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2008 Tennessee Volunteers football
UTVolunteers.png
Conference Southeastern Conference Eastern Division
2008 record 5-7 (3-5 SEC)
Head coach Phillip Fulmer
Offensive coordinator Dave Clawson
Offensive scheme Multiple
Defensive coordinator John Chavis
Base defense 4-3

Home stadium

Neyland Stadium
Seasons
« 2007 2009 »
2008 SEC football final standings   
    Conf       Overall
Team W   L     W   L
Eastern Division
#1 Florida* † 7 1     13 1
#13 Georgia 6 2     10 3
Vanderbilt 4 4     7 6
South Carolina 4 4     7 6
Tennessee 3 5     5 7
Kentucky 2 6     7 6
Western Division
#6 Alabama* 8 0     12 2
#14 Ole Miss 5 3     9 4
LSU 3 5     8 5
Arkansas 2 6     5 7
Auburn 2 6     5 7
Mississippi State 2 6     4 8

Championship: Florida 31, Alabama 20

* – Division Champion
† – Conference Champion
Final Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll


The 2008 Tennessee Volunteers football team (variously "Tennessee" or "UT" or the "Vols") represented the University of Tennessee in the college football season of 2008–2009. The team was coached by head football coach Phillip Fulmer, in his 16th and final season as head coach. The Vols played their home games in Neyland Stadium and competed in the Eastern Division of the SEC. This 2008 campaign followed of a 10–4 2007 season, which saw the Vols win the Eastern Division of the conference and the Outback Bowl. This season marks the ten year anniversary of Tennessee's 1998 BCS National Championship.

On November 3, Fulmer announced that, after winning some 150 games over his career, he will step down from coaching his alma mater at the end of the season.[1].

Contents

Before the season

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Recruiting

The Vols followed last years top 5 class with an effort that found the team ranked outside of the top 25 by both major recruiting websites, Rivals.com and Scout.com.[2][3]. The top players of the class are considered to be tight end Aaron Douglas out of Maryville, Tennessee and wide receiver/linebacker E.J. Abrams-Ward out of Thomasville, North Carolina.[4].

Coaching changes

Chavis turned down an offer from the Atlanta Falcons.

Tennessee lost 4 members of their offensive staff. Offensive Coordinator David Cutcliffe accepted the Head Coaching position at Duke. Cutcliffe took along OL/TE coach Matt Luke, and RB coach Kurt Roper. Roper will join the Blue Devils' staff as Offensive Coordinator. WR coach Trooper Taylor also left the Vols for a coordinator position, accepting a job as Co-Offensive Coordinator at Oklahoma State.[5]

Cutcliffe was replaced by Dave Clawson, who comes to Tennessee from the University of Richmond where he was the head coach. Joining Clawson from Richmond is Latrell Scott, who will replace Taylor as the wide receivers coach. Stan Drayton, formerly the running backs coach at Florida, was hired to replace Roper as the running backs coach. Jason Michael, formerly on the staff for the New York Jets, was hired to coach the tight ends, replacing Matt Luke.[6]

Defensive coordinator John Chavis interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons but chose to stay at Tennessee.[7] This decision followed a similar decision by defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell. In December 2007 Caldwell chose to stay with Tennessee and turned down an offer to be the Defensive Coordinator at Arkansas.[8]

Player news

Tennessee was bolstered by the return of safety Demetrice Morley. Morley was a five star recruit out of Miami, Florida who played for the Vols in 2005 and 2006 before being dismissed[9] from the football team and leaving school for academic reasons. After sitting out the 2007 season, Morley was readmitted to the University in January 2008 and will rejoin the team.[10] Morley told the media that he had been living in his car following his dismissal from the team, but that the birth of his son motivated him to return.[11]

Another defensive back, Antonio Gaines, was awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in February. Gaines had missed the majority of both the 2003 and 2007 seasons due to injuries.[12]

The Vols are also welcoming two major transfer student athletes. Gerald Williams, who originally signed with Tennessee in 2005 has been cleared to join the team after spending finishing up at San Francisco Junior College. Brandon Warren, a Freshmen All American at Florida State has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

Discipline

The Volunteer football has also seen its share of off of the field issues since the close of the 2007 season. The first incident of the offeseason occurred during a recruiting weekend. Wide receivers Gerald Jones and Ahmad Paige were cited for a misdemeanor possession of marijuana while hosting a recruit Neither were suspended, but both were required to undertake more frequent drug testing and participate in a police ride along program.[13]

Another incident involved redshirt freshman running back Daryl Vereen. Vereen was arrested and charged with public intoxication and underage consumption after an on campus fight.[14] Vereen was required to perform community service and will be under a semester-long curfew. Fulmer also required the entire team to attend 6 A.M. running as punishment for the offense.[13]

Offensive lineman Anthony Parker was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in January. Parker's punishment included morning runs, curfew, community service and the police ride along program. Parker was charged after failing to obey the commands of a Knoxville police officer with whom he had previous run-ins.[15] This incident was followed by the arrest of incoming walk-on Vincent Faison for DUI. Faison was suspended for two games.[16]

In February, linebacker Dorian Davis and defensive back Antonio Wardlow were dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules.[17 ] The most recent incident of the offseason involved decorated punter Britton Colquitt. Colquitt was suspended for five games after being arrested and charge with both DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Colquitt also had his scholarship revoked.[18]

Schedule

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 1* 8:00pm at UCLA #18 Rose BowlPasadena, CA ESPN L 27-24 OT  68,546
September 13* 12:30pm UAB Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN Raycom W 35-3   98,205
September 20 3:30PM #4 Florida Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN (Third Saturday in September) CBS L 30-6   106,138
September 27 3:30PM at #16 Auburn Jordan-Hare StadiumAuburn, AL CBS L 14-12   87,451
October 4* 7:00pm Northern Illinois Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN PPV W 13-9   99,539
October 11 3:30pm at #10 Georgia Sanford StadiumAthens, GA CBS L 14-26   92,746
October 18 7:00pm Mississippi State Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN PPV W 34-3   98,239
October 25 7:45PM #2 Alabama Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) ESPN L 29-9   106,138
November 1 7:00PM at South Carolina Williams-Brice StadiumColumbia, SC (The Halloween Game) ESPN2 L 6-27   81,731
November 8*† 1:00pm Wyoming Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN L 7-13   99,489
November 22 12:30PM at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt StadiumNashville, TN Raycom W 20-10   38,725
November 29 6:30PM Kentucky Neyland Stadium • Knoxville, TN ESPN2 W 28-10   102,388
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Neyland Stadium will be the host for seven Tennessee home games in 2008.
Tennessee on defense vs. UCLA at the Rose Bowl, Sept. 1


Players

Starting lineups and coaches

Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer (16th year)

Offense

Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks: Dave Clawson
Offensive Scheme: Multiple

Wide Receivers: Latrell Scott
Offensive Line: Greg Atkins
Running Backs: Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Jason Michael

Offensive outlook

Coaches
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer hired Dave Clawson, formerly the head coach at the University of Richmond, to replace David Cutcliffe as Offensive Coordinator. Greg Atkins (Offensive Line) is the only returning coach on the offensive staff. Joining him are newly hired assistants Stan Drayton (Running Backs), Jason Michael, and Latrell Scott (wide receivers).

Quarterbacks
The Vols must replace graduate Erik Ainge, a 5th round selection of the NY Jets in the 2008 NFL Draft. The leading candidates are Jonathan Crompton, who started one game as an injury replacement for Ainge in 2006, redshirt freshman BJ Coleman and redshirt sophomore Nick Stephens. After spring practices, Crompton had minor elbow surgery but should be ready for the season opener and all reports are that Crompton will be the starting quarterback.

Running backs

Arian Foster leads a talented group of returning tailbacks.

Arian Foster saw the majority of time at tailback last season, with relief appearances by LaMarcus Coker, Montario Hardesty, and Lennon Creer. Coker was eventually dismissed from the team following the South Carolina game for a violation of team rules.[19] Foster finished the season with 1193 rushing yards and 12 TDs.[20] Foster, Hardesty and Creer all return and look to see significant time in the backfield. Looking to work his way into the rotation will be Daryl Vereen, a highly touted redshirt freshman. The fullback position may also be used more under Clawson. The starter was supposed to be David Holbert, but he has suffered another ACL injury and is out for the year. To honor Holbert, Arian Foster will wear Holbert's #30 jersey in the season opener at UCLA. With the injury to Holbert, sophomore Kevin Cooper looks to be the starter but true freshman Austin Johnson, who just recently moved from linebacker to fullback, will also compete for playing time.

Receivers

Josh Briscoe and two other seniors will lead the Vols receiving corp in 2008.

The Wide Receivers were led by Lucas Taylor and Austin Rogers last season. Taylor had 73 receptions for 1000 yards while Rogers caught 56 passes for 624 yards.[20] Both return for their senior season in 2008. Joining them will be Senior Josh Briscoe, Junior Quintin Hancock, Sophomores Gerald Jones, who many said was the star of the spring and will also see time at Quarterback, Denarius Moore, and redshirt freshman Ahmad Paige.


Offensive line
The offensive line returns the entire starting group from late in the 2007 season. The line was shuffled after an injury to Eric Young. Josh McNeil will anchor the line at center, with guards Anthony Parker and Jacques McClendon. Ramon Foster and Chris Scott will be the starters at tackle. This line allowed only 4 sacks during the 2007 season. Many experts predict Anthony Parker to be a First team All-American and for this unit to be the strongest in the SEC.[21]

Tight Ends
The Tight End position is up in the air following the losses of Chris Brown and Brad Cottam. Brad's brother Jeff Cottam and Luke Stocker are the leading candidates for the starting job. Because of the depth issues at tight end, offensive lineman Cody Pope was moved to play the position


Current starters (as of 2008-10-06)

Position Number Name Height Weight Class Hometown Games↑
QB 17 Nick Stephens 6'4" 215 lb. Soph. Flower Mound, Texas 1
TB 27 * Arian Foster 6'1" 225 lb. RS-Sr. San Diego, California 5
TE 88 Luke Stocker 6'6" 245 lb. Soph. Berea, Kentucky 0
WR 12 * Lucas Taylor 6'0" 185 lb. Sr. Carencro, Louisiana 0
WR 4 Gerald Jones 6'0" 180 lb. Soph. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 0
WR 81 * Josh Briscoe 6'3" 183 lb. Sr. Lawndale, North Carolina 0
LT 78 * Ramon Foster 6'6" 325 lb. Sr. Henning, Tennessee 0
LG 75 * Anthony Parker 6'3" 305 lb. RS-Sr. Jonesboro, Georgia 0
C 50 * Josh McNeil 6'4" 280 lb. RS-Jr. Collins, Mississippi 0
RG 65 * Jacques McClendon 6'3" 330 lb. RS-Jr. Cleveland, Tennessee 0
RT 79 * Chris Scott 6'5" 325 lb. So. Lovejoy, Georgia 0

[22]

  • * - Denotes returning starter.
  • ↑ - Denotes number of games started by the player at the listed position during the 2008 season.

Defense

Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers / Associate Head Coach: John Chavis (20th year)
Base Defense: Multiple (4-3 and 3-2-6 "Mustang")

Defensive Line: Dan Brooks
Defensive Ends: Steve Caldwell
Defensive Backs: Larry Slade


Position Outlook

Coaches
2008 will be the 14th season as Defensive Coordinator for John Chavis. The Defensive staff had been together and unchanged since the 1999 Season, with Dan Brooks, Steve Caldwell and Larry Slade.

Defensive Line

Tennessee must replace two starters at Defensive End in 2008.

On the Defensive Line, the Vols must replace two starters at end. Senior Robert Ayers and Junior Wes Brown are the leading candidates at those two spots. Tackles Dan Williams and DeMonte Bolden return after starting for the majority of the 2007 season. Providing depth will be tackles Walter Fisher, Chase Nelson, Donald Langley and Victor Thomas along with ends Ben Martin, Andre Mathis, and Chris Walker.

Linebackers
The Vols replace two starters in the linebacker corps. Junior Rico McCoy returns to man one of the outside spots. Ellix Wilson, who started the 2008 Outback Bowl at the middle linebacker looks to earn that job for the 2008 season. The other outside spot is up in the air, with Nevin McKenzie seeing the most time there the previous year.

Defensive Backs
The Defensive Backfield saw a slew of injuries and changes in 2007, but looks to be much more stable and seasoned in 2008. The Vols must replace departing safety Jonathan Hefney. Sophomores Eric Berry (SS), Brent Vinson and DeAngelo Willingham (Cornerbacks) should return to their spots with special teams phenom, Dennis Rogan expected to see plenty of snaps at both cornerback and safety. SS Demetrice Morley was reinstated in school after academic trouble caused him to miss the 2007 season. He is the leading candidate at the vacant free safety spot. It has also been stated during the off season that Eric Berry could see time on the offensive side of the ball, as he has lined up at quarterback multiple times during spring practice.


Projected starters (Note: Does not include incoming Freshmen).

Position Number Name Height Weight Class Hometown Games↑
LE 91 Robert Ayers 6'3" 260 lb. RS-Sr. Clio, South Carolina 0
LT 55 * Dan Williams 6'2" 310 lb. RS-Jr. Memphis, Tennessee 0
RT 98 * Demonté Bolden 6'6" 290 lb. Sr. Chattanooga, Tennessee 0
RE 94 Wes Brown 6'3" 270 lb. RS-Jr. Athens, Alabama 0
SLB 20 Nevin McKenzie 6'2" 210 lb. Sr. San Antonio, Texas 0
MLB 35 Ellix Wilson 5'10" 225 lb. RS-Jr. Memphis, Tennessee 0
WLB 5 * Rico McCoy 6'1" 215 lb. Jr. Washington, D.C. 0
RCB 24 * DeAngelo Willingham 6'0" 200 lb. Sr. Palm Desert, CA 0
LCB 13 * Brent Vinson 6'2" 180 lb. So. Hampton, Virginia 0
FS 7 Demetrice Morley 6'2" 195 lb. RS-Jr. Miami, Florida 0
SS 14 * Eric Berry 5'11" 195 lb. So. Fairburn, Georgia 0

[22]

  • * - Denotes returning starter
  • ↑ - Denotes number of games started by the player at the listed position during the 2008 season.

Special teams

Position Outlook
Sophomore Daniel Lincoln (kicker) replaced departing Senior James Wilhoit in 2007 and earned All American Honors.[23] Britton Colquitt returns as punter and will handle kickoffs. Sophomores Dennis Rogan emerged as the main kick and punt returner last, with Lennon Creer joining him as kick returner. Both players return.


Projected starters (Note: Does not include incoming Freshmen).

Position Number Name Height Weight Class Hometown Games↑
P 95 Chad Cunningham ‡ 6'3" 210 lb. RS-So. Dawsonville, Georgia 0
P 47 * Britton Colquitt ‡ 6'3" 205 lb. RS-Sr. Knoxville, Tennessee 0
PR 41 * Dennis Rogan 5'10" 175 lb. So. Knoxville, Tennessee 0
KO 26 * Daniel Lincoln 6'0" 204 lb. So. Ocala, Florida 0
KR 41 * Dennis Rogan 5'10" 175 lb. So. Knoxville, Tennessee 0
KR 3 * Lennon Creer 6'1" 202 lb. So. Tatum, Texas 0
PK 26 * Daniel Lincoln 6'0" 204 lb. So. Ocala, Florida 0

[22]

  • * - Denotes returning starter
  • ↑ - Denotes number of games started by the player at the listed position during the 2008 season.
  • ‡ - Note: Cunningham will be the starter during Colquitt's suspension.

Rankings

Ranking Movement
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Final
AP 18 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Coaches 18 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Harris Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
BCS Not released NR NR NR NR NR NR NR

References

  1. ^ Fulmer agrees to step down
  2. ^ Rivals (2008). "2008 Team Ranking". Rivals100.com. http://rivals100.rivals.com/teamrank.asp?SID=880.  
  3. ^ Scout (2008). "Scout.com Team Recruiting Rankings". Scout.com. http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=9&c=14&yr=2008.  
  4. ^ Scout (2008). "Football Recruiting (Tennessee)". Scout.com. http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=9&c=8&toinid=743&yr=2008.  
  5. ^ AP (2008). "Clawson leaves Richmond to be Vols offensive coordinator". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3192212. Retrieved 2008-01-16.  
  6. ^ WBIR TV (2008). "Jason Michael hired as Tennessee tight ends coach". WBIR.com. http://www.wbir.com/sports/story.aspx?storyid=53650.  
  7. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Chavis interviews with Falcons, staying with Vols". Knoxville New Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/feb/11/chavis-interviews-falcons-staying-vols/.  
  8. ^ Drew Edwards (2007). "Caldwell passes on Arkansas". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2007/dec/23/caldwell-passes-arkansas/.  
  9. ^ Michael Casasanta (2007). "Demetrice Morley dismissed from football team". University of Tennessee Journalism. http://tnjn.com/2007/jan/12/demetrice-morley-dismissed-fro/.  
  10. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Fulmer says Morley will return to Tennessee". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/jan/06/morley-readmitted-tennessee/.  
  11. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Birth of son spurred Morley to return to UT". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/jan/19/birth-of-son-spurred-morley-to-return-to-ut/.  
  12. ^ Associated Press (2008). "NCAA grants Gaines a sixth year of eligibility". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/feb/07/ncaa-grants-gaines-sixth-year-eligibility/.  
  13. ^ a b Drew Edwards (2008). "Fulmer disciplines Vereen, makes entire team run at 6 a.m.". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/jan/22/fulmer-disciplines-vereen/.  
  14. ^ News Sentinel Staff (2008). "Vereen arrested after fight". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/jan/22/vereen-arrested-after-fight/.  
  15. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Fulmer announces Parker's punishment". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/jan/30/fulmer-announces-parkers-punishment/.  
  16. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Faison 'slumped behind wheel' when arrested". Knoxville New Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/feb/04/faison-slumped-behind-wheel-when-arrested/.  
  17. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Davis, Wardlow dismissed for violation of team rules". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/feb/13/davis-wardlow-dismissed-fulmer/.  
  18. ^ Drew Edwards (2008). "Colquitt suspended for 5 games and loses scholarship after DUI charge". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2008/feb/17/ut-punter-charged-dui-leaving-scene-accident/.  
  19. ^ Benjamin Dishong (3 November 2007). "Coker dismissed from team". Tennessee Journalist.  
  20. ^ a b UT Sports Information (2 January 2008). "Tennessee - Cumulative Season Statistics". UTSports.com.  
  21. ^ Drew Edwards (28 October 2007). "Injury bug takes a bite". Knoxville News Sentinel.  
  22. ^ a b c UT Sports Information (21 January 2008). "2007/2008 Rosters". UTSports.com. http://www.utsports.com/football/page.aspx?id=306. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  
  23. ^ WVLT (10 December 2007). "Daniel Lincoln Named Football Writers All-American". MVLT.com.  

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