Pearl clarifies crowd remark

"The energy of our crowd has been great but it has not inspired our players to elevate their games. Our players have not been elevated because of the home support. Maybe it is what is what it is and they are who they are."

The point of that comment by Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl following Saturday's 70-69 loss to Mississippi State seemed pretty clearcut to the media attending his post-game news conference: The home fans consistently have brought energy but the home team has not fed off of it.

Based on message boards and calls to Knoxville radio shows, however, a few people interpreted Pearl's remark as suggesting that Vol fans may not have been animated enough.

Informed of this during his Monday news conference, the coach shook his head, chuckled and replied:

"Oh, gosh, no! We're fourth or fifth in the nation in attendance, and our crowds have been tremendous. What I'm saying - and I think I explained this but I'll explain it again: At this level, the crowds usually don't intimidate the opponent but they can elevate the level of your (home team's) play and inspire you to make shots and make plays and play with a level of energy that is above and beyond what is the norm.

"Our players haven't been able to respond to that. The crowd's been there. The crowd's been phenomenal. It's just that it hasn't elevated our play. We haven't taken advantage of great, great support."

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