Tennessee was a very physical football team in 1998, when it won the national title, but the Vols have become more finesse-oriented -- and less successful -- in the interim. Since going 13-0 in '98, the Big Orange has slipped to 9-3, 8-4, 11-2, 8-5 and 10-3 ... a combined mark of 46-17 and a winning percentage of .714.
Fans may remember that Fulmer vowed to field a more physical team last August, too. After piling up big rushing totals in Games 1 and 2 vs. Fresno State and Marshall, however, the Vols lapsed back into their old patterns. They managed just 4 rushing yards in Game 5 at Auburn, 61 rushing yards in Game 6 vs. Georgia and 38 rushing yards in Game 13 vs. Clemson -- losing all three.
Tennessee is in desperate need of a more physical running attack in 2004, since the ground attack must take some pressure off of the Vols' new quarterback. As offensive coordinator Randy Sanders recently noted: ''We need a productive run game because we don't have Casey (Clausen) to bail us out anymore.''