Mad as hell

In the wake of Tennessee's sorry performance in a Game 1 loss at underdog UCLA, Big Orange fans are mad as hell. The Vols' coaches and players can relate.

Asked following Thursday's practice to characterize the mood of the Tennessee players, junior free safety Demetrice Morley replied:

"If I gave it a mood, it would be a mad mood. We're mad but we've got to learn from our mistakes, learn from this past game and move on the next game."

After conceding that a lot of Vols "had their heads down" during Wednesday's practice, cornerback Marsalous Johnson said the players were venting some frustration during Thursday's workout.

"We used our anger, man," he said. "It's bad that we've got to wait two weeks just to get the anger out. We just have to be patient about it. Hopefully, against UAB we'll play a better game."

Head coach Phillip Fulmer has made no secret of his frustration following the opening loss. He wants his players to be in a similarly foul frame of mind.

"I would say it isn't very good," he said when asked about the mood of the team. "I HOPE it isn't very good. They should be disappointed. We lost an opportunity where we were the better team."

Tennessee was beaten by a team playing a third-string quarterback and a patchwork offensive line. Worse, the Bruins lost their one quality weapon, tailback Kahlil Bell, in the first half. Still, UCLA managed to win 27-24 in overtime, with considerable assistance from a mistake-prone Tennessee squad.

Fulmer acknowledged that Tennessee made an alarming number of miscues, noting that "we screwed it up enough to lose the game to a team that was a good team but not a great team by any stretch of the imagination.

"We'll play six or seven teams better than that team probably this year, not to take anything away from them."

Fulmer and his staff hope the Vols will channel their anger in positive ways – practicing with added intensity and fire, so they can bounce back in time for the home opener vs. UAB on Sept. 13.

"We're looking for responsiveness, for fighters, for toughness," the head man said. "We're looking for guys that are about as mad about it as I am."

CROMPTON UPDATE: After missing Wednesday's workout, No. 1 quarterback Jonathan Crompton was "limited" on Thursday, Fulmer said. The head man declined a question regarding published reports that Crompton suffered a fourth-quarter concussion, citing HIPPA laws.

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