'Fired up' Fulmer

Addressing the media attending his annual preseason golf outing at Knoxville's Gettysvue Country Club, Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer said today he and his staff were "focused and fired up" … and he wasn't talking about hitting the links. He was talking about hitting the practice field.

The Vols begin workouts Aug. 4 in preparation for the 2006 season. If Tennessee's players are as excited about that as Tennessee's coaches, this could prove to be a memorable season for the Big Orange.

Speaking moments before Fulmer, offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe expressed a similar level of excitement about the season to come.

"We're looking forward to it," he said. "I don't think any of us have ever been more pumped about a season than we are about this one."

Coming off a 5-6 disappointment in 2005, Tennessee's players may be a little less enthusiastic and confident. Pegged as a top-five team last preseason, the '05 Vols seemed incapable of making big plays on offense and big stops on defense in the final minutes of close games. Fulmer conceded as much.

"In our league it's just a few plays along the way that are going to be the difference in the ballgame," he said. "In the past we made those plays. Last year we did not make those plays … OR we gave up one of those plays that caused us to lose a ball game.

"There's a very fine line there, and we've got to make sure we've got that edge."

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