Look, I’ve been the biggest Fulmer apologist for the last 5 years. The guy kept his nose clean, made it clear that he was never job-hunting, brought us a National Championship, and kept the program (relatively) clean, all the while piling up the most wins in the SEC since 1992 and having one of (and most of the time, the) highest winning percentage of all major college coaches.
I’ve listened to fan and foe alike tell me over the last 4 years that the game has passed him by. That the spread-it-out-and-go types like Meyer and Rodriguez were the new era of college football, and running up the middle and controlling the clock with bigger and better players has gone the way of the Terradactyl.
And I stood my ground. I said wait and see.
But you know what I saw. Consistently for the past 2 years. That we don’t have the bigger and better players. We’re losing them to the West Coast, and Auburn, and LSU, and (gag) Florida. But look, I said, we still have the tradition, the discipline, the winning attitude.
And then I watched the Florida game. UT looked confused, undisciplined, and for the first time in many many years, purely inferior. And it hurts. And it is sad. And it pissed me off. UT fans have an undying loyalty for the Orange and White. For the promise of a winner (just ask Bruce). For hope. And I’ve been leading the charge in the face of constant factual information to the opposite. But the truth is so evident now, the game has passed him by. At least the game of big-time wins and championships. The Tennessee Game.
So now I’m done. I’m done being disappointed. It’s time to get back on top. It’s time for a change. It hurts to type it, but I’m there. I want to give big Phil the thanks he deserves, and politely request that he do what’s best for the program, the city, the state, and the alumni (of whom I am one) and ride into the sunset.
It was a mere 6 years ago when Travis Stephens stood beside the fabled Rock on UT’s campus, sledgehammer in hand, painted with the everlasting slogan “Pound The Rock” on its face.
Those times are over. And now the rock has a new slogan on its face. One I finally have come to terms with. And one that looks as good, maybe better, then the time that same rock had my name on it in big orange letters.
I hate to be wrong. And I hate to admit it even more than that. But you guys were right in 2005. I concede. It’s time for a change.