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Q&A with Fulmer before Mississippi State game


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Interview with Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer before Mississippi State game.

Q: How can three of the next four games at home help the Vols gain momentum for the season’s second half?

A: "Certainly we need some momentum. We need our crowd into it, we need familiar territory -- both of those would help greatly. I think our young quarterback having that support would help him tremendously. Hopefully, we’ll give them plenty to cheer about along the way.”

Q: Did you foresee the superb play of Ellix Wilson, who currently leads the SEC in tackles per game?

A: "I did. I though Ellix had just an unbelievable spring. He’s done and great job and Coach Chavis has done a great job with him. He’s taken charge of this defensive football team, especially, but also become one of the leaders on our team. I could feel that coming. So much of what we do is around our middle linebacker being in position to make plays, just like Jerod Mayo did last year."

Q: Safety Eric Berry broke another UT record Saturday, this one for career interception return yards. Are you continually amazed by his accomplishments?

A: "I am amazed that he has accomplished so much in such a short time. Not that he has accomplished what he has, but just in a short time. The guy has started every game since he’s been here, he’s a great practice player, and he’s a great student of the game and student from an academic standpoint. He’s just been a wonderful example of what you enjoy about college football and that’s coaching young men like Eric Berry."

Q: How would you critique the play of quarterback Nick Stephens in his first SEC road start?

A: "I thought OK. I thought he managed the game well, the noise didn’t seem to bother him, and he kept us in the game and didn’t make any huge mistakes along the way. I just think he’s going to continue to get better and better with experience and playing time."

Q: How does Mississippi State’s win over Vanderbilt give the Bulldogs added momentum coming into this Saturday’s game at Neyland Stadium?

A: "Any time you play well and beat a ranked team, that’s a positive. Vanderbilt was on a real roll, and to hold any offensive football team to 107 total yards is quite an accomplishment. And they’ve got their big back (Anthony Dixon) running hard again and we dealt with that last year. We know he’s a good player. They’ve got some momentum and we’ve got to take it away from them. We’ve got to get a big win at Neyland Stadium this week."

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