On Friday, Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer joined Russell Smith and Trey Wallace of The Drive on Fanrun Radio as Tennessee football kicked off fall camp.
Fulmer talked about his excitement for camp as the start of football season is nearly four weeks away, year two of the Jeremy Pruitt era, the effort to begin alcohol sales at Tennessee athletic events and more.
On the start of fall camp
“It’s always a special time of the year and this year is particularly exciting because I think we’ve made some good progress with our football team, our coaches done well in recruiting, and there’s just a lot to look forward to with this team.”
On Pruitt’s growth as a head coach
“I’ve seen Jeremy grow, certainly, from his management style with people, I’ve seen, obviously, maturity and maybe just kind of slowing down and looking at things a little bit better, whether it be recruiting or hiring, which he’s done a great job with that with the additions to this staff. . .so it’s been a good process for him, for sure.”
Comparing this offseason to last
“Honestly (the differences) is like night and day. . .this year’s so much better, the kids know what to expect from practice and what to expect from coach Pruitt and their staff, and they know the schemes better and everybody knows each other’s first name.”
“Well, one of the first strengths is, one, you’ve got an awful lot of maturity and experience on that staff, proven experience in the Southeastern Conference and that makes a huge difference.”
“Physically, we look different. There’s been an influx of some new players that will add to the competition for positions, and that’s obviously not unique to us, everybody has the same thing, but it definitely impacted our team as much or more than most teams in the league.”
On transfers in college football
“That’s a hot-button, it gets very frustrating and back when I was coaching it got very frustrating when you couldn’t get an answer back quick enough — so there is a level of frustration. I go back-and-forth a little bit or I see both sides of the (NCAA Transfer) Portal and all those kinds of things.”
“I think one side of it is we’ve made it way too easy for a kid not to fight through circumstances, whatever they might be. If it’s just playing time or if it’s a player-coach relationship, you’d like to seem them have to fight through those things and see if they can make it work and, honestly, more times than not it does.”
“The other side of that, if the young man’s not happy and it’s not working for him and you look at it and you say ‘maybe this is a good thing for him/her to find a place that they feel better at.'”
On the sale of alcohol at athletic events
“I would tell you that we are taking a very deliberate approach to make sure that we do this the right way the first time to the very best of our abilities. Aramark is our vendor and they’re the pro in this, they do it at other places and other stadiums and they will guide us, and we’re not going to get off that path.”
To listen to The Drive’s full interview with Fulmer, listen HERE:
The Drive airs weekdays from 3-6 on FOX Sports Knoxville, WKGN-AM 1340 and FM 105.7.