Walk-on Jim Bob Cooter, a fan favorite because of his down-home name, was suspended for the ever-popular “violation of team rules.” The incident apparently was alcohol related, since his penalty includes “extensive alcohol evaluation,” according to head coach Phil Fulmer.
"Jim Bob has let the team down and embarrassed himself and his family by his actions,” Fulmer said in a statement released by the UT sports information office. “He has benefited greatly by being part of the Tennessee family, and with that comes great responsibility for his actions. He did not behave in a responsible manner, and he understands very clearly that even though this is his first offense, there will be consequences.
“He will be suspended indefinitely from the team and is suspended from the first game. He also will undergo an extensive alcohol evaluation in addition to a number of internal requirements to return to the team."
Cooter, a 6-1, 220-pounder from Lincoln County High in Fayetteville, saw mop-up duty in 2003 against Mississippi State and in 2004 against South Carolina. He has never thrown a pass in a college game.
Cooter is an honors student who already earned his bachelor's degree. He will be a graduate student in 2006.
Cooter had this to say in a statement released by the university:
"I'm sorry I let down my family, my team, my coaches and the fans.
"The coaches have instilled a sense of discipline in our program, and we all understand that we need to be accountable for our actions. I'm thankful for the coaching staff for giving me a second chance."
This is the third disciplinary action Fulmer has taken since spring practice ended. He suspended first-team middle linebacker Marvin Mitchell for a public disturbance that apparently was alcohol related. Fulmer then dismissed freshman defensive lineman Raymond Henderson for an “inappropriate” comment he allegedly made to a young girl within earshot of her mother.