Football in the Internet age

Legendary University of Tennessee head football coach Robert R. Neyland was never blasted on a radio call-in show. He was never second-guessed on a website. He was never ridiculed on a message board.

Then again, current Vol head man Phillip Fulmer wasn't blasted on radio call-in shows, second-guessed on websites or ridiculed on message boards in his first few years at the Big Orange helm, either. Technologically speaking, these are relatively recent developments.

Coaching football at a high-profile university is a totally different matter in the Internet age. Each loss is analyzed for days, sometimes by people who don't know an out route from an outhouse. Each decision is debated and evaluated as if world peace were at stake. Each comment is dissected and interpreted in every way possible.

Bottom line: Coaching at a big-time university is even more of an under-the-microscope job than it was 10 years ago. Fulmer addressed this topic in a profile aired as part of the "Head Coach" television show.

"There's all kinds of difference challenges coming at you ... probably more now because of the amount of coverage," Fulmer said of today's coaching experience. "The ability to communicate through the Internet and blogs and the talk shows and everything that's out there ... it's a tremendous amount of difference in the last five or six years."


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