Buzz clarifies comments

Some Tennessee basketball fans were upset when head coach Buzz Peterson said last Monday he would be demanding more of his players and his assistants. The fact he said nothing about demanding more of himself, they grumbled, suggested he accepts no responsibility for the Vols' losing record (13-16) in his fourth year at the helm.

I mentioned this to Peterson at today's media conference ... just in case he wanted to clarify the statement a bit. He did. Here's what he had to say:

''For them (fans) to expect more from those guys (assistants and players), everybody's GOING to expect more from me. That's how it's going to be. By being more demanding (I mean) I expect a little bit more from the players and from the staff. And, of course, a lot of it's going to come from me. I'm going to expect more from myself also, whether it's time in the office or whatever.''

Some fans also were angered by last Monday's comment that Peterson plans to become ''more active'' in recruiting. Many boosters felt this was an admission that (A) he waited four years into his tenure to realize you can't win SEC games without SEC-caliber players and (B) his assistants have let him down in their evaluation and pursuit of talent.

Again, Peterson says he did not mean to leave the impression he did.

''What I meant by that is, I like to coach as an assistant coach, where you spend a lot of time on that (recruiting). A couple of them (Vol aides), that's the only thing they're doing (recruiting). That's what I was talking about ... I'd spend a lot more time doing all this stuff. It's simple things like putting data in the computer or whatever. I'm going to get involved and make sure we're doing those things. I'm going to keep my fingers in it.''

Many fans believe Peterson's main shortcoming has been his inability to identify and sign quality players. He insists he has made every effort to upgrade UT's talent level.

''Since I've been here, I've recruited about as hard as I can,'' he said. ''I've done all the work there. Some things haven't gone our way but I really believe that, in some that we lost, we did all we could do ... I exhausted everything I could do to get that young man here. Some we got. Some we didn't. You lose out on more than you're going to get.

''What I meant is not that I'm going to do more. I've always been (involved) in it. But I'll take a little bit more of an assistant coach's approach. We meet every day about recruiting. That's the lifeblood of your program. That's very important to build your program.''


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