Fulmer, Cutcliffe and UT’s offensive coaching staff also deserve plenty of credit. That type of access to Tennessee’s offense would have been rather uninspiring before the 1998 season. Just to see him fight through that, push through it and not complain and just do it, whatever it takes to make it through. Turns out, that conversation was all for naught thanks to Billy Ratliff. They were winning the whole game, really. The Vols’ defense made sure of that. … They were selfless and hard workers.”. I think about it all the time. I challenged Leonard. With a team built on speed instead of size, Chavis used an aggressive scheme to consistently pressure opposing offenses. After all, UT was replacing eight NFL Draft picks, including Manning and two other first-rounders. The Vols clinched their second consecutive SEC East Division title with a win in Nashville. “It was one of those games where we always thought we were going to win,” Ratliff said. UT trailed Cuse 33-31 late in the game. He’s not going give up. WR Peerless Price had two touchdown receptions. He openly challenged his team during UT’s annual preseason senior meeting. 5. By choosing UT over Notre Dame and Auburn, Martin would be playing for a bona fide winning program with some of the best tradition in the nation. Now the Vols could do more on offense and the biggest stage was yet to come. That’s the way we felt. … What he said, everybody stopped to listen because all you had seen is that guy work his butt off. The Vols also held the Gators to −13 net rushing on 30 attempts. Skip To Main Content . UT didn’t need a key pass interference call, a rash of opposing turnovers or a goal line stand to beat Bama, South Carolina and UAB. “We had no clue what was dividing people so we had to get outside our bubble,” Leaverton said. The Vols hammered the Bulldogs 22-3 in Athens to get to 5-0. Kentucky QB Tim Couch passed for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Kentucky never threatened after the 1st quarter. The journey started much earlier. Travis Stephens rushed for 107 yards and Travis Henry ran for 53 yards as UT beat Georgia 22-3 in Athens. With 420 square feet, calling it cramped would be an understatement. Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. The key play of the game and possibly the season occurred in the 4th quarter. Dwayne Goodrich didn’t speak to any teammates during his jail stay: I expected Goodrich, UT’s standout defensive back, to tell me that his teammates helped him get through his 8-year jail sentence. He’s the head coach at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. 3. UT trailed Syracuse 33-31 late in the game. She was wrong on both accounts. I think he believed it.”, Said Fulmer, “That meeting, I remember, was about leadership. DT: Jeff Coleman 1998: Coleman was one of a handful of defensive tackles that stayed fresh by rotating in throughout UT’s 1998 championship run. That 1998 team could run power. The Vols were trailing Auburn 20-10 at halftime of the SEC Championship Game in 1997 when Wilson decided, despite the fact that he was a junior, he needed to step up. I had frustrating moments during that year where I knew I could do more, but I wasn’t getting the opportunity to do more.”. This is a team you’ve got to make into what it’s going to be. One of the things Tee did very well was throw the deep ball.”. The entire philosophy of the offense that had thrived for 3-plus years under Peyton Manning had to be reworked. Tennessee entered their 3rd game in the 1998 SEC season as underdogs. It was the offense’s turn after Ratliff proved prophetic. Peerless Price added 181 yards receiving and a touchdown. Peyton Manning had departed for the NFL and the reins were handed to a junior from Mobile named Tee Martin. This was the second game winning kick of Hall's career (Georgia 1995). They had some damn good football players over there. Let’s start with the positives. Assistant Head Coach “I thought (defensive coordinator) John Chavis did a really good job of positioning the talent on our defense to be successful for his scheme. He returned to Texas to enter the private sector and start a family. “I think the fans and the coaching staff probably didn’t expect what we were able to accomplish that year.”. We had something to prove. The second ranked Seminoles were favored and boasted superstar WR Peter Warrick. Fourteen in the Fourth: Tennessee’s SEC and National Championship hopes were on the ropes in Atlanta. Martin was considered for at least two coaching positions in which he could have returned to UT, but the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement. 7. “Being a leader, I had to stay in tune to the football game, so when the defense is on the field, I was looking at the opposing offense, looking at formations, looking at motions and trying to figure this is what they’re trying to do to us,” Wilson said. After: Ellis went to the New York Jets with the 12th overall pick in 2000. We’ll let the chips fall where they may, but we’ve got to go out and play better football in the second half. White, who was known as a tough, hard-hitting safety, had no desire to tangle with Wilson. That could have drastically changed the course of the game. Cooper comes out and I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to make this kick and we’re going to into a second overtime. The Vols also lost cornerback Terry Fair and receiver Marcus Nash, who also went in the first round. 10. Team leaders would go to UT’s coaches and tell them who wasn’t practicing hard. However, Martin proved he could do more in UT’s seventh game against South Carolina.
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