When Tennessee faces off against rival Florida this Saturday in week three, Phillip Fulmer will be in his CBS studio in New York giving his commentary on the matchup.
Oh, yeah, and he won’t be picking the Vols.
“I just think Florida’s ability to run the ball, they’re playing great in the kicking game and very well on defense is probably too much for Tennessee at this point,” Fulmer said in an interview with Go Vols Extra.
That’s not all the former head coach had to say about his alma matter. Fulmer expressed his disappointment and concern as a once competitive program now struggles to reach bowl eligibility.
“It’s hard to watch something you’ve put most of your adult life into and had just played for the (SEC) championship (in 2007) and all of a sudden you’re watching what’s transpiring now through the program and an obvious attempt to change the culture of Tennessee football that failed.”
Fulmer was relieved of his duties as head coach of Tennessee in 2008 after starting 3-6, but was allowed to coach the rest of the year. College football is “What have you done for me lately?” kind of world and there may not be a conference in which that statement is more prevalent than in the SEC.
In congruence with that mindset, athletic director Mike Hamilton needed a change.
Enter Lane Kiffin.
Then, exit Lane Kiffin.
Such a flux in stability has done a number on the Vols. Three coaches in three years and a slew of NCAA allegations have left the program inexperienced and short on depth — not to mention in the headlines more than they prefer.
In Fulmer’s opinion, the road to recovery is a long one.
“Tennessee’s … just trying to find 11 good players to put on the field at the same time that are going to execute and give the kind of effort that they’re looking for.”