Fulmer insists Foster no prob
Posted: Friday, September 12, 2008 9:12 pm
By: By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer doesn’t feel that Arian Foster has a fumbling problem.
The senior tailback has lost the ball at crucial moments in several games. His fumble on UCLA’s 6 yard line cost the Vols (0-1) sure points that could have changed the outcome of their 27-24 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sept. 1.
Fulmer said he and Foster talked during the Vols’ off week in advance of Saturday’s UAB (0-2) game about taking care of the ball.
Fulmer said Foster needs to remember to keep his elbows tucked high and tight and two hands on the ball in traffic.
It’s a conversation he’s had with Foster before.
As a freshman in 2005 he lost the ball at the goal line in what could have made the difference in a 16-15 loss to South Carolina. As a sophomore, a fumble of Foster’s in the Outback Bowl was returned 88 yards by Penn State for the go-ahead score in the Nittany Lions’ 20-10 win.
Last season, Foster fumbled late against South Carolina as Tennessee was attempting to tie the score, but offensive lineman Jacques McClendon recovered the ball and the Vols went on to win.
Offensive coordinator Dave Clawson and running backs coach Stan Drayton also have talked with their star running back and assured him they will continue to rely on him in important situations.
EYE IN THE SKY: Tennessee authorities will be keeping a closer eye on things during home games, thanks to a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The university has installed a new security camera system throughout Neyland Stadium to allow law enforcement to remotely monitor areas around the stadium.
“We are pleased to offer our fans even more peace of mind with the addition of these cameras, which will facilitate patrolling the stadium and protecting the huge numbers of fans who come to our campus on game days,” said UT Police Chief August Washington.
The camera project is a joint effort among the university, Knox County and federal and local homeland security offices. UT funded $37,000 toward the project.
DEVELOPING DEPTH: Defensive coordinator John Chavis would like to get some more players in the game early to prevent starters from wearing down during games.
“We’ve been good at that in terms of developing depth,” Chavis said. “I think when you play people early, and they know they’re going to play, they work harder in practice.”
Linebacker Ellix Wilson isn’t sure if fatigue contributed to Tennessee’s loss to UCLA but knows added depth won’t hurt.
“No one wants to come out of the game, but I think if we do get to the point where we do play more players I think we’ll be a better team,” he said.
HAIRBRAINED IDEA?: Demetrice Morley and Eric Berry attempted to make a fashion statement before facing UCLA.
The safety tandem shaved their jersey numbers on the sides of their heads, a No. 14 for Berry the sophomore and No. 7 for Morley the junior.
“It was Demetrice’s idea,” Berry said.
It may have brought some luck during the game: both Morley and Berry had an interception. They may not try it again though, since the Vols ended up losing.
“A lot more people said they were going to do it, but we probably won’t do it for a while cause we are 0-1 with it,” Berry said.
ORANGE SLICES: Tennessee leads the nation in rushing defense after allowing UCLA only 29 yards on the ground for a 0.9-yards-per-carry average. The Vols also rank eighth in both turnover margin (2.0) and tackles for a loss (nine). Tennessee ranks 114th in pass efficiency (78.24) and 116th in net punting (23.43). … Tennessee has lost to a Conference USA opponent only once in 17 games under Phillip Fulmer, a 1996 loss to Memphis.
SMOKEY SEZ: “Any time you have a new system there’s going to be growing pains. I said all along there’s going to be some bumps in the road, I just hope those bumps don’t end up costing us a football game. To some degree certainly we contributed to the loss,” said Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson on whether problems against UCLA could be attributed to installing a new offense.