Who needs a coordinator?

Nearly six weeks has passed since David Cutcliffe announced he was leaving the offensive coordinator position at Tennessee to become head man at Duke, and head coach Phillip Fulmer is still scrambling to find a replacement.

Naturally, this surprising development has a goodly number of Volunteer fans fretting. Their shared concern: Who'll call the plays next fall?

Well, the Vol Nation can relax. Fulmer is no stranger to calling plays, having done so during a successful stint as offensive coordinator (1989-92). The Vols averaged 28.8 points per game in '89, 35.8 in '90, 29.3 in '91 and 28.9 in '92, compiling a record of 38-9-2 during that span.

If Fulmer is reluctant to take on the play-calling duties, here's another option: Install a giant wheel in the coaches' booth, with the front divided into brightly colored sections like you see on the TV show "Wheel of Fortune."

One section of the wheel could be marked "off-tackle run." Another could be marked "toss sweep." Another could be marked "draw play." Another could be "quick hitch." Another could be "throw deep." Another could be "screen pass." Another could be "fumble-rooskie." (No, scratch that last one.)

Before each offensive snap, one of the assistants in the coaches' booth gives the wheel a spin, then relays the chosen play to the sidelines. If the play works, the assistant gets to spin again. If not, another assistant takes the next spin.

Talk about the element of surprise! How can the opposing defense anticipate what the next call will be when UT's own staff doesn't know?

Whenever someone questions Tennessee's play selection, the common response from the staff is "It's more about players than plays" or the infamous "It's not the Xs and Os, it's the Jimmys and Joes."

My "Wheel of Misfortune" suggestion would put that theory to the test.

And, if the wheel idea doesn't work, there's always Fulmer as a fall-back plan.


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