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Thank You Phil.


Ladies and Gentleman it is a new day in Tennessee football.  I will not sit here and say that I wanted Phillip Fulmer to be the head coach at the University of Tennessee after this season because I did not.  I am not numb to what Phillip Fulmer has done at Tennessee but, I am also not blind to his short comings either. Now as in every situation there are two sides to a story and many people will attack Mike Hamilton over the next few weeks with his decision.  What people must realize is that there must be a line between professionals and friends, sentiment and business, history and currency. I am a fan that realizes everything that Phillip Fulmer has done for the institution of Tennessee and I deeply appreciate it.  I respect Phillip Fulmer to the utmost and truly hope he continues to be a part of Tennessee football in some shape, form, or fashion.  Volball reflects.

Phillip Fulmer


This is a man who has given thirty years of his life to Tennessee coaching.  A man who has bled orange since before I was a thought in my mother’s head.  How do you honor such a legend?  He is a coach who will undoubtably go down in college football history.  There is no question has created a long measuring stick for his predecessor whomever that may be. 

Throughout his time at The University of Tennessee he has given Big Orange fans something to cheer about for many fall Saturdays.  One hundred and fifty wins, a feat that in my mind is simply amazing.  Who knows, maybe one day you will sit in Fulmer Stadium.  There is no doubt he has bred some amazing athletes, names like Peyton Manning, Al Davis, and Tee Martin.  There can be no value placed on what Phillip Fulmer has done for Tennessee.  


Some will go on to say that with six million dollars in his pocket he should be a happy man.  Those are the people who do not understand sports and what they give to their participants.  It was evident today that Phillip Fulmer’s passion in life was taken from him.  No amount of money can ever heal the end of your passion.  The man has given the better half of his life to Tennessee football. Most people can’t even say they have been cheering for the same team more than half of their life let alone ate, slept, and dreamt the same team.

Most importantly, what we as Tennessee FANs will never know is what Phillip Fulmer meant to the young athletes that wore the Orange and White.  We will never know the lessons, morals, and values that he instilled in his young players.  And that Big Orange fans is what you can not put a price on.  You can’t put a price on being a mentor to those young kids, being a father figure to young men, and a everlasting figure in their minds.  This was something I undoubtedly believe Phillip Fulmer brought to the Tennessee locker room. 

But as we look ahead, I personally I can not wait to walk into Neyland Stadium for both the Wyoming and Kentucky football games.  I can’t wait to hear Neyland Stadium rockin’ for Phillip Fulmer.  To think that I am going to be a part of something some monumental makes me feel truly blessed.  I respect Phillip Fulmer and I will be cheering for him harder than ever over the next month for what he has done for myself as a  fan and for Tennessee football.  And even if I have to pay the big bucks for these last two tickets I undoubtably will shell out the cash.



With today’s events you have to look back at Tennessee football tradition.  I consider Tennessee to be one of the most storied and tradition based football programs in the nation.  But what we should all realize is tradition didn’t always exist, there is always going to be the element of change.  Tennessee fans didn’t always walk into Neyland Stadium, the Vols once called Shields-Watkins Field their home.  General Robert Neyland never ran through the “T”. Volunteer legend Reggie White never took a stroll down the Vol Walk.  We have to realize we are entering a new era in Tennessee football, some things are going to change, and yet many will remain the same.

So today for myself is bittersweet, and although this is something everyone close to me knows that I wanted this it is still hard.  I wanted it in a different way, although I am not sure that way would have ever happened.  But, I can tell you that I don’t want to see anything but orange on coach Fulmer.  I want him to be a figure at the University of Tennessee until he walks away from sports all together.  Maybe I am being selfish but I would be upset to see otherwise.

But, through all this turmoil you can bet on one thing.  You can bet your bottom dollar this Volunteer fan will be in Neyland Stadium until the final tick over the next two home games, as I have been all season.  I am excited to give my all for Tennessee and our head coach Phillip Fulmer.  I have no doubt that the players are going to rise up and give all they have in Coach Fulmer’s remaining three games.  I have never wanted to win three games more than I do our next three.  I hope everyone will rally around such a great man and great football coach over the next month and say fairwell to a man who is no doubt a statue in Tennessee football history.

Go Vols.  Volball Out!

Thank You Phillip Fulmer!



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Enough Said.

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So Long Phil.

Well folks glad you could join the “sane train” this week, welcome aboard the fire Phil bandwagon.  We have been on the road for a while now and seem to be getting more crowded every week.  The trip will be bumpy but, smooth roads lie ahead!

There is no question that if you weren’t already picketing for the Phil Fire march you sure are now.  It is time to take notice folks.  Rivals.  What rivals?  Blown out by Florida and Alabama at home and barely survived against a Northern Illinois team at Neyland as well.  There is no question it is time for a new era in Tennessee football.  Hopefully after this weeks embarrassment against what used to be a bitter rival more Big Orange fans are screamin’ at the television. Volball reflects.

Again this week pregame and postgame I encountered a couple of folks and had some Tennessee football conversations.  And again I said running game, running game, running game.  If we couldn’t produce it we had no chance, and again we didn’t produce any yards on the ground.  To be exact UT only managed to post 36 yards of rushing.  And to be honest I can’t even point at the backs this week, again my finger points to a completely weak offensive line.  These boys must need to be called out every week to perform.  They simply were out worked again this Saturday.  Our inability to get push at the line of scrimmage costs us week in and week out.  And to think I thought our offensive line would be the strongest part of our offense preseason and would help inexperience at quarterback.  I look back and think of myself as a comedian.  And not only are they out worked they showed little intelligence again this week with multiple procedure and holding penalties.

Ladies and Gentleman if you weren’t aware Phillip Fulmer played offensive line at the University of Tennessee in college.  Now if your head coach can’t discipline a group of young men that played the exact position he did than what can he possibly have left in him.

Again this week I can not fault our defense all that much.  They held a extremely potent Alabama offense off for quite some time.  The fact is our inability to sustain drives and eat the clock on offense then tires our defense.  Then the defense begins to tire late in the game.  The fact is defense is about heart, and when it comes to heart the Big Orange defense have it but, with every field goal, missed field goal, and three and out they loose a bit of that heart.  The realize they are always fighting an uphill battle and they ware down.  John Chavis sits in front of the press and says I see the offense coming around, and I understand that because he has to but, the fact is they have not come around.

Daniel Lincoln, what happened to this kid?  He used to be consistent.  If the Big Orange didn’t walk away with six they almost always got the trey. Not this season, if the Vols can’t stuff it in the end zone there are more often than not going to be zero points put on the board.

The fact is Big Orange fans Tennessee football has sunk to an all-time low.  There was more Crimson in Neyland Stadium by games end Saturday than there was orange. And despite what I said earlier in the season I truly entered Neyland Stadium looking for a win, I wanted the win over the big rival.  No longer!  Until I here Phillip Fulmer say he is done after the season I will enter Neyland Stadium as a fan looking for change, and change comes with losses, so that is what I will look forward to every Saturday this fall, the loss.  If he announces his resignation I will attend every home game in his corner to say goodbye and thank you.  Until that announcement is made, change is my goal.  Volball Out.

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Next four weeks. Make or BREAK.

The next month will no doubt make or break head coach Phillip Fulmer’s job security at the University of Tennessee. Four straight SEC tests, splitting the four in half, two home two away. Now some say calling for Fulmer’s job is not right given his history at the University of Tennessee.  History aside, Fulmer will show fans and players what he is really made of the next month.  The Volunteers have a seemly impossible schedule in front on them.  

First, the Bulldogs between the hedges.  Despite your recent Kingsford commercials Georgia hasn’t proved they are the better football team in the last couple of years.  This has been Fulmer’s fall back game.  It seems over the last few years he has crawled his way out of the grave with wins over the Dawgs.  The Volunteers have taken care of business in this rivalry even in Athens, where in their last visit the struggling Volunteers dropped half a hundred on the dawgs.  But, the Dawgs are coming off a by week and frustrating loss to the Crimson Tide.  They need to get back on track, and lets just say the Vols are the track Georgia is the train. Chu-Chu!

Next, the Vols have Mississippi State.  This will be no easy test like your average Mississippi State game.  It is quite evident that the Vols have no easy games on their schedule after the romping of Northern Illinois.  The State bulldogs played Auburn to a 3-2 loss which obviously attests to their defense, and lets face it the Volunteer offense isn’t carving up D’s this season.  To earn a win for the Big Orange Faithful things will have to change in a hurry.

Then, the third Saturday in October.  Does anything really need to be said about Saban and the Crimson Tide?  I will be honest, that is the kind of coach I want at my school.  The man doesn’t celebrate for a minute, the Volunteers have been celebrating for ten years.  Or at least the lone national championship has saved Phil for that long.  Its time that we forget about the history and think about the future.  Saban is the future, and he is going to make history of Phil and the Vols in Knoxville, losses are not an option for Nick Saban and his football team.  When are we going to stop looking in the rear view?

The last leg, off to South Carolina to the Gamecocks home turf.  Its no secret the Old Ball Coach is a nemesis of Phillip Fulmer.  South Carolina is fresh off a victory against the Rebels of Ole’ Miss who knocked off the same Gators who dominated the Big Orange in Knoxville.  The Gamecocks are finally healthy and improving. Plus by this time we are going to have one tired football team.  

If I was a betting man their is no way I would put money on Tennessee in any of these games, not even against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, on homecoming, in Neyland Stadium.  Without a big turn around of the offense and special teams their is no way the Volunteers get victories in these tough SEC games.  

My question Volunteers fans, when do you start routing for losses?  I know I know.  You say never but, lets be honest here one or two upset wins will feel good now but, how will you feel next year with another lack luster season.  The fact is all it will take is one big upset win and one mediocre upset and Phil will again have job security, that is something I can not be happy with.  All I hear is buy out this buy out that, please the Tennessee Athletic Department has some deep pockets and 6 million is pocket change.  And tell me that upset Alumni won’t help fit that bill.  You better believe their are some Vol Alum that can’t stand what they have seen the past five saturdays.  Heck I will give some money to get Phil out of there, and you can quote me on that. The Volunteers are now the doormat of the SEC and its down right unacceptable.

The University of Tennessee like it or not is built around or central figure, and that is Neyland Stadium.  The winning tradition and fall saturday afternoon is losing its luster in a hurry.  Rival games are turning into embarrassments, cheers to boos, tickets to empty seats, touchdowns to interceptions, wins to losses,  and football to basketball.  I seem to encourter some random person every week who wants to talk Tennessee football with me, this week, a doctor during a visit.  You know what that man said, “basketball season can’t come soon enough.”  I never thought I would hear that statement from a Big Orange fan.

VolBall. Till next time, Go Big Orange!


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Down to Earth.

Finally a reality check for Jonathan.  This week I will review the quarterback controversy.  How can I not talk about it? It only took two weeks to long to long to consider Stephens or Coleman for that matter for the job.  Finally the coaching staff has put Crompton in his place opening up the position for quarterback this week.  My question, is this for real?  Is the spot really open or is this just a shot at Crompton, a boot in the butt to get this kid going.  Although how much more motivation can you really give the kid after losses to UCLA and Florida he still didn’t get anything going at Auburn.  I mean come on the kid has twice as many picks as he does TDs.  He completes 50% of his passes on a good day. 

In the last week or so I have been doing my research on this kid and it is shocking to say the least.  Comes out of high school as Scout.com’s 3rd ranked QB out of high school behind Mark Sanchez and Ryan Perrilloux.  Really? What the heck happened?  Given Perrilloux got kicked off of the Bayou Bengals but Mark Sanchez is a beast.  To even think that at some point Crompton’s name was mentioned in the same sentence is laughable.

So far this season my main complaint has been is over confidence in himself.  Finally this week whether he gets the start or not we have finally seen that tone down a bit.  He finally has realized he isn’t the QB he thinks he is after the 1-3 start.  I think its possible his head has found daylight for the first time this season, it has been elsewhere so far. 

Now, Nick Stephens, I won’t come out and say this kid will be the savior for this season because I don’t believe he will be.  At this point I believe the season can’t be saved.  Sure maybe with this kid at the helm we could spoil a few seasons but thats about it.  The fact is has this have happened a game and a half ago at halftime of the Florida game this season might have been salvageable but, that is no longer the case.  This football should be 3-1 not the other way around.  The key for Stephens will be to realize he can not bring this team back to glory he needs to relax and get the ball to the play makers. Safely!  Hopefully he has taken notes on Jonathan’s week in and week out attempt to play beyond himself.  

The thing I have like about this kid so far is his personality.  He seems to have a firm grasp on the situation, and for me the biggest thing, he hasn’t tried to sell himself to anyone.  Supposedly coach Clawson is all about character.  Well if thats the case I hope he is giving credit where it is due.  This week Nick Stephens has handled countless interviews and sensitive questions with the utmost care and professionalism.

Overall, I am extremely interested to see if this is a stunt or for real.  I haven’t decided which it is yet.  Luckily I will be finding out in person this Saturday when I walk into what I am sure will be a less than capacity Neyland Stadium.  Yup, thats right through all the shame and criticism I am going to pay for another tank of gas, another ticket, and a whole lot of beverages, which is obviously going to be the key to getting through this season Vol fans.  Until next time this is VolBall signing off.

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talkin’ back.

Well it was to be expected, the boys in orange are stepping up and defending good ole’ Phil.  It happened last year and is happening again this year.  My question, if he isn’t struggling why is there a need to defend him at all?  

You can say I am not a fan for saying that Phil needs to go all you want, the fact is I am die hard Tennessee, and will be for as long as I am around college football.  I stayed till the last second of the Florida game ticked off the big score board, you didn’t see me leave early.  And I will continue to go to the games this season despite the disappointment lurking. With that being said, here are the facts, one win in eight attempts against top ten opponents at Home! Only a 14-13 record in his last 27 games against SEC opponents.  And he hasn’t beaten Florida in his last four attempts.  Now can you can feed me this, “he is the winningest coach in NCAA football,” all you want, those words are falling on deaf ears here.  Its something around 70% winning percentage but, what people don’t realize is he wins 70% of his games every year ie. 9-3 or 8-4 seasons.  And that doesn’t cut it for this FAN.

The fact is yes we did make it to Atlanta last year but, we didn’t get there based off our own performance alone.  Getting to Atlanta to loses from other SEC east teams to give us that gift wrapped birth to the SEC championship team.  And mark my words there will be no gifts this season. Volball out.

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keys to stomp the chomp.

Its been four years.  Long(def.)- the amount of time since we took it to Gators and I for one am getting tired of the third week loss. Crompton, running game, coaching all public keys to success against the gators.  For me the battles will be won in the trenches.  The offensive and defensive lines will be key if the orange and white are to have a chance against Urban Meyer’s crew.

So far the offensive line has looked weak in protecting Crompton in drop back passing situations.  Jonathan can’t quite handle a good pass rush yet, he seems to crack under the pressure of D lineman and linebackers in his face.  With the Vols starting such a deep offensive line this year they really need to step up and help John out this week.  During the previous two weeks I feel they have left down Crompton not giving him the protection that he needs to be successful. 

Good blocking by the boys up front will also be key to develop the running game which will be key for a victory over the Gators.  If the vols can’t develop the run early we will be in huge trouble.  Clock management will be huge, we need to keep the powerful Florida offense off the field for as long as possible.  The more snaps the Florida offense takes the more chance the big play will occur.

On to the defensive line, after seeing the Gators play the ‘canes two weeks ago I feel I can’t stress enough the need to get pressure on Tim Tebow.  For the first time in a while the Gators showed weakness during the first half against Miami.  I would mention our linebackers but I don’t feel you can rest much pressure on their shoulders quite yet. I hope the big orange were taking notes during the first half of the Miami game, the Hurricanes held Florida to only nine points and the nation saw frustration on Tebow’s face, a completely foreign idea.

If the Volunteers can win the battle in the trenches they will drastically increase their chances to get the W this week against the Gators for the first time in four years. If Tennessee can’t come up with the win this year I think the Big Orange Army might have blow torch under Phillip Fulmer’s office chair.

Volball’s keys to stomp the chomp!


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