Vols out of control?

Despite a 4-6 record which guarantees the program's first losing record since 1988, Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer says he never sensed he has lost control of his players.

"I really didn't from the standpoint of busting their rears to get themselves ready to play," he said following Saturday's 28-24 home-field loss to 12-point underdog Vanderbilt. "Have they listened as well as I would've liked? At times, apparently not."

With only this Saturday's season finale at Kentucky remaining to be played, tailback Arian Foster and Tennessee's defense have been the only bright spots this fall. The passing game and special teams have been huge disappointments.

With the passing game proving generally inept, the offense has averaged just 17 points per game. Meanwhile, UT has surrendered two punt return touchdowns (one vs. Georgia, one vs. Notre Dame), while getting very little production out of its own return game.

"We gave up way too many things in the kicking game," Fulmer conceded. "We had a hard time running the football early in the season. We've had people (opponents) up there trying to stop the run, and we haven't made many plays."

Even so, the head man insists he has maintained his players' respect and their attention throughout this disappointing season.

"As far as getting away from me or getting away from the staff, I don't see that happening," Fulmer said. "When we have a team meeting, they're sitting up and paying attention."

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