A look back in history at Vols rough season openers


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – There’s fear and disappointment across Orange and White Nation with the Vols losing their first two games.

RELATED: Tennessee-BYU Vols’ Jeremy Pruitt on the 29-26 double-overtime loss to BYU

We’ve heard fans saying it’s the worst start they’ve seen in a long time, but how does it stack up against the Vols history books?

Tennessee has had starts like we’re seeing now. The most famous and last time the Vols started 0 and 2 was in 1988.

“That would give people reason for optimism because in the middle of the year the Head Coach, Johnny Majors, changed some of his staff around and that team finished by winning the last five. They went on to an SEC championship the next year. The problem is there was tons of talent on the team, lots of guys being red-shirted and you knew that the future looked better. Tennessee fans now don’t have that assurance. They don’t know what’s coming next,” said John Pennington, host of The Sports Source.

Compare it to another season, it was rough in 2008 which was Phil Fulmer’s final year.

RELATED: Vol fans question Coach Pruitt on future of football season

“Everyone thought that Tennessee with a new Offensive Coordinator was going to be exciting on offense, instead they go to UCLA and they can’t throw a ball and it looked terrible. It was the beginning of the end for Phil Fulmer. It was his second losing season in four years,” said Pennington.

RELATED: Pruitt: No question who Vols’ best QB is

He says what’s different now about this season versus ’88 and ’08 is that Vols fans have gone bad break, after bad break and fans are skittish.

“Jeremy Pruitt inherited a mess. I don’t like what I’m seeing so far. There are legitimate concerns. Does that mean I think he should go? Absolutely not. I think that would be the worst-case scenario for Tennessee and I don’t know who would come here. But I also haven’t seen enough. I’m gauging him on 14 games, that’s all he’s been a Head Coach for. If I were to say ‘Move on,’ who knows what could develop once he gets more of his talent in here.”

Pennington adding that Vols fans need to be patient this season and let the team grow.

The Vols take on the Chattanooga ‘Mocs’ this Saturday at home with kick-off at noon. Pennington says this is the last tune-up game before Florida and a tough SEC stretch.

“They’ve got to put this team away early, which would help confidence, then get some more backups in for experience, including the quarterback,” said Pennington.

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