DID YOU KNOW?
Under Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee has won 39 of its 66 games against ranked opponents. The 2006 season-opener against California presents Fulmer with an opportunity to notch his 40th career victory over a ranked team.
SERIES HISTORY & NOTES
Tennessee and California have met twice previously on the gridiron, with both meetings taking place in Knoxville. The Bears posted a 27-17 win in 1977, and the Vols triumphed over Cal by a score of 38-12 in 1987.
Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer is 3-1 all-time against current members of the Pac-10 Conference (2-1 vs. UCLA and 1-0 vs. Washington State). This year's game marks the first meeting between Fulmer and fifth-year Cal head coach Jeff Tedford.
Fulmer is 13-1 all-time in season-openers, with the lone loss coming at the hands of Pac-10 opponent UCLA in 1994 (the Bruins posted a 25-23 victory in Pasadena, Calif.)
Just two players on Tennessee's 2006 roster -- Arian Foster (San Diego) and Cody Pope (San Diego) -- hail from the state of California.
CUTCLIFFE RETURNS TO ROCKY TOP
After seven years away from Rocky Top, David Cutcliffe returns to Tennessee in the role of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the 2006 season.
Cutcliffe, 51, was a member of UT's staff for 17 years, including six years as offensive coordinator, before leaving after the 1998 season to become head coach at Mississippi.
Under Cutcliffe's tutelage as OC from 1993-98, Tennessee twice led the SEC in total offense and three times was the league's rushing leader. The Vols finished no worse than fifth in scoring offense during that span and posted a 63-11 record with three SEC Eastern Division crowns, two league championships and the 1998 national title. Cutcliffe was named the nation's top assistant coach in 1998.
WILHOIT SEC'S ACTIVE SCORING LEADER
Tennessee senior placekicker James Wilhoit enters 2006 as the SEC's active scoring leader with 229 points. He also ranks eighth on UT's all-time career scoring list.
The Hendersonville, Tenn., native needs just five points to tie James Stewart (1991-94) for seventh place on the UT list.
Wilhoit is 41-of-60 on field-goal attempts during his career and 106-of-108 on extra-point tries.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: MAPU IS BACK
The already-imposing Tennessee defensive front is bolstered even more this year by the return of two-time letterman J.T. Mapu (2002-03), who spent the past two years on a religious mission.
The defensive tackle from Kahuku, Hawaii, has 24 games of experience under his belt. His career totals include 35 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 TFLs.
This marks the fifth straight season that UT's roster has included a native of Hawaii.
CHEMISTRY A KEY AS VOLS SEEK RETURN TO CHAMPIONSHIP FORM
Head coach Phillip Fulmer, banking on a talented squad to create a winning chemistry, has challenged the Tennessee
Vols to make every moment count as they head for the 2006 season-opener Sept. 2 against California.
The Vols' long-standing status as one of the nation's elite football powers took a poke to the midsection last fall in an
uncharacteristically dreary season that left the team home for the holidays for the first time since 1988.
Home may be where the heart is, but it isn't where you want to be when the calendar turns over from December to
January in college football. With the team's 5-6 record banishing it from the list of bowl eligibles, Tennessee had more than
enough time to analyze what went wrong in 2005. It was a season that left Vols loyalists, including the demanding Fulmer,
looking for vast improvement.
But rather than separate the good from the bad, Fulmer called for a rededication by all parties toward achieving the Vols'
customary goals, which start with a drive for the Eastern Division championship of the Southeastern Conference.
Although it suffered heavy graduation losses, especially in the linebacker corps, the defense ranked second in the
nation last year against the run. Some intense patching is called for to determine a starting lineup. But coordinator John
Chavis anticipates another strong performance by his charges.
"The defense played well enough to win," was a frequently heard commentary among fans who watched in frustration
as the Vols dropped five of their last seven games. The implication that the Vols were below par when it came to
moving the football was borne out in the season statistics.
Offensively, the Vols never achieved the consistent results that would have made the team a big winner. David Cutcliffe,
who held the coordinator's portfolio before heading to Ole Miss as head coach in 1999, has rejoined his longtime friend,
The obvious priority is for Cutcliffe, returned as coordinator, to shake up the offense -- shuffle personnel, adopt and
discard plays and formations, do whatever if takes -- to remold Tennessee into a juggernaut to be greatly feared.
VOLS TOP SEC OVER LAST DECADE
Tennessee maintains its standing as the winningest team in the
SEC over the last 10 years in terms of victories and percentage.
The Vols are 95-30 during that span for a percentage of .760, ranking
them fifth nationally in percentage and sixth in wins.
COACHING STAFF BENEFITS FROM NEW ADDITIONS, SHIFTED ROLES
In addition to the return of David Cutcliffe, UT's 2006 coaching
staff also features newcomers Matt Luke and Kurt Roper. An eightyear
veteran in the collegiate coaching ranks, Luke takes over as
tight ends coach with additional offensive line duties and the title of
recruiting coordinator. Roper boasts 11 years of sideline experience
and is coaching the Vols' running backs.
Greg Adkins, in his fourth season with the UT staff takes over as
the primary offensive line coach, while third-year Tennessee coach
Trooper Taylor moves over to guide the Vols' receiving corps.
FULMER TO APPOINT GAME CAPTAINS
For the first time in the Phillip Fulmer era -- and the first year
overall since 1990 -- Tennessee enters a season without predetermined
team captains. The Vols will name captains on a game-bygame
basis to open the season, but Fulmer has left open the possibility
of naming permanent captains during the year as leaders
The last time a UT team utilized this approach to captaincy, the
Vols won the 1990 SEC Championship and finished 9-2-2.
Tennessee has scored in 146 consecutive games dating back to
a 31-0 shutout by Florida in Knoxville in 1994. It is the secondlongest
streak in the SEC, trailing Florida's 215. UT's home scoring
streak is at 76, while it has scored in 141 straight games away from
Neyland Stadium. The Vols' last road shutout was handed down by
Georgia in 1981, 44-0.
FOSTER SEEKING SIXTH STRAIGHT 100-YARD GAME
After posting the fifth-best rushing total ever for a UT freshman tailback last season,
Arian Foster enters the 2006 campaign as Tennessee's marquee ballcarrier. In addition,
the San Diego, Calif., native is riding a streak of five straight 100-yard games. He closed
out 2005 by reaching the century mark in each of the Vols' last five outings (his only five
MEDIA TABS VOLS THIRD IN SEC EAST
During July's SEC Media Days, 104 media voters in Birmingham, Ala., predicted a
third-place finish for Tennessee in the 2006 Eastern Division race. Florida and Georgia
were a close 1-2 in the voting, with South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt rounding out
SIX VOLS EARN PRESEASON SCHOLARSHIPS
Since the start of preseason practice, Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer has awarded
scholarship status to six student-athletes.
The recipients include seniors David Yancey (TB), Matt McGlothlin (DT), Ryan West
(DS) and Stanley Asumnu (WR) and juniors Michael Frogg (C) and Ben Greene (DB).
Frogg, a native of nearby Kingston, Tenn., has been tabbed by Fulmer as Tennessee's
starting center for the season-opener against California Sept. 2 in Knoxville. McGlothlin is
also slated to start along the defensive front when the Golden Bears invade Neyland
Asumnu joined the football team this summer after lettering for four years as a member
of the UT basketball team.
A number of returning Vols are sporting new jersey numbers this season. Those players
and new numbers are as follows: No. 94 Wes Brown, No. 48, Adam Myers-White, No.
51 Vladimir Richard, No. 21 Austin Rogers, No. 55 Dan Williams and No. 23 Ellix Wilson.
VOLS RETURN TO ESPN AIRWAVES
Tennessee's last football appearance on ESPN was Oct. 2, 2004, vs. Auburn in
Knoxville (L, 34-10). The Vols have played 20 games since that contest, marking UT's
second-longest streak without appearing on "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" primary
channel. Tennessee went 23 games between its inaugural ESPN appearance (a 6-6 tie
with Georgia Tech Oct. 26, 1985) and its second (a 41-21 loss to Alabama Oct. 17, 1987).
Since 1997, Tennessee has opened the season on ESPN four times. In three of those
years (1997, 1998, 2004), the Vols advanced to the SEC Championship Game.
The Tennessee signal-callers should greatly benefit from the return of QB guru David Cutcliffe
to the Vols' coaching staff this season ... Junior Erik Ainge enters the year holding the starter's
role during spring drills and hopes to bounce back from a sub-par sophomore campaign ...
Redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton is the top backup candidate and a player who Vols
fans are excited to see in action ... Depth at the position is provided by junior Bo Hardegree,
senior Jim Bob Cooter and true freshman Nick Stephens.
After a breakout year in 2005, sophomore Arian Foster is primed for his first season as UT's
showcase ballcarrier ... Hailed by his coaches as a dynamic back who is physical and will fall
forward, Foster racked up a team-high 879 yards on the ground last year with 4.8-yard average
per carry and five TDs ... Phillip Fulmer has announced that redshirt freshmen Montario
Hardesty and LaMarcus Coker also will both see action in the backfield ... A stable of eager
workhorse reserves includes senior David Yancey and sophomore Ja'Kouri Williams ... At the
fullback position, Coach Fulmer has called on senior Cory Anderson to maximize his potential
... Anderson will surely prove up to the task, while talented junior David Holbert lurks just behind
on the depth chart.
Senior WR Jayson Swain has emerged as a leader during the offseason and leads a talented
corps of route runners under new position coach Trooper Taylor ... Junior Robert Meachem
and senior Bret Smith both bring tremendous explosiveness to the line of scrimmage and will
certainly factor in the Vols' aerial attack ... The sophomore trio of Josh Briscoe, Austin Rogers
and Lucas Taylor adds depth to the position, as does true freshman Quintin Hancock.
Preseason All-America OT Arron Sears headlines a group that many have concerns about
entering the season ... Coach Fulmer voiced optimism in his line's toughness, however ... Junior
OT Steven Jones and sophomore OGs Anthony Parker and Ramon Foster each have game
experience under their belts ... Junior Michael Frogg has earned the starter's role at center, and
is likely to be sandwiched between Parker and senior David Ligon ... Junior Eric Young
appears to be the opening-game starter at RT ... Greg Adkins has taken over as offensive line
coach and faces the task of improving upon last year's 1,411 net rushing total (the lowest for a
UT team since 1996).
Tennessee's defensive front lost three stalwarts to the NFL draft but remains steadfast under
defensive assistants Dan Brooks and Steve Caldwell ... Senior DT Justin Harrell brings preseason
All-America mention into his final collegiate campaign following a breakout junior season
... Fellow senior Turk McBride can line up at either tackle or end and is certain to disrupt
the opponent's backfield ... Other power players along the front seven include ends Antonio
Reynolds, Xavier Mitchell and Robert Ayers as well as tackles Demonte Bolden, Matt
McGlothlin and J.T. Mapu ... Plenty of youngbloods are ready to enter the fray if called upon.
All three 2005 starters have departed, but defensive genius John Chavis is plugging the gaps
with typical top-tier talent once again ... Senior Marvin Mitchell will likely line up at MLB, flanked
by Ryan Karl at SLB and Jerod Mayo at WLB ... Ellix Wilson and Rico McCoy are sure to
see action as well ... UT's opponents rushed for just 906 net yards and eight TDs in 2005.
Despite the loss of first-round draft pick Jason Allen, this unit may emerge as a strength of
the Vols' defense due to talented veterans Jonathan Wade, Antwan Stewart and Jonathan
Hefney ... Fulmer has vowed to find a way to get sophomore standout Demetrice Morley on
the field consistently ... Junior Inky Johnson also is sure to bat down a few passes before all
is said and done ... Opponents passed for 215 yards per game and nine total TDs a season ago.
Senior placekicker James Wilhoit returns as the SEC's active career scoring leader and
looks to cement his UT legacy ... Sophomore punter Britton Colquitt will pin opponents deep
... Jonathan Hefney, Lucas Taylor and Austin Rogers are early favorites for kick- and puntreturn