Vols undergo attitude adjustment

Based on spring practice, Tennessee's football team still has some of the same woes that caused the Vols to limp home 5-6 in 2005.

Jayson Swain's injured knee and Bret Smith's suspect hands have not resolved concerns about the receiver corps.

The inability to identify the top five blockers has not alleviated concerns about the offensive line.

The absence of tailbacks Arian Foster, Montario Hardesty and LaMarcus Coker leaves questions about the ground game unanswered.

One thing has changed since last season, however. The attitude in 2006 is far different than it was in 2005.

"I think there's a good attitude on this team," head coach Phillip Fulmer said recently. "Not that last year's team had a bad attitude … but it wasn't all it should've been.

"This team has had a sense of hunger and focus."

This time last season Fulmer was worrying about a half-dozen players who had been involved in off-field incidents. There have been no such incidents this spring.

"We haven't had any off-the-field issues of any sort," Fulmer said, clearly pleased.

In addition to showing more discipline in the community, the 2006 Vols appear to be showing more discipline in the classroom.

"Academically, we're doing OK except for one or two guys that are being hard heads," Fulmer said.

Rather than coddle these players in hopes they'll knuckle down and regain their eligibility, the head man has drawn a line in the sand.

"We're not going to count on ‘em," he said. "They can go somewhere else and behave that way."

Fresh from a 10-win season in 2004, last year's Vols were somewhat arrogant coming out of spring practice. Now that last fall's 5-6 disaster has brought them back to Earth, there is no arrogance to be found in 2006.

"I like the attitude of our team right now," Fulmer said. "I think we got too big for our britches at times (last season), and I thought I was probably part of that."


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