Cutcliffe/Notre Dame connection - Off Topic - Domer Domain Jump to content

Cutcliffe/Notre Dame connection

Guest SirJohn

Recommended Posts

Guest SirJohn



Cutcliffe begins new era


New Vols coordinator plans to run tight ship



Staff Writer



KNOXVILLE — David Cutcliffe didn't waste any time yesterday diving back into his encore as Tennessee's offensive coordinator.


He met with the offensive players just prior to his press conference and delivered a very concise message.


His way or the highway.


"I'm still hard-headed," Cutcliffe said. "I'm probably more intense about (attention to detail) as I get older because I understand the importance of it even more. I guess they say all of us lose a little patience as we get a little older.


"I'm excited. I hope we can all make it fun, but they're going to do it the way we want them to do it. It's as simple as that."


Cutcliffe, 51, spent 17 years on Tennessee's staff before taking the head coaching job at Mississippi at the end of the 1998 season.


Counting bowl games, the Vols averaged more than 30 points a game all six seasons Cutcliffe was offensive coordinator during his first tour from 1993-98.


They led the SEC in total offense twice during that time, were the rushing leader three times and never finished worse than fifth in scoring offense.


But Cutcliffe returns to find a Tennessee offense that unraveled this season. The Vols averaged 18.6 points per game, their lowest output since 1974.


"You look at the top teams, and they're going to run the football and they're going to take care of the football," Coach Phillip Fulmer said. "That's what we want to be able to do, as well as be balanced enough.


"We spent a lot of time and effort, it seems like in the last bit, protecting for 6-yard throws and those kind of things. I want to be a team — and David shares this philosophy — that gets the ball down the field. Your goal is to score 30 points a game. If we score 30 points this year, we're 10-1."


Cutcliffe signed a two-year contract, and his total package is worth $300,000 annually. His base salary is $275,000 with a $25,000 stipend for media and apparel.


Fulmer made it clear that it would be Cutcliffe's offense, although Fulmer said he didn't meddle nearly as much as some have suggested when Randy Sanders was calling the shots on offense.


"I'm not a dictator over the offense," Fulmer said. "David will be able to run what he wants to. Certainly, I will have some input along the way."


Cutcliffe, who was 44-29 in six seasons at Ole Miss, said his system has changed some since the first time he was at Tennessee.


More than anything, Cutcliffe said it has grown. He worked with a new staff at Ole Miss and also spent some time with Charlie Weis at Notre Dame before resigning in June following his heart bypass surgery.


"Adjustments have been made through time," Cutcliffe said. "It grows in different directions, but philosophies remain the same.


"You learn a lot just sitting out, too. I've had a lot of time to watch tape. The short time with Coach Weis at Notre Dame was beneficial, so you're constantly growing and learning, and that's a fun process."


The passing game under Cutcliffe will probably look the most different to Tennessee fans.


"There's a good bit of difference in the passing game, just because it tends to change with individuals," Cutcliffe said. "We started in this offense basically in 1982, and it changed. Some of the pass routes, I guess, are still there."


One of Cutcliffe's most pressing challenges will be getting quarterback Erik Ainge back up to speed after a rocky sophomore season.


The Vols also have redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton waiting in the wings, although he is coming off shoulder surgery.


Developing quarterbacks has been Cutcliffe's specialty. He's tutored the likes of Peyton and Eli Manning, Tee Martin, Heath Shuler and Andy Kelly.


"Quarterbacks are like any other position," Cutcliffe said. "If you're not sound fundamentally, then a lot of things have potential of going wrong. We're going to start back from scratch. We're going to work with a lot of intensity."


The Vols won't have any practice time until the spring, but Cutcliffe will be able to meet periodically with both Ainge and Crompton.


"You build quarterbacks from the neck up and the neck down," Cutcliffe said. "We'll be first working from the neck up, getting the thinking and the decision-making straight with all the quarterbacks."


Cutcliffe did several talk shows in the Knoxville area this season and kept tabs on his former team.


"I know there's a lot of work to be done," Cutcliffe said.


"A lot of it is more than just ability. It's attitude as well." •

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...