UT seeks 1-2 punch

The worst thing about Tennessee's 1-2 start is that this also happened last year. That may be the BEST thing about the 1-2 start, as well.

The fact the 2007 Vols rallied from their 1-2 beginning to win the SEC East gives the 2008 Vols hope that they can do the same.

Still you have to wonder: Can this year's team actually benefit from the bounce-back blueprint that worked for last year's team?

"I think you always draw on history to help you if it's been good history," defensive coordinator John Chavis said. "If it's bad history that's a different deal."

Bad history isn't Tennessee's problem but bad attitudes might be. If the current Vols are content to settle for mediocrity, the wheels could come off of this season in a hurry. If the current Vols work to turn the season around, however, they might be able to do so – as happened for the '07 Vols.

"If you're competitive enough, then you're going to go to work with the idea that you're going to get better to win," Chavis said. "To me, that's the only way. If we've got the right kind of kids and the right kind of coaches – which I know we do – then that's the way we're thinking.

"I'm not going to give anybody a guarantee but I know how competitive our head coach is. I know the kind of leadership he's going to provide. It starts at the top and goes all the way through the program.

"If you've got the right kind of people it gives you an opportunity to do those kind of things. It doesn't mean you're GOING to do it, but it gives you an opportunity."

Head coach Phillip Fulmer believes the '08 Vols – like the '07 Vols – are the kind of people who will grow in the face of adversity, not wilt in the face of it.

"I do believe in this football team," he said. "I'm very committed to this football team, as to how they've gone about their business in preparing. The simple fact of the matter is that we've got to play better in our ball games."

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