'Perfect Storm' part 2

Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer once compared the 2005 season to the "Perfect Storm," suggesting several negative forces combined as the Vols suffered through an unexpectedly turbulent 5-6 season.

So guess what greeted the Vols when they assembled Friday afternoon for the first preseason practice of 2006? A storm, of course.

Thunder showers forced the Vols to forgo plans to practice outdoors at Hudson Field. Instead, they gathered inside the Neyland-Thompson sports complex. Incredibly, the lights immediately went out, literally leaving Fulmer and his troops in the dark.

"An incredible storm came through," Fulmer noted. "We were about halfway through our (pre-practice) meetings, and I had to quickly get everything (equipment) moved up here from the baseball field. Then the lights went off in here, and we thought we were going to have to try to go back down there (Hudson Field).

After a few minutes, however, the lights in Neyland-Thompson flickered back on, allowing the team to move ahead with its opening workout.

"As it turned out, the lights came back on," Fulmer noted, "and we were able to get done everything we wanted to get done."

After a summer of discontent, coaches and players alike were eager to hit the field and start erasing the negative memories of last fall.

"It was absolutely great to be back on the field," Fulmer said. "We are in pretty darned good shape. That's obvious. We've got some guys out there that are flying around, look like they know what they're doing."

The head man described the workout as "positive," adding that he emphasized the 2006 motto of being "Fired up and Focused."

The workout concluded with offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe delivering a brief but fiery speech about "being where you're supposed to be and doing what you're supposed to do." The comments were obviously a response to two arrests involving UT football players in the past week.

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