Fulmer on No. 3 ranking

The first cliché of the 2005 Tennessee football season is officially in the books. Head coach Phillip Fulmer delivered it in response to the second question he fielded following Friday's Day 1 workout.

Asked his reaction to the Vols being pegged No. 3 in the Coaches' preseason poll, Fulmer replied:

A) "I'm as happy as Roseanne at an all-you-can eat buffet."

B) "I really don't think we're going to be that good."

C) "It's not where you start; it's where you finish."

If you picked C, give yourself five points.

Fulmer bounced back from this clichéd comment, however, to make a nice recovery.

"It's better than starting No. 33, I guess," he added, grinning broadly.

Fulmer said the presence of so many veteran players should help Tennessee handle the hype that goes with a lofty preseason ranking.

"Coach (Commissioner Roy) Kramer said in the first SEC meeting I remember attending that the team with the most experienced good players usually has the best chance to compete for a championship. We hope to be one of those teams. We SHOULD be one of those teams in the mix, but anything can happen."

Fulmer no doubt feels an added sense of urgency this season. The Vols' September schedule is a killer.

"We've got a real challenge in front of us," he said, "and we've got to be real mature to be able to handle it – with UAB, Florida and LSU early like that."

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