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Dooley: Dialogue with Hart 'good'

Two days after another loss “that was hard to take,” Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley met with reporters to ... talk about the team he’s still coaching.

Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley

In other words, any rumors over the weekend that suggested Dooley would be fired on Monday seem to have been erroneous, and the coach and his players have put a 38-35 loss at 17th-ranked South Carolina behind them and are focusing on this weekend’s non-conference game against Troy in Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee (3-5, 0-5 SEC) will host the Trojans (4-4, 3-3 Sun Belt) on Saturday at noon Eastern time. The game will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net.

Dooley’s weekly Monday meeting with the media covered its usual array of topics — the previous game, the upcoming game, the Vols’ offense, defense and special teams, injuries and whatnot — but it also featured a few questions regarding the coach’s recent conversations with UT athletic director Dave Hart.

Yes, Dooley said, he and his boss speak frequently.

“He’s been (around),” the coach said. “We talk every week, more than once a week, and Dave’s been great. He’s been very professional. He obviously, you know, wants to know my take on where we are, what we’re doing well, what we’re not doing well and how we’re gonna fix it.”

Dooley was then asked what he’s told Hart when asked how he’s going to fix it.

“Well, a lot of what I told you (media) guys, you know?” Dooley said. “The dialogue’s good.”

Dooley, who came to Tennessee before the 2010 season after a stint as football coach and athletic director at Louisiana Tech, was asked how often he met with his coaches during their seasons when he ran the department.

UT athletic director Dave Hart

“I visited with the football coach every day, so probably more than most ADs,” he jokingly replied.

UT’s coach then gave a bit more serious answer, saying he met with his coaches as much as possible when he was an athletic director but that his dual role obviously made that a bit more difficult.

Generally speaking, though, Dooley insisted that he enjoys meeting with his boss at least once every week during the season and thinks it provides a healthy dialogue to keep people on the same page.

“I’m not a good model for, you know, the AD,” Dooley said. “When I was the AD at Tech, I was a little more of the coach who was just responsible (for all athletics). I think it’s important ... let me just say it this way: I think it’s important every week that you have dialogue with your boss when you’re in season. And it’s something that I’ve always wanted to go, whether we were winning or losing.

“And I think it’s important for the boss to have that kind of dialogue so you have a real, you know, pulse of what’s going on. It’s good, you know?”

Contact Wes Rucker at wrucker@247sports.com, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247

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