I spoke with a player that played for Coach Fulmer during his career. He said Coach Fulmer was the father figure you did not want to disappoint and would do anything to make him proud. He said unfortunately the coaching staff became complacent and really struggled after Coach Cutcliffe left for Ole Miss and then again for Duke. He agreed that it was probably time to make a change at the top, but did not agree with the Kiffin hire due to his intentions at coaching here. He said the players that were recruited by Kiffin would have run through a wall for him on game-day, because he was a players coach and could relate to them. The staff did not care about the traditions of Tennessee and did not intend on being in Knoxville long, but they definitely would have put us on probation by pushing the envelope during recruiting. Not only did they break the rules, they did not care the repercussions of breaking the rules and the ramifications to the school in the long run. We dodged a bullet from a probation standpoint, but lost majority of the recruiting class due to a number of things.
The former player says that numerous coaches turned down Tennessee during the interview process. There were some bigger name coaches that were interested to see what Tennessee had to offer and were blown away by the renovations to Neyland Stadium and the new Weight Room, but after looking over the roster they knew the team was years away from re-building the roster and the fan base would have zero patience due to the recent success of the team in the 90’s. Coach Dooley did not back down when he saw the roster, because he said this is one of the top three jobs in college football and that with a plan he would get the program back on track. The administrations, boosters and others at the University love Coach Dooley and will do whatever it takes for him to get this program back to competing for SEC Championships. It is night and day with Dooley’s organizational skills on and off the field for the players and program in comparison to years past.
He went on to say that the team unfortunately has very little leadership due to Freshmen and Sophomores being forced to play as soon as they step on campus because of the roster. Not many upperclassmen on the roster, which has set the program back at least two years. Imagine losing 40-45 players in two years. Trying to quantify that is thinking about an NFL roster, which has 53 players and then removing 40-45 and telling them to find a way to play. (I know the roster is 85 in college football, but that analogy is mind blowing) In the past unless you were a “special” freshman you had the opportunity to sit behind NFL guys, earn your spot to play for Tennessee, but now you are forced into action immediately and might not understand and appreciate the sacrifices it takes to play for the University.
This player said that the High School coaches in the Southeast absolutely love Coach Dooley, but agreed that we might need to hire one more top recruiter soon. Peter Sirmon is a guy that he raved about, but realized that he would only be here for another year or two at the max. He said if the fan base can get behind Dooley and the program for one more recruiting class that Dooley is the right guy for the job and would have been one of the hottest names in college football in the next two years when coaching jobs became available.
I just wanted to pass along some of the info that most realistic Vol fans have known for a while, but also hit on some of the points that we discuss on the board each and everyday.
- We gotta be patient people. Dooley needs us (loserswithsocks.com)
- Arkansas Punt Return vs Tennessee: It’s a “process” People (loserswithsocks.com)
- The Tennessee Kicking Game: A Game Changer (loserswithsocks.com)
- Tennessee Coach Terry Joseph Plays favorites (loserswithsocks.com)
- Tennessee Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand knows how to do his job people. (loserswithsocks.com)