Coach Fulmer at his weekly press conference says, Tennessee has adjusted along the way as it has needed to, because of injuries during the season, but other players have stepped-up in fine fashion to take-on the extra responsibility after another player is sidelined.
The Vols have also adjusted their practice schedule and that's payed-off with great dividends, according to coach.
Offensively, Coach Fulmer says the team's done what it needed to do to win the games, making plays in the passing game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Vols are challenged weekly, but the team continues to make strides with the young team on defense that it has.
Coach Fulmer says Dennis Rogan is doing great with kick returns. Coach is really happy with the young guys who are making significant contributions to this year's football team as freshmen and red-shirt freshmen who are doing extremely well for Tennessee.
Coach says our focus is currently on Vanderbilt, and the team needs to carry that preparation onto the football game Saturday.
Coach Fulmer adds, Vanderbilt plays a very solid game of football. Defensively they are third in the league in total defense, 2nd in sacks, and 3rd in scoring defense, which will be a real challenge for the Vols' offensive game plan.
Vanderbilt has a balanced and talented offense as well, along with their kicking game, according to Coach.
Coach Fulmer ended his opening comments by challenging the fans as we go into this week, to be early to the game and loud, and to honor the seniors at the beginning of the game, 21 guys this year will be honored.
Personally, Coach Fulmer says it's one of the hardest things he does every year, and that's to say goodbye to the seniors who are a particularily good group this year that he will miss.
COACH FULMER'S COMMENTS:
“Needless to say, I’m really pleased with last week’s effort vs. Arkansas. Our team and coaches continue to respond during the course of the season, and we’ve improved as a football team mostly because of our attitude and the way we have gone about our business in our preparation. We’ve continued to work really hard on the practice field. Each week I’ve asked the coaches to set individual goals for their position and get those to the players as well as to me; then everybody has a clear understanding of what we’re trying to do for that week as far as fundamental goals and preparation for the team that we play. I think that has paid off. Our ultimate goal is to win our football games.
“The best part about this football team is that it has continued to be responsive to the coaches and work hard. There are obviously challenges each week, and sometimes those challenges change, sometimes there is good carryover from week to week in the opponents we play. The best thing we are doing is playing as a football team and meeting those challenges. We have used our practice opportunities to the fullest, and as a coach, that’s what you’re looking for.
“Vanderbilt presents a different set of challenges than Arkansas in that they are much more balanced and do many different kinds of things. From a fundamental standpoint, from a ball-security and takeaways and kicking game standpoint—we want that carryover to happen for us. Our team has done a good job of that, and I will reiterate that to them again today.
“We’ve adjusted things along the way as we have needed to. We’ve had some injuries, which are well-documented. Other players have had the chance to play, and they have stepped up for us. That’s been really fun to see happen. We adjusted our practice schedule a few weeks ago. I think that’s paid huge dividends for us. We changed our punt alignment during the season, and I think that’s continued to pay dividends for us.
“Offensively, doing what we need to do to win the game has been a real plus for us: taking care of the football, rushing the football better, making plays in the passing game. Defensively, there is no question that we have made strides along the way, though I know we will be challenged this week and next because we are youthful in spots.
“We made the change in the kicking game with Dennis Rogan doing the kick returns. Speaking of Dennis, I am really happy about the number of young guys that are making significant contributions to our football team. There’s too many to list, but I look at offense, defense and special teams and there are a good number of guys—freshmen or redshirt freshmen—who are doing extremely well for us.
“It’s a great opportunity in front of us. Our focus is on Vanderbilt and preparation during the course of the week. We need to carry that preparation into the football game and play a really sound, solid game because that’s exactly what Vanderbilt does.
“They are a good football team. Defensively, at this point in the season, when you’re third in the league in total defense and second in the league in sacks and third in scoring defense, you’ve got a good defensive football team, particularly with the schedule they play. It will be a real challenge for our offense.
“Offensively, the quarterbacks have played well. What Earl Bennett has done is well-documented. He’s easily one of the best players in this conference and in the country. The balance that they present offensively certainly is something that our defense is going to have to do a great job with. They’ve got a very solid kicking game, both in returns and in protection and coverage.
“I would challenge our fans as we go into this week—we’ve done very well at home—to be early and loud and honor our seniors before the game. I think that’s one of the great moments we have here at Tennessee when they get to run through the “T” for the final time. We have 21 guys making that trip. To me, personally, that’s one of the hardest things I do during the course of the year, saying goodbye to that group of seniors. This group has experienced so much and been through a lot and continued to do well.
“We’re excited about the game. I’m looking forward to getting to the practice field today and positioning ourselves to finish this season like we want to.”
DETAILS RELEASED FOR SATURDAY’S PAY-PER-VIEW
Randy Smith, Norman Jordan and Pat Ryan have been assigned announcing duties for Saturday’s UT-Vanderbilt football game on VideoSeat pay-per-view. Smith is handling the play-by-play, with Jordan and Ryan providing color analysis for the 2 p.m. Eastern time (1 p.m. Central) game.
Smith has been the Sports Director for Chattanooga’s WRCB-TV since 1995. A broadcast veteran, he has done play-by-play for more than 450 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games during his career. Smith has worked for ESPN, ESPN2, FOX and CSS. Jordan played running back at Vanderbilt from 1979-82 and hauled in a school-record 20 receptions for 173 yards versus Air Force in the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl. Ryan played quarterback at Tennessee in 1977 and went on to a 13-year career in the NFL with the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cable systems across the state are scheduled to carry the telecast from the VideoSeat pay-per-view service. Fans may contact their local cable system to order the game and receive price information. The game is being made available as a pay-per-view event to Tennessee DirecTV (Channel 684) and Dish Network subscribers. Channel number for Dish owners will be forthcoming later this week.
ESPN will offer the game to fans living outside the state via the ESPN GamePlan package. The game will be blacked out on ESPN GamePlan in the state of Tennessee and cannot be ordered as part of ESPN’s package.
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR HOME FINALE
Tickets priced at $40 each remain for Saturday’s 2007 Tennessee home finale against Vanderbilt.
Check the UTSports.com Web site for best available seats, or call or stop by the athletics department ticket office in Thompson-Boling Arena. Phone and over-the-counter sales begin each morning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Fans may order by phone until 6 p.m. Eastern time by calling 656-1200 for local calls and 1-800-332-VOLS (8657) from outside the Knoxville area.
UT HOSTS VANDERBILT IN FINAL HOME FOOTBALL GAME OF 2007
Tennessee hosts in-state rival Vanderbilt in the Volunteers' final home football game of the season on Saturday.
Kickoff for the game against the Commodores is 2 p.m. Eastern time.
Fans are encouraged to participate in pre-game festivities and to observe the security measures in place.
The traditional Vol Walk from Gibbs Hall to Neyland Stadium starts at 11:45 a.m., and the Pride of the Southland Marching Band leaves the music building at 12:20 p.m.
UT seniors will be honored before the game.
Because of traffic concerns, fans driving to the game should plan to arrive early. The stadium gates open two hours before kickoff.
James White Parkway, which connects Interstate 40 to Neyland Drive, is now open. It had been closed since December for construction and reopened in September.
Before the game, fans can access James White Parkway from both eastbound and westbound I-40.
After the game, fans wanting to go westbound on I-40 must use Hall of Fame Drive because there is no entrance ramp from James White Parkway. Motorists wanting to go eastbound on I-40 may use the parkway.
Only fans with permits can park on campus. UT encourages fans to use shuttle buses from the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and the UT Agriculture campus.
Due to ongoing concerns with counterfeit tickets, the university urges fans to utilize the UT Ticket Office to prevent the purchase of forged tickets. Some tickets are still available for this game. The ticket office can be reached at (865) 656-1200 or (800) 332-8657.
Smoking is prohibited inside the gates of Neyland Stadium because of a new state law. And, as always, no one inside the gates will be allowed to leave and then be readmitted.
Fans should remember that all items, including purses, are subject to search at the gates. Certain items remain prohibited inside the stadium, and those items cannot be stored at any stadium gate.
Prohibited items include the following:
• alcoholic beverages, cans, bottles or coolers
• radios without headphones
• open umbrellas
• video cameras
• stadium seats with arms
• large bags or parcels, including backpacks and large purses
• weapons of any kind, including pocketknives
Fans are allowed to bring the following items inside the stadium:
• cushions and seats without arms
• diaper bags that accompany infants
• small cameras, pagers, cell phones and binoculars
For those driving on campus, Peyton Manning Pass, Middle and Lower Drives, Estabrook Drive and Phillip Fulmer Way from Middle Drive to Tee Martin Drive will be closed 30 minutes before kickoff. Directional parking will be used in Area 9 and Lots 4, 5A and 5B.
With the renovation of the Glocker Business Administration Building, traffic on Andy Holt Avenue between Volunteer Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way will be two-way before the game and westbound only after the game.
Due to construction, sidewalks on the north side of Andy Holt Avenue and the east side of Volunteer Boulevard at Glocker have been closed.
Solicitation near stadium gates and along Phillip Fulmer Way is prohibited.
A no-fly zone will extend over the stadium from one hour before the game until one hour after it ends, prohibiting flights within a 3-nautical-mile radius and lower than 3,000-feet altitude, except as authorized by air traffic control.