It sounds like things are already rolling in Knoxville.
Arizona State’s athletic director was highly complimentary of the new football regime.
“The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster,” Anderson told Dodd. “Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director’s world is a pariah. It is not a good situation.”
Anderson is the guy who just made the bizarre decision to hire Herm Edwards as his new head coach, so when he talks about clusters, he knows a little something from where he speaks.
Jeremy Pruitt’s only been on the job for about a week, but it sounds like he’s looking for some of that sweet pariah action, too.
Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts has a difficult time believing Phillip Fulmer could have been involved in the process of pulling a scholarship offer from his quarterback, Michael Penix.
Roberts has never met Fulmer, but he knows the Tennessee athletic director had a sterling reputation during his Hall of Fame coaching career with the Volunteers. His impression from afar is that Fulmer is a man of integrity who did the right things in recruiting.
“I know that as an athletic director he has a lot to oversee,” Roberts said Thursday. “I can’t imagine he had a hand in how Tennessee’s new staff dealt with this.”
Fulmer is indeed a beloved figure in the Volunteer State, and a man the Tennessee fan base has rallied around since he took over as athletic director on Dec. 1. Thus, Roberts and others remain stunned at the awkward and uncharacteristic nature with which the new Tennessee staff cut ties to Penix, a well-respected 3-star recruit.
Penix, who had been committed to the Vols since April, stuck with Tennessee through Butch Jones’ Nov. 12 firing, a 26-day coaching search and the hiring of new coach Jeremy Pruitt.
It’s Pruitt’s first time as a college head coach, and calling the 11 players who were committed to Tennessee at the time was almost certainly one of the first things on his to-do list. Sure enough, Pruitt called Penix last week to tell the quarterback he was honoring his commitment.
That changed Wednesday, when Penix received a text asking him to call the UT football office. Penix said that when he made the call, new offensive coordinator Ty Helton told him not to come on the official visit to Knoxville that had been planned months earlier.
Apparently, the Vols had another pro-style quarterback they were bringing in to visit.
That’s nice. Apparently, somebody in Knoxville has decided the time for mockery is past. They’re going straight for active dislike. Just like the good ole days!