Fulmer Talks Gators

Tennessee is coming off a convincing win against UAB on Saturday and now they set their sights on the SEC schedule and the Florida Gators. On Sunday afternoon, head coach Phillip Fulmer talked about the Gators during his weekly teleconference.

Is the offensive line where you would like it to be heading into week three?

"I think we're getting there. We're making some good strides in both protection and the run game."

As the dean of the SEC, does your experience help in a game like Florida?

"I think the maturity of our staff as a whole makes a difference. We've been through a lot of wars together. Hopefully our players will listen and do the things they need to do to win the ball game."

How would you access Jonathan Crompton's performance yesterday against UAB and where do you feel he needs to improve?

"I think Jonathan made some plays yesterday. I think he needs to continue to improve. His inexperience shows up every now and again. The first couple touchdowns were just great throws. He managed the clock. He gave up just the one interception which was a nice play by the defensive guy and I think he would have liked to have the second one back."

Do you expect Florida to stack the line considering how well you ran the ball against UAB?

"We also got the ball out on the perimeter an awful lot as well so I don't know what they're going to do. If you can give them a call and find out what they're going to do I'd appreciate it. I think it's important for us to maintain our balance and mix in the perimeter with the inside game."

Will how last year's game ended be some motivation for you this year?

"No one likes to get beat period, especially when you give up some plays at the end like we did last year. It was a heck of a football game through three quarters, but then after the fumble it got away. We try to stay away from those things."

Florida has a bye week and coming up so does Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina. Is that something you might contact the league office about?

"I wish we could have a bye week, too, but that's not something we can do. Sometimes when you're not playing well you want that bye week so you can get better. Hopefully, we used that bye week."

What kind of memories do you have from the 1998 win against Florida?

"That was one of the greatest settings I've ever been at here at home. It was a heck of a football game and our defense played lights out and our offense played good enough to win the football game. When we have time to think about it, we enjoy it."

After last year's game, some people felt Florida ran the score up a bit. Do you blame them of that or is it your job to stop them?

"I think it's our job to stop them. We were in a tight man-to-man to try and get a takeaway and they throw one over our heads. It's our job to not let that happen."

Do you think Florida does pretty much the same thing or do you think they haven't showed much yet this year?

"I've been watching us. I've seen Florida play against Miami. They have a lot of speed on offense and defense. They obviously have a great quarterback in Tim Tebow. They have outstanding running backs and receivers. They're a dangerous team, and they can make plays on both sides of the ball and in their kicking game."

After looking at what other teams did to Florida last year, do you think you pressured Tebow enough last year?

"We didn't hit him enough last year. He was hard to catch. They did a good job of getting him out on the edge."

Brandon James has given you fits. How do you handle a guy like that? Do you try to contain him or kick away from him?

"All of the above. He's not the only one who is capable on their team of breaking a long one. Last year he got us a little bunched up and then made a guy miss and it was six points for them. We have to make sure we do a fantastic job of covering kicks and make it as hard as we can on him."

Two years ago, Tebow's fourth down conversion was a big play. You don't usually see freshman come in and make big plays like that do you?

"It wasn't that complicated of a play. They just took a big physical guy and ran him real hard up the middle and he got the job done. It was a nice call by them and a nice play by him. He's a mature guy."

Don't forget to join FightinGators.com on Monday night for two chats. Larry Vettel will be in the chat room beginning at 9:00 and Jason Higdon will hop in around 10:00. Bob Redman and Chris Chmielenski will also be in the chat room throughout the evening.

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