Our Coach In This College Football Landscape…

What do you expect from your team’s Head Football Coach?  This is a difficult question for most fans to truly answer, especially Tennessee fans.  Most Tennessee fans over the last 30 years, would respond, “We want our coach to beat Bama!”  Great answer, but that answer is too macro for today’s college football landscape. 


 It is simple to see that the entire landscape of college football over the last 25 years has drastically changed.  We’ve seen trends come and go, we’ve seen a dynamic change in offense. Programs have moved away from the standard option offense (of course many variations), to the Power I, then to West Coast Style, and now the trend is towards the Spread Attack.  Defenses have had to adjust and strategize against the new styles of offenses.  Eventually and enviably the defenses will solve the offensive styles, and the “Offensive Gurus” will move to the next great scheme.  On a side note, I personally can’t wait for defensive coordinators to solve the Spread, I personally hate it.  Anyways, what I am getting at is that college football is an ever adapting sport.  Styles, offenses and defenses continually change and adjust to compete in the current college football landscape.  Adjustment and adaptation is college football…


Let’s keep this in mind and take a look at the University of Tennessee football program. 


Johnny Majors’ 1977 campaign motto, “Follow Me to Tennessee!” delighted the Tennessee faithful and put dreams of SEC and National Championships dancing in their heads.  All of the Tennessee faithful were ready for the inconsistency of the Bill Battle years to end, and Tennessee’s favorite son bring pride back to the University of Tennessee.  Coach Majors had some great years at Tennessee, bringing us the memories of the 85, 89, and 90 SEC Championship teams.  However, Coach Majors had an overall 64% winning percentage, and had a 58% percent against the SEC, which is disappointing looking back at the talent his teams had.  We all know what transpired in 1992, and eventually offensive coordinator Phillip Fulmer took over for Coach Majors.  The same program, the same system, and the same mentality…


Coach Fulmer took over one of the most talented Programs in the nation, and held it together well bringing UT SEC Championships in 97 and 98, which was of course our perfect National Championship team.  The same program, the same system, but a more fearless mentality…If you are reading this still, you know what has transpired to the Program since 1998.  Or do you really?  My answer to that is absolutely nothing has happened.  Nothing… the style, and the coaching is the same as it was in 1998…1992…1985…1977. Tennessee football has not adjusted.  Tennessee football has not adapted.


College football purist like this ideal of traditional powerhouse collegiate programs that sticks to their bread and butter, and rely on pure tradition to hold their programs competitive on the national scene.  Programs like Nebraska, Penn State, Florida State, and Texas A&M all have relied on rich football traditions and historical significance to maintain national prowess.  Has that mentality got those programs anywhere over the last 5 years?  I am afraid that the University of Tennessee is going to fall into this category under our current regime.  Our head coach has played, assisted or coached for the University of Tennessee program 35 out of the last 40 years.  That is amazing and honorable, but sir, college football has passed you by, mainly because of your stubbornness and refusal to adjust and adapt. 

Currently this is what we are getting out of our head football coach: Mistake filled Football, out schemed by other coaches, failure to make adjustments, strangling coordinators, not disciplining coordinators, and ultimately the fear of change.  Coach Fulmer’s recent teams have consistently made unacceptable mental mistakes.  If a SEC coach has ample time to prepare for UT, Coach Fulmer will be out coached.  Coordinators are initially responsible for making in-game adjustments, but when they are not made the buck stops at the Head Coach, Coach Fulmer refuses to demand adjustments from Coach Chavis.  Coach Fulmer refuses to let Coach Clawson implement his offense, which is the reason we brought him here in the first place.  Coach Fulmer refuses to hold Coach Chavis accountable for the unacceptable defensive miscues of the last 7 years.  Coach Phillip Fulmer is scared to death of change; he simply does not trust coordinators and coaches that do not have a long term Tennessee pedigree.  He refuses to adjust and adapt.


This is not what I want out of my head coach anymore.


I am jealous of teams with coaches that show true intensity.  In our head coach I want; to see our team display; discipline, fundamentals, a game plan, ability to adjust, intensity, and decisiveness.  I want my head coach to rely on Coordinators but also hold coordinators accountable.  I don’t want my head coach to be everyone’s friend.  I don’t want my head coach starting a player, because he’s been loyal to Tennessee and is close to a record. 


I want my head coach to do everything he can to WIN (legally).  If that means starting and playing 11 true freshmen, then my goodness, do it!!  That is the landscape of college football today, the best players take the field, the best teams field their best players, and the best teams win championships.  Our coach takes pride in being the father of this team, to be the man the players can confide in.  I am afraid this is impossible for a coach to do and still have the full respect and intimidation that a head coach needs these days to control and discipline his team. 

I want a sideline stalker, someone that will snap your head of for inexcusable mental errors… I don’t want my head coach to be a player’s best friend or surrogate dad.  That model worked at one time, but is out of date, and those coaches are losing football games. The Head Coach should be a great example in the way he carries himself, but not a pushover.   


I want my head coach to adapt, I want my head coach to jump into a time machine and come to 2008.  Leave 1998 behind… adapt and adjust.   


Unfortunately, our head coach over the last 10 years has shown that he can’t and will not adapt and adjust.


8 Responses to “Our Coach In This College Football Landscape…”

  1. Thursday Ramblings « Curveballs for Jesus Says:

    […] thread, Bill Duff’s Love Child (BLDC) now has a baby blog. The best post to date is this one, where he talks about how college football has changed over the years and how Tennessee for […]

  2. lawvol Says:

    Hey, just found your new blog. Welcome to the Vol-Blogosphere (not that you care whether I welcome you or not). Anyway, I’ll try and get you in the Tennessee links over at Gate 21.net.

    Either way, wecome to the crowd!

  3. Eva Mendes’ Goodies « Third Saturday in Blogtober Says:

    […] to the blogosphere, Goal Line Stuff looks at Fulmer in the scope of today’s college football world. A great […]

  4. ghostofneyland Says:

    Excellent post. I agree with every word. You can have a “family atmosphere” as long as you hold accountable men accountable.

  5. ghostofneyland Says:

    As much as I was for Cutcliffe leaving and there being “change,” he took discipline out the door with him. As for Chavis, Tennessee has been known for a failure to adjust in the second half, blowing big leads and playing down to opponents since he came on.

    Even if Fulmer finds a way to stay, this should be Chavis’s last stand.

  6. Bill Duff's Love Child Says:

    Thanks for the welcome lawvol, I really enjoy your stuff!

    Ghost… I agree, the family atmosphere can stay, and I believe that if a “fatherly” relationship is necessary it should remain between the players and their position coach.

    Last night I watched, “1985 The Year of the Volunteer” on YouTube, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a_1xQR7b8M)… and I realized how great of a defensive coach Ken Donahue was that year. He took a no name defense and dominated the landscape. Watch the Auburn highlights and watch what Dale Jones and the wrecking crew did with Bo Jackson… ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!

    Chavis is not capable anymore of that kind of coaching and adjusting. Agree Ghost, even if Phil makes it through, Chavis has got to go…

  7. Fulmer, USC, Zambrano, Lesbians, Stephen A., Nut Jobs | MoonDog Sports Says:

    […] Fulmer In Today’s Coaching Arena (Goal Line Stuff) […]

  8. Breaking News: Fulmer is OUT, by seasons end… « Curveballs for Jesus Says:

    […] Oldie but goodie.. […]

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