Today, in asking for a friend

John Adams is just brainstorming here, but… well, I’ll let you ponder where this came from.

… In fact, I would be in favor of increasing UT’s football support staff even further. And I have an idea of how to do it at no additional cost.

My proposal: all athletic department employees except coaches should be required to devote at least five hours of their work week to football.

Tennessee’s 2017 football press guide lists 32 senior athletic staff members. If they each gave five hours a week to football, that’s 160 more hours of manpower. And that’s just the senior staff members.

Those 160 hours could be devoted to recruiting, which is basically all about making high school seniors feel important. Think “handwritten notes.”

But the head of Tennessee’s athletic department could do more than write notes.

I thought about that when I saw a photo taken by News Sentinel photographer Caitie McMekin. The photo, taken at a Tennessee football practice, shows athletic director Phillip Fulmer looking like a football coach, which he used to be.

Since Fulmer is a regular visitor to practice, new coach Jeremy Pruitt should take advantage of his presence.

Fulmer once was one of the best offensive line coaches in the SEC. And last season, Tennessee had one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC.

I realize Fulmer wouldn’t be allowed to instruct players during practice. But he could observe. He could study video. And then, he could pass along suggestions to Pruitt and offensive line coach Will Friend.

If you think that Fulmer has more important things to do as athletic director, you haven’t been paying attention. There’s nothing more important than fixing UT’s football program.

That’s why chancellor Beverly Davenport fired athletic director John Currie and replaced him with Fulmer in December when the Vols were trying to find a new football coach. Fulmer found her a coach.

That’s just the beginning, though. Now, he needs to help that coach anyway he can.

Sure, he could spend his time making the department more fiscally responsible. For example, is it really necessary for the softball team to take trips to Arizona, California and Hawaii in the same season? And what’s the point of the baseball program traveling out of state before it begins SEC play?

But is fiscal responsibility really that important when you’re raking in the big bucks like Tennessee?

Answer: Not nearly as important as fixing the offensive line.

No doubt Jeremy Pruitt is simply thrilled by this.  I almost expect that Fulmer thoughtfully left a copy of the paper outside his office door.

Every head coach is under pressure to win.  Pruitt needs to win just to get Fulmer out of the coaches’ room.


UPDATE:  Holy crap, another media suggestion?

Would Fulmer be willing to coach if the situation called for it? Yes.

The man is working this.  Hard.

I can’t wait to hear the first question about this at a Pruitt presser.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Glass is Half Fulmer

43 responses to “Today, in asking for a friend

  1. Phil Fulmer and Jeremy Pruitt … after we pummel them, it may be time to pop a big bowl of popcorn to watch the aftermath.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’m Philip Fulmer and I’m here to help you.


  3. gastr1

    What a clown show. You’re right, the first couple of times they get beatdowns, the popcorn lines will be long… and worrth the wait.


  4. Brandon

    I actually think Pruitt’s a good coach who would do well if given time and left alone. Here’s hoping Fat Phil’s megalomania blows this, we are off to a promising start in that respect.


    • 3rdandGrantham

      I said from the very day he was hired that he has an almost insurmountable hill to climb, and I simply don’t think they will give him the necessary 4-5 years to turn the program around. Especially with Fulmer lurking about and looking over his shoulder at every turn. Remember, this is a program that has a losing record in SEC play this century, so to pretend that UT merely is going through a rough patch of late is delusional thinking at best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thorn Dawg

        It’s becoming very clear why Fulmer hired a first-time, defensive minded coach. This might be more entertaining than the dumpster fire they created last year.


  5. Bright Idea

    This all sounds like Rocky Top expects Pruitt to flop.


  6. ChiliDawg

    It just keeps getting buttah and buttah


  7. 3rdandGrantham

    “all athletic department employees except coaches should be required to devote at least five hours of their work week to football”….

    Great idea! Let’s grab Cindy in accounting and have her study game tape of our upcoming game against Georgia. We’ll have her break down the nuances of their cover 2 defense and their DL gap assignments, and work diligently with the OC Helton in prepping for the game. Oh, and Barbara in HR; someone get her a whistle asap…her help is needed asap with the OL group, as Will Friend clearly has his hands full at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChiliDawg

      Oh it’s only just getting started. Now that they’ve let the mob have final say on the coaching hire, they’re gonna think they need to have their input on day to day operations.


      • 3rdandGrantham

        UT admins/fans remind me of some middle age woman (or man in some cases as well) who is now desperate to settle down and have kids before their biological clock stops ticking. Yet instead of realizing their situation and resetting their expectations to a more reasonable level, they double down and up the ante even higher, even though they are rapidly fading from their mid 20’s peak. Whereas previously they demanded someone that was successful, smart, witty, and in reasonable good shape; now in their late 30’s they expect even more…assets in the 7 figures, perfect physique, never married/no baggage, and basically some prince who is just waiting to devote all of their attention to them.

        For whatever reason, the more UT continues to struggle, the higher their expectations and demands. Call me an idiot, but IMO you should lower your expectations, succeed, then gradually build from there.


    • Brandon

      My thoughts exactly. That’s an idea straight from someone (Adams) who has never run a damn thing. A professional critic.


  8. Spike

    The more this gets stirred, the more this stinks. Great going Phil, you fat ass..


    • BMan

      Your comment made me imagine what happens as soon as word gets back to Fulmer that Pruitt called him a “fat MFer” behind his back one day. The dumpster fire potential is huge.


  9. HiAltDawg

    And their schedule: WVU (neutral site), fl, @UGA, @au, Bama, @socar. Man o man, tough for any coach and not just a rookie w/ Phil lurking.


  10. ASEF

    Nothing like an ex-coach using a high profile football program to scratch an itch caused by swamp butt.

    The good news is that Jeremy will get a nice buyout and a free pass on the bottomless dysfunction in Knoxville.


  11. Cousin Eddie

    I feel for Friend, by what I understand he is a decent guy, having Fat Foolmer looking over his shoulder on every drill trying to micro-manage every single thing that goes on. Telling Friend to tell the player to “step this way, extend like this, do it again.” That’s gonna suck in a hurry.


  12. Russ

    Damn, Fulmer isn’t taking any chances of Pruitt succeeding without him. He’ll be “coaching” before the first game.


  13. DawgPhan

    I like what Alvarez has done at Wisc as the Head Coach to AD. I dont think that these are the right two guys to pull off something like that though.


  14. 83Dawg

    You know, even if you ignore the Fulmer part of this (which was, transparently enough, the entire point of the article), it is bat$hit insane.

    REQUIRE every UT Athletic Department employee to spend 5 hours a week as a worker drone for the UT football team? I’m [sarcasm] sure [/sarcasm] there would be no PR or legal issues with the members of the NCAA compliance staff, or the Title IX compliance folks, or the people running the tutoring programs having the head football coach as a boss for a required part of their job duties.

    What about the staffers who don’t know anything about football (at the coaching level)? I actually know enough about soccer to be of marginal use cutting together video and maybe even flagging some bloody obvious things I see whilst doing that for a qualified assistant to review, but football? I’m just a fan. What kind of job would I be required to perform? Doing laundry? Mowing the grass? Inflating footballs? Collecting urine samples?

    I can just see the Athletic Department job interview process now.

    “Good morning Ms. Job Candidate, and welcome to the University of Tennessee Athletic Department. We are excited to interview you today for the job of Chief NCAA Compliance officer for UT. As you have spent the last 10 years as Associate NCAA Compliance officer at ‘OtherSECSchool’, we know you understand the critical importance of this post to the success of UT Athletics. We have asked around, and you have an absolutely sterling reputation for proactive vigilance, fairness, and transparency, and in stopping problems before they start. By the way, how good are you at cleaning bathrooms?”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Well, as part of our ‘Let’s Pull Together and Stop Tennessee Football from Sucking’ initiative, all AD employees are required to spend 5 hours a week working for the UT football program. We have reviewed your qualifications and it does not seem as if you have any prior football coaching experience. Therefore, we have provisionally assigned the successful candidate for this job to clean the locker room toilets 5 hours a week. Would that be a problem?”

    (Ms. Job Candidate grabs her things and runs for the door).


    • Brandon

      As you point out, it’s crazy, and it’s all just to get Fulmer his 5 hours, and so he can say he’s just doing his part like all other AD employees. No interference or micromanaging here, just a good soldier following orders.


    • The article lays it out for you – he means in recruiting – sending one of the millions of flyers/notes/tweets needed to keep the ego of these teen recruits sated.


    • Whiskeydawg

      I can’t imagine the 5 hours a week idea getting past the bad idea stage but if it does the UT Athletic Department will be known as the, “Big Orange Auschwitz”.


  15. Uglydawg

    Reading that..I kept waiting for the punch line. It never came. This writer is seriously naive or has one of two agendas.

    A. He just “lit the fuse”…He’s “innocently” exposing Fulmer as a menace to CJP’s control of the program. Innocent or not, his writings may very well serve as the catalyst for the big free-for-all in Knoxville. If so, the popcorn will be served early.

    B. He’s laying out the red carpet for the orange pumpkin. If so, he has disqualified himself as a writer to ever be taken seriously.

    I suspect it’s ‘A”, but I hope not. We don’t need to see things work out that fast. Either way, the big show will almost certainly go on sooner or later.
    Later is better. Later is more damaging.


    • Argondawg

      Dude it’s neither. They guy is a double secret agent working for Kirby. Hell that article was probably written by Kirby and sent to him. It’s just so perfect. Kirby and Pittman are probably drinking a single Malt and cracking jokes about it at this very minute.


  16. Hogbody Spradlin

    Pruitt seems like the type who will not take this sheepishly. He also seems like the type who will clock somebody occasionally.


  17. DawgByte

    The message this sends to all the other Tenn. athletic programs, coaches, support staff and student athletes is priceless. You’d have to be completely delusional to consider committing to any sport at that school. What a cluster!


  18. paul

    How long before Fulmer is made Co-Head coach or Coach Emeritus or some other title that essentially means Pruitt is just there to carry his water? What’s the over/under on Fulmer being on the sideline during games? I just hope that when Jeremy finally decides to punch him it’s on television. Plus I hope he knocks the great pumpkin cold.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Macallanlover

    I blame the new TN president for not seeing through the thinly veiled palace takeover by Foolmer and his vocal supporters within the Vol fanbase. It was never about finding a new HC, when Phat Phil “volunteered” his services during the chaos, it was about control over running the football program. I am not among those who felt Pruitt was a good HC choice, he has not demonstrated many of the skills necessary to succeed at that level. In fact, given the way this is playing out, he may have been the very worst choice because it is unlikely he will sit by and not confront the intrusion. We may see as another serious split of fans on Rocky Flop before mid-season should tension build by a slow start.

    Pruitt taking the job following the new AD hire may be another indicator that he doesn’t have the depth of thinking for a job at this level. I understand the allure of a big salary bump but if things unravel for him, it may prevent him from getting other top level jobs later in his career. Not against Pruitt succeeding in his career later, but I hope this is another disaster for TN’s program. Couldn’t happen to a better group.


  20. Sean

    When is TN’s spring game?

    What are the odds that Fulmer is coaching one side and Pruitt is coaching the other?