Tough sledding

Four of Tennessee's first six opponents ranked in the top 10 nationally when they played the Vols – Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama.

That clearly has contributed to the disappointing 3-3 record the Vols take into tonight's game with South Carolina. UT head coach Phillip Fulmer wasn't caught by surprise, however. He knew a long time ago that the 2005 slate was going to be a testy one.

"I remember looking at this one a couple of years ago and saying, ‘Man, that's pretty salty.' But we've had tough schedules before," Fulmer said.

That's true. But the Vols aren't handling this tough schedule particularly well. They're 1-3 against top-10 teams this season. Fulmer believes that record could just as easily be 3-1.

"I can go to each game and pick out two or three plays where, if we make those plays, we're sitting here with a lot different look," he said.

The Vols didn't make those plays, however. That's why a team ranked No. 3 nationally in preseason is currently No. 3 in the SEC East.

"I'm not happy," Fulmer said. "The coaches aren't happy. The players aren't happy, knowing we're a few plays – fumbles, dropped passes, penalties here and there – from having a very fine season."

The Vols can't do anything about the games they've already lost. What they CAN do is try to make sure they don't lose any more.

As Fulmer put it: "You just keep fighting."

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