Vols regroup in open date - Printable Version

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- BeliefBlazer - 10-14-2005 02:13 AM

© AP

Quote:No national championship. No Southeastern Conference crown. Probably not even an Eastern Division title.

With two losses in the SEC already, No. 17 Tennessee has put its top three annual goals out of reach.

And the Vols' schedule doesn't get any easier over the next three games.

Tennessee follows this week's open date with a trip to No. 6 Alabama. Then the Vols host nemesis Steve Spurrier and South Carolina on Oct. 29, and they travel to ninth-ranked Notre Dame on Nov. 5.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer knew going into the season the schedule would be rough, but he was counting on getting through it with a talented and experienced team picked by many to win the SEC.

Instead, the Vols (3-2, 2-2 SEC) have struggled on offense and special teams in losses at Florida and to Georgia last week.

"You have two choices — you fight back and get things going like you want to or you sit around and cry about it. Our kids are working hard to get it corrected," Fulmer said.

The Vols have never lost more than three SEC games in a season under Fulmer.

The last time they lost three in the league was 2002 when they finished 8-5 overall, Fulmer's worst record as a head coach. That season they lost to Florida, Georgia and Alabama and ended up in the Peach Bowl.

In 2000, Tennessee was 2-3 at this point in the year and finished the regular season with six straight wins and a loss in the Cotton Bowl.

But it's hard to imagine the Vols winning their final six games this year considering how well Alabama and Notre Dame have been playing.

"There's so much history in this program and so much pride in this program that we can't be the team that falls off and doesn't have a decent finish to the season," center Richie Gandy said. "We've had pretty good records every year for a long, long time. We don't want to be the team that lets everybody down."

Tennessee has had excuses for slow starts in previous years such as breaking in a freshman quarterback, having many inexperienced players or dealing with injuries.

But this season has been different, Fulmer said.

"I've been where things weren't going as well, and you didn't have the ability or you weren't getting quite the effort that you wanted at that particular time because of youth or inexperience," he said.

"That's not the case right now. We have ability. We have effort. Our issue is execution and finding a consistent personality."

- Volunteer - 10-19-2005 09:57 AM

Hmm bama.. :john: <--tide is goin out