While the Beacon's editorial page has been traditionally used to address
issues which ascend above the level of college football, a particular
debate over the best quarterback remaining on the Volunteer roster has
gained so much attention, it seemed suitable to address the question in a
place outside the sports pages.

In a battle of arm-chair quarterbacks and Sunday-morning coaches, the folks
in this area could certainly hold their own against any in the nation.
Local radio call-in shows have been the arena for much debate in the Peyton
Manning- Branndon Stewart controversy, and Vol fans seem to thrive on
second-guessing the decisions of Coach Fulmer and his staff. Following
Saturday's game, fans spend the next six days questioning calls that the
coaches have about six seconds to make.

This is certainly not a new phenomenon in this area. Many families boast
lineages of Sunday-morning coaches that rival the Shulas and the Bowdens in
the real coach arena. But, the current debate addresses the quarterback
issue.

Obviously, Coach Fulmer has some basis for choosing Manning as the starter.
He watches each of them practice daily and has a much greater idea of
each's talent and progress than those who see a few hours each week could
possibly have. Both are great talents and both will most likely be
outstanding college quarterbacks, but as for now, Peyton is the man. Vol
football fans need to come together to support the team rather than divide
and criticize. Why should it matter who's the quarterback ? He's simply one
of eleven guys working towards a common goal.

Regardless of who is the quarterback, controversy over the football team
will continue, and fans will always question the play calling of the
coaches. Vol fans seem to think these two freshmen can step in and
instantly become the next Heath Shuler. These two eighteen-year-olds don't
even have experience with the telephone registration system, much less a
pro-set style offense. With 1,500 pounds of beef across the front five and
two well-experienced tail backs, it's no wonder the Vols tend to depend on
the running game. The running game has been the bread and butter this year
and no one seems to complain when they finish on top at the final gun.