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(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Half a dozen players ran into trouble with John Law. The hometown columnist called for the head coach to be fired. Nearly the entire offensive staff bolted town … for Duke.
All this after winning 10 games, claiming the Southeastern Conference East Division title and giving LSU all it could handle in the SEC Championship.
It seems that even in good times, turmoil continues to swirl around the Tennessee football program.
Even before the final whistle blew in Tennessee's victory over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, Phillip Fulmer knew that tough work lay ahead. Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe had accepted the head-coaching job at Duke, and took two UT assistants with him. Receivers coach Trooper Taylor also was on the way out, having accepted a job as co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.
On top of that, the Vols faced personnel challenges with the departure of long-time starting quarterback Erik Ainge and linebacker Jerod Mayo, leading tackler and soon-to-be NFL millionaire.
Slowly but surely, Fulmer hired a new offensive staff -- and did so by going in a different direction. Enter Dave Clawson, formerly the Richmond head coach, as the first offensive coordinator hired from outside the Tennessee program during Fulmer's tenure.