freshmen on the field. I would argue you have to keep things simple with that much youth.

And the veteran players were in their fourth offense in four years. Some times you have to spoon feed players when they have had so many systems.

The only experience that most of the people complaining about play calling have is a NCAA football or Madden video game.

I expect to see a more wide open offense this year because we are more experienced and for the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons we will be running the same offense two years in a row.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Did you ever wonder how "fridge" came to be the abbreviation for "refrigerator"? There is no "d" in "refrigerator."

And I don't know why he put quotes around "debut." That was spelled correctly. Maybe he thought it was a misspelling of "da-butt" (Chicago accent).

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if Fugate gets a few short and goal throws on double or triple TE sets.

Yes I Did happen to think about that last night. But to be honest I wasn't giving much real thought to W. Perry or his nick name. That is why I used the short Frig. But what I was trying to get across was Football is a sport of force. M = V sq, the faster the big man moves the harder to stop him. OC will use any force they have at hand and I believe this kid will Carry the ball.

Vol_in_Montgomery writes:

Remember Coach Chaney is the same guy that coached Mike Alstott. That guy was a beast at fullback.

slb#1351874 writes:

Obviously you guys never saw Mike Alstott run the ball and catch passes when he played at Purdue and then in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the same size as this kid and let me tell you now he was a horse when he was lined up in the Tailback position. The Buccaneer fans gave him the nickname of "The A Train". Chaney may have been coaching at Purdue when Mike was there and if this kid is like Mike he will have us all rocking as the bodies go flying when they attempt to bring him down. Perry was nothing but a big old fat guy who was used when the Bears were inside the 5 yard line.

MusicCityVol writes:

A fullback will be nice. We will be built on the pass for the forseeable future though. Especially with Arnett, Rogers, and Hunter.

Checkerboard Chatting with DeAnthony Arnett
http://checkerboardchatter.blogspot.c...

givehim6 writes:

Love UT has so many different weapons on offence this year, and the line has a year of experience now I'll give it one more year and UT will be back in the SEC race again.

peyton4prez writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hate Richards who correct spelling of other post. Does it make you feel better to tell that guy it's fridge not frig? Thank you so much for the lessons. If you keep correcting people these post will be so much better. You are the God of Grammer. Maybe you ought to change your name to that instead of the super original Witch Doctor Daddy. BTW being the father of a well known poster gives you instant credibility. Please keep blessing us with your point of view, and let us know when our spelling and grammer is wrong. After all that is the reason we post in the first place.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

how short-sighted must Chaney be? my friends and I all talked shi9 about him last year and his miserable play calling. I thought I was just dumping on him, until I heard XM commentators expressing the same noise. if this kid is as good as his hype out of hs, then why not add some plays to the repetoire to increase his role. one more back to watch, one more potential receiver to cover. just waisting the other team's preparation time attempting to account for him as a weapon is worth the minimal effort involved in developing a few plays. havent' these guys played football?

Settle down...Chaney was just joking around, man. There's big things in store for our FB this year.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Yes I Did happen to think about that last night. But to be honest I wasn't giving much real thought to W. Perry or his nick name. That is why I used the short Frig. But what I was trying to get across was Football is a sport of force. M = V sq, the faster the big man moves the harder to stop him. OC will use any force they have at hand and I believe this kid will Carry the ball.

Sorry it's more than fifty years after my last PHY class. Lets try F = MVsq. As for who to go with on short (1) Yd's and only one try. In almost every case if the man can move at all you have to go with the Big one. Footfall, Baseball, basketball, Boxing. You pick.

govols1234567 writes:

I wonder if he could be a potential Toby Gerhart style running back. I kinda reminds me of him a little. As a fullback or tailback I think he is going be successful either way

mtowntim writes:

Channing is a BRUISER! You can bet your @$$ he is going to make some snot bubbles.

govols1234567 writes:

in response to govols1234567:

I wonder if he could be a potential Toby Gerhart style running back. I kinda reminds me of him a little. As a fullback or tailback I think he is going be successful either way

*he kinda reminds me of him (Toby Gerhart) a little

FarmerVol writes:

Reminds me of a lucid John Riggins w/o the curls. Now if he can run like him - sweeeeet!

everydayisorange writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I don't think you read this very well. The story said Chaney was joking when he said Fugate was done getting the ball and it was time for him to just be a blocker again. The point was made that anyone who has seen the spring practices knows Fugate will be a more important part of the offense.

As for Chaney's play calling last year, I think he was somewhat limited in what he could call due to the youth of the team.

Entering the season we had one offensive lineman that had started a college football game and taken a significant number of snaps. Two of our top four receivers were true freshmen, and, of course, down the stretch our quarterback was a true freshmen. There were times when we had as many as seven freshmen on the field. I would argue you have to keep things simple with that much youth.

And the veteran players were in their fourth offense in four years. Some times you have to spoon feed players when they have had so many systems.

The only experience that most of the people complaining about play calling have is a NCAA football or Madden video game.

I expect to see a more wide open offense this year because we are more experienced and for the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons we will be running the same offense two years in a row.

Very good post, although when you address it toward trolls, (not this poster) it is useless. Alot of our fans mean well, but are not really knowledgeable about the game, rules, and tactics of the x's and o's. As far as the trolls go, they are here to make as many mad as they can. The best responce is no responce, but you already knew that! LOL! GBO!!!

DebKY writes:

I love to see Kentucky's best suiting up in the the "BIG ORANGE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHITOWNVOL writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

Very good post, although when you address it toward trolls, (not this poster) it is useless. Alot of our fans mean well, but are not really knowledgeable about the game, rules, and tactics of the x's and o's. As far as the trolls go, they are here to make as many mad as they can. The best responce is no responce, but you already knew that! LOL! GBO!!!

definitely not a troll. As for being knowledgable about football, u r mistaken. played and studied for years. Chaney is subpar and his career accomplishments are on the coattails of fortunately talented QBs under his watch. I stand by my comments.

everydayisorange writes:

in response to CHITOWNVOL:

definitely not a troll. As for being knowledgable about football, u r mistaken. played and studied for years. Chaney is subpar and his career accomplishments are on the coattails of fortunately talented QBs under his watch. I stand by my comments.

I respect your point of veiw, but we will have to agree to disagree as I think that the talent you talk about was developed instead of inherited. After 1 year as an oc by name only, this will actually only be his second year calling plays. With a little more experience and talent, I believe he will call a better game. Will this be enough to beat the better teams, I don't know, but time will tell. GBO!!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

As usual, I'm sure he won't touch the ball next yr.

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