October 15, 2007
INTERVIEW OF COACH PHILLIP FULMER BEFORE ALABAMA GAME AT TUSCALOOSA
1. Comment on how Josh McNeil's remark, "We are not the nicest guys on earth, including myself," reflects Tennessee's on-field toughness.
A - "Football is not a game for soft people, especially if you are playing in the offensive line or the defensive line. You can't be a soft guy or a nice guy. Off the field, you can be a gentleman, but not on the field, playing the game. Josh McNeil is one of the 'tough' guys we have here."
2. How do you personally get across to the team the historical significance of the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry?
A - "It has been correctly said of Alabama and Tennessee players that they haven't played SEC football until you've been in this game. I will do a good job making sure our players understand how important this game is to the Tennessee people and to the Alabama people."
3. Describe what is involved in the improvement the Vols have made on the defensive side of the field.
A - "We have always played hard, but we were guilty of giving up big plays. We are tackling better and taking care of our responsibilities in filling gaps and so forth. It's an upgrade in playing the fundamentals."
4. What factors have contributed to Arian Foster's development as a productive running back?
A - "Arian has worked hard and has turned his one bad play against Penn State into a motivation tool. He had a good spring. If we can keep him healthy, we are looking at a fantastic junior year for Arian Foster."
5. Comment on the likelihood the outcome of the Alabama game could boil down to the ability to win the close ones.
A - "In the SEC, especially against big rivals, it can turn into a fourth-quarter game. Alabama this season has played a lot of close games, and we don't expect this to be any different. It could come down to one play or two plays deciding it. But every play is important."