Thursday’s circus at SEC Media Days turned out to be more of a lesson on attorneys and law rather than football. When all was said and done, I sat back and realized I hadn’t heard a word of what coach Fulmer said about the team. The only quotes I could recall were regarding the subpoena.
After going back and reviewing the transcripts of coach Fulmer, here are a few things that stood out to me.
1. Fulmer is not happy about being picked by the media to finish third or fourth in the SEC East.
The Vols are the defending champions of the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division yet aren’t getting any consideration from the media as a preseason pick to return to Altanta. The loss of key players like Erik Ainge and Jerod Mayo accompanied with the departure of David Cutcliffe may be a contributing factor in the minds of some. Regardless, Fulmer doesn’t sound particularly happy about his program being picked to battle South Carolina for that third spot with the loser falling to the league’s bottom half.
I am excited about the fact that you’re always looking for ways to motivate your football team any way that you can. I appreciate y’all’s help picking us third or fourth in the East. Has served us pretty well at different times. We’ll certainly use that.
I’d a lot rather be playing for the SEC Championship in December than to be picked first in July in Birmingham. So we’ll see if we can make that happen.
I mean, we were picked third in ’98 when we won the National Championship.
2. Erik Ainge was a leader and had similar stats to Peyton.
Erik Ainge statistically had a nice career at Tennessee, ranking third in total passing yards behind only Petyon Manning and Casey Clausen. However, even though I understand the context in which it was used, I cringe at the comparison.
Erik Ainge, who was an exceptional leader for us, particularly from the standpoint of matching up numbers, numbers very similar statistically to what Peyton had accomplished when he was there.
3. What’s the deal with Morley?.
Most of you probably recall the rumors that have circulated the past couple of weeks about Demetrice Morley. The rumors were vague and conflicting and were never confirmed publicly. However, there was a lot of smoke coming from many different sources on this one and because of that, the following comments from Coach Fulmer caught my eye. We don’t know exactly what is involved here, but it’s obvious that Morley still has work to do in order to cement is place on the field this fall.
Demetrice is back on the team. He’s done well in football. He’s had a great spring practice and off season. You know, still I’m gonna reserve the right to get him to the practice field in the fall, that he’s done everything that he’s supposed to do to be an accountable football player and to be a guy that we know that we can count on on a daily basis.
If he does what he’s supposed to do, it would certainly be a benefit for him, and it would be a great benefit for us, as it could give us the best pair of safeties that I’ve had at Tennessee in my time at Tennessee, which is a pretty big statement.
He’s a very gifted young man. I’m proud of him getting himself back in good graces, what he’s done. Don’t let my silence about him during the off season confuse that he’s done anything wrong. That’s not the case. I’m just kind I want him to prove himself over a long period of time, not for one or two semesters or half a year.