Split personality
Phil Fulmer

Posted Mar 21, 2006


Tennessee’s offensive football team spent the entire 2005 season looking for its personality … only to discover that it had none.

There were several games last fall when the Vols couldn’t run the ball effectively. They managed just 48 rushing yards vs. Georgia and 70 vs. LSU, for instance.

There were several games when the Vols couldn’t pass the ball effectively. They completed just 14 of 32 for 99 yards vs. South Carolina and 11 of 26 for 125 yards vs. Vanderbilt, for example.

And there were several games when the Vols could do neither effectively. Prime example: Against Florida the Vols rushed for a mere 66 yards and completed just 16 of 35 passes for 147 yards.

Given all of the above, it’s understandable that one of the top priorities entering spring practice was to discover exactly what Tennessee’s offensive personality will be for 2006. With spring drills at the midway point and the players getting an 11-day break, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news: The Vols appear to have a personality.

The bad news: It seems to be a split personality.

In the first full-scale scrimmage of the spring, Erik Ainge (14 of 23, 178 yards, 1 TD), Jonathan Crompton (10 of 16, 105 yards, 3 TDs) and Bo Hardegree (13 of 19, 87 yards, 1 TD) combined to complete 37 of 58 for 371 yards and five touchdowns. From all appearances, the Vols’ personality would be to spread the field and fill the air.

When head coach Phillip Fulmer held a situational scrimmage last week, however, it was the rushing attack that sizzled while the aerial game fizzled.

“The best thing we did was run the ball,” Fulmer said. “That’s OK. If that’s what we’re going to be, that’s what we’ll be.

“I’d just like to see more from a consistency standpoint.”

He might want to rethink that comment. After all, the one thing the 2005 offense produced was consistency … it was consistently inept and unproductive.

Moral of story: Even a split personality is better than no personality.


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