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Ex-Vol Coach Fulmer Says New Vol Coach Jones Faces “Lots Of Challenges”

phillip-fulmer-today-in-sweaterFormer Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, speaking at a Chattanooga school on Monday, weighed in on the job current Vol coach Butch Jones inherited:

 

“It’s going to take time.  When you go through three coaches in four or five years… Butch has lots of challenges…

Butch is a guy I’ve come to really appreciate and respect.  I think (taking in a recent practice at Jones’ request) was good for me and I think it was good for the university.  It was certainly good for my family, and all it was about was to be there to support.”

 

How far have the Vols fallen since the heady days of the late-80s, 90s, and early-2000s?  Fulmer had this to say about Saturday’s contest: “Georgia is a really, really fine football team.  Hopefully we’ll keep it close and in the fourth quarter make a play that wins the ballgame, but it’s going to be a challenge.”

When your talent level ranks about 12th or 13th in the SEC, yep, you just gotta hope you can keep it close.

On a sidnote, Fulmer showed class when given the opportunity to fire a barb at his immediate replacement, Lane Kiffin.  Asked about Kiffin’s ouster from Southern Cal.  “It’s a big business, and I’m sure there was some frustration there.”

 

 


11 comments
BillRauhuff
BillRauhuff

Some people just love to put down one of the top 4 coaches Tennessee ever had. Phil Fulmer was 18 wins shy of General Robert Neyland record as the winningest coach in Tennessee history. As for turning in Alabama I have heard other SEC coaches were involved including Steve Spurrier but if Alabama fans want to use Fulmer as the scapegoat for their lean years then go ahead but that dog won't hunt.

NatanElias
NatanElias

Fullmer was successful ONLY when he had David Cutcliff as his OC (but he grabs all the credit), and when he wasn't sweeping around Alabama's back door for dirt.  Now we know that he had plenty in his own program.  Remember too how he hid from a subpoena to avoid telling the truth.    Karma strikes.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Jones will get the same as any new coach. 3 years to show improvement. Now improvement will mean an 8-4 record and pushing the conference leaders for four quarters.  This season and next season are "hope we make a bowl" seasons. Year four and five should be pushing for a conference championship. However it is good to see Rocky Top becoming solid again. Fulmer was tight with a lot of high school coaches through out the south, which we lost that support with Kiffin and Dooley. One of the major reasons recruiting was flat for Dooley.

UT98BCSChamps
UT98BCSChamps

Can we file that under the no **** category?

the_voice
the_voice

Have Tennessee fans beaten down the expectations they have for their program enough to give Jones the time Fulmer says he'll need? If not, Jones better be quicker than Fulmer's expects. Jones looks to be a good coach that is possibly between a rock and a hard spot.

gregpomeroy1
gregpomeroy1

@NatanElias No, Fulmer was only successful when he had Cutcliff as OC and Chavis as DC.  Both have gone on to be successful and Phillip couldn't get a job coaching a Division II team.  He's got to be the most overrated coach in SEC history.  Who cares what he thinks about anything?

VolTN
VolTN

@the_voice Everything Butch Jones has done so far has been absolutely positive.  Anyone believing that he could take the same depth chart that Fooley left and make it into a 10 win team should find a new sport to watch.  With his recruiting so far, he's two or three years away from having this team ready to compete in the SEC again.  With all of the turnover we've had in the past 6 years, I say he should get at least 5 years to show improvement.  

the_voice
the_voice

@VolTN @the_voice Couldn't agree more about giving a coach 5 years if they seem to have a clue, and Jones seems to. Look above and Houston Vol needs to be at 8 -4 in 3 years and conference championship material in years 4 and 5. I'm guessing that probably is about the average UT fan's perspective. I'm thinking Fulmer is urging the fans to dampen their expectations for a longer time than that, which seems more to be in line with your thinking. It is hard for a fan base to be patient when they've been to the promised land in the rememberable past. Sometimes coaches need to go through some learning curve in a new environment. Fans want them to wave a magic wand and turn chicken s__t into chicken salad. It doesn't work that way unless you strike lightning and find a Newton or Manziel.

VolTN
VolTN

@HoustonVol No doubt, I agree with you.  Third year should see a 7-8 win return.  Actually competing for SEC championships with 9-11 win seasons should be 4 or 5 years out.

the_voice
the_voice

@HoustonVolMy reference to your expectations was only meant as a contrast to what I think Fulmer was saying. We see the most enthusiastic fans of every school being overoptimistic. Heck, there were a few UT fans predicting a win over Oregon this year, some Arkansas and Auburn fans predicting a 10 win season this year, some A&M fans predicting a national championship this year (with that defense), a number of MSU fans who say Mullins should win at least 9 games. Each of these predictions is laughable, yet knowledgeable, impassioned fans believed them with their whole heart. Delusions of grandeur are never viewed as such by the delusioned.

One of the beauties of college sports is how so many fans believe that their school is special. This group thinking is similar to the fact that the vast majority of people believe their doctor, their lawyer, their accountant is well above average. Of course the vast majority of any group can't possibly be above average, so a fair amount of people are overoptimistic about their professional of choice. I believe that the more overoptimistic the fan base, the more often a new coach is hired over the course of time. An old comic strip character once said "we has met the enemy, and he is us". Overly high expectations don't help a program.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Each coaching change has different expectation. TAMU did not surprise me. The reason why Sherman was fired was because he had the talent to contend for a national championship, and went 6-6. So it was not surprising to see a coach come in and have immediate success because there was and is excellent talent already in place. Tennessee does not have that option. We know the talent is not there. This season and next, I will enjoy every win and hope that there are some upsets. In season three, this big recruiting class will have one year under their belt, and Butch's first class will have had two. It is not unreasonable to see progress at that point, but I also don't expect miracles. 8-4 is a good expectation. Look at the progress Freeze has done in Ole Miss with just one class. It takes time and steps, but it does happen and will happen.  

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