Bowl plan defective?

After three lopsided bowl losses in the past four years, some Vol fans are questioning whether Phil Fulmer's postseason approach needs a little tweaking ... perhaps even a major overhaul.

Here's a recap of the past four bowl games:

• Lost 35-21 to Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl

• Beat Michigan 45-17 in the Citrus Bowl

• Lost 30-3 to Maryland in the Peach Bowl

• Lost 27-14 to Clemson in the Peach Bowl.

Those were arguably three of Tennessee's worst performance of the past four seasons. The deficits against K-State and Clemson were deceptive. The Vols were never in either game.

Fulmer admits that those bowl efforts were not ''We don't like the taste,' he said.

Still, the head man says his approach is just fine, thank you.

''We've done extremely well with the practice schedule we used leading up to the national championship game (1999 Fiesta Bowl),'' he said. ''The big win three years ago against a really fine Michigan team (2001 Citrus Bowl) was a plus with the same practice schedule. The last two we haven't done as well but I've addressed that with our team -- the focus and intensity on the game. What's important is to play well.''

So what about the lopsided loss to Kansas State in the 2000 Cotton Bowl game?

''I think Kansas State, at that particular time, had so many juniors and seniors, whereas we were such a young team,'' Fulmer said. ''I think they were probably a better team than us.''

There is little doubt about that. Still, Tennessee was NOT outmanned in the past two Peach Bowls, yet the Vols were manhandled each time.

''The last two years we were as good or better than those teams but we didn't play well,'' Fulmer conceded. ''Why didn't we? Maybe it was focus. Those two teams were excited about playing Tennessee, and I don't know if we were excited about playing them.''

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