UT Fans React to Vols' Struggles

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - In the wake of Tennessee's 59-20 loss to Florida -- the program's worst defeat since 1981 -- Vol fans have mixed reactions as to what to do next.

"Personally, I don't like Fulmer, so I would fire him," UT student Troy Venable said Thursday.

Other students disagree.

"I wouldn't say fire the coach," said friends and UT students Jessica and Megan. "I think you just keep on practicing and try to work things out."

Regardless of their opinions of what the next step should be, fans agree that they won't tolerate many more games like last week's Swamp shellacking.

"The first half, we did awesome, we were right in there. We had a chance to win, and then you give up 24 points...it's sad," Venable said.

The team's stumbling start to the season has suppressed school spirit, students say.

"Walking around campus, I remember this Monday after the game I didn't see hardly anyone with a Tennessee t-shirt on," Jessica said.

However, every student interviewed agrees that no amount of losses will taint their loyalty to the Big Orange, and they're eager to prove their passion, starting this Saturday when Arkansas State comes to town.

"Oh yes, we're gonna be there," Jessica and Megan said. "Way up there, in the balcony, screaming our lungs out."

Freshman Eric Berry will make the move back to safety for Saturday's game. He will be replaced at cornerback by either junior college transfer DeAngelo WIllingham or freshman Brent Vinson.

Berry's switch means the altered secondary will see a different starting rotation for the fourth time in four games. It will be Berry's second start at safety -- the other came against Southern Miss.

The freshman tallied his first career interception last week against Florida, returning an errant Tim Tebow pass 95 yards for a touchdown, Tennessee's last score in the 59-20 rout.

Tropper Taylor may be getting his receivers ready for this weekend's Arkansas State game, but today he spoke at a United Way luncheon, encouraging government employees to get more involved in community organizations.

"I grew up in a big family and the Meals on Wheels from United Way helped feed me a couple of times, and so they asked me to come out and speak tonight, and I said I'd be glad to because it's such a good cause," Taylor said.

Last year Knoxville volunteers generated more than $2 million of service in the Greater Knoxville area.

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