Fulmer seeks playmakers

Tennessee's offense produced just eight passing plays and two running plays that gained 30 yards or more in 2005. That's one of the key reasons the Vols limped home 5-6.

Obviously, creating more big plays is a priority for 2006. But head coach Phillip Fulmer says the Vols need to make a lot more little plays than they did last year, as well.

"The truth of it is, if you just make the plays you're supposed to make – take what the defense is giving you, don't drop balls and don't have turnovers and get silly sacks – then you have a chance to be successful," he said recently.

The Vols have several guys who appear capable of being playmakers. Sophomore tailback Arian Foster, for instance. Last fall he recorded four gains of 20 yards or more. That was twice as many as Gerald Riggs recorded, even though Riggs started six of the 11 games.

Redshirt freshman running backs Montario Hardesty and LaMarcus Coker have displayed playmaking ability in scrimmages, although neither got to showcase it last season due to injuries.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem certainly can make plays, a knack he displayed by catching five passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the Orange & White game. Fellow wideouts Jayson Swain, Bret Smith and Josh Briscoe also have shown a big-play knack at various times. So have tight end Chris Brown and fullback Cory Anderson.

Clearly, the Vols have some guys capable of getting the ball down the field and into the end zone. They just need to do so on a much more consistent basis than they did a year ago.

"We have enough talented guys to break a tackle or make a play in the passing game that's going to give us some points," Fulmer said. "That's what we did not do last year … make the plays that win the game. We're still looking for those guys."


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