"It could be exactly what we needed," Fulmer said after watching his team – a 23-point favorite – struggle mightily just to win the game. "We had to play hard for four quarters."
It appeared the Vols took their preseason No. 3 ranking a little too seriously and didn't take the unranked Blazers quite seriously enough. That combination almost proved disastrous but Fulmer suspects his team may have learned a valuable lesson from the experience.
"It should be humbling," he said. "It could be just what the doctor ordered."
While the Vols escaped with a scare, several other ranked teams were not so fortunate. No. 7 Oklahoma was shocked by Texas Christian, Auburn fell to Georgia Tech and Texas A&M was upset by Clemson.
Given these Week 1 upsets, Fulmer was happy to escape with a win, ugly as it might have been.
"We've got that one behind us," he coach said. "This open date should be great for us … give us time to improve."
The Vols visit Florida Sept. 17 in Gainesville. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. with television coverage provided by CBS.