'Total commitment'

The original Tennessee volunteers adopted the theme "Remember the Alamo." The 2006 Volunteers adopted the theme "Fired up, focused and prepared." Now the 2007 Volunteers have a theme of their own.

"Total Commitment" will be the rallying cry for Tennessee's '07 football team. Players already are wearing T-shirts featuring the catch phrase, and head coach Phillip Fulmer touched on the theme during his spring practice news conference.

"During the off-season, we took on the theme of being totally committed to what we're trying to get done," Fulmer said. "I'm eager to see who is really going to do that once we get to pads."

As part of this total commitment, the head man said Vol quarterbacks will not wear green jerseys (designating them unhittable) during scrimmages.

"Our scrimmages will be live scrimmages, and we're going to try to play football," he said. "It will help our quarterbacks' development, help our defensive development. It just helps everybody, and we can find out where we are really quickly.

"The things we can control - our attitude, effort and total commitment to what we're doing - are really important for us this spring. I'm eager to see what this team looks like after we get going and what kind of attitude we have."

In addition to a total commitment physically, Fulmer wants his veteran players to exhibit a total commitment to providing leadership. He thought senior leadership was a key component as Tennessee bounced back from a 5-6 nightmare in 2005 to go 9-4 in 2006.

"One of the areas where we did a really good job last year was growing our leadership during the course of the season," the head man said. "Some guys we expected to come on did so and some guys we didn't exactly expect came on and took a leadership role on our football team.

"That's got to happen this year. I can definitely identify some guys who have leadership abilities; they have to take on that challenge. And there certainly are some guys capable of being leaders who have to mature into that role.

"It will be fun to watch and see who takes on those leadership opportunities. Most of the time it happens naturally with your team and I'm hopeful the guys will be committed to do that."

Tennessee must replace a glut of starters from its 2006 team – receivers Robert Meachem, Jayson Swain and Bret Smith, offensive linemen Arron Sears and David Ligon, defensive linemen Justin Harrell Turk McBride and Matt McGlothlin, linebacker Marvin Mitchell, plus defensive backs Jonathan Wade, Antwan Stewart, Inquoris Johnson and Demetrice Morley.

Filling so many gaping holes will be difficult. Without a "total commitment," it might be impossible.


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