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  • Tip of the hat to everyone for good discussion. Bottom line is we're all pulling for Dooley to take this program back to national prominence. We all approach the upcoming season with high hopes and high anxiety. We know what is possible, even probable, but we want to see on the field. A solid win against a talented ACC foe will get the ball rolling. The talent is there, the hard work is being performed during camp, and a very bright and fiery coaching staff suggests that the on field results will be positive this year. As diehard, Kool-aid drinking, Orange bleeding fans, let's be that way, too. Are you ready for Atlanta? One Voice----GO VOLS!

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  • Very nice post. +1

    I was a kid during those early Majors years, so my first memories of UT football are ones where we are overmatched and struggling. I think it's important to remember that in Dooley's first year, he started at times 4 true Freshmen on the offensive line because that's all he had. He started DEs at DT because that's all he had. He started a walk on at MLB, granted a tough-as-nails VFL walk on, but a walk on nonetheless. I could go on, but I think we can all agree that inexperience and lack of depth are recipes for disaster in the SEC. With all this in mind, 11 wins is probably not a surprise (although the 12th one that got away in Lexington still eats at me).

    I hope CDD succeeds and is here for a long time. I don't know if he will be, but I do know the almost certain way to insure we stay among the also-rans in the SEC is to make another coaching change too soon. Two years ago we were basically a high school team trying to compete with the NFL-ready grown men in the SEC. Let's see what happens now that we're grown up. I think 7 or 8 wins would be good progress considering where we've been.

  • Six national titleists from the SEC in six years means you have to play the toughest teams in the nation every year, for eight of your 12 games. Need I remind you that we played the No. 1, 2, and 3 teams in the country last year, and that didn't include USC or Georgia, which won the East? The teams in our league recruit better athletes than any other conference. Most of the state universities with whom we compete have much better in-state talent. To think it's easy to turn around an SEC program that slipped as low as ours in three years is irrational.

    Yes, we should be able to win 8 games this year. But what happens if Bray, Hunter and Rogers all go pro? Have we built enough to be confident we can maintain what we've already built?

    Everyone seems to think that Dooley wins 8 or he's gone. I'd be appalled if that happened. We could very easily be back in the same mess we were in in 2010. It seems to be the common feeling that another coach could take what Dooley has built and take us to the next level. I don't buy that. What if players bolt like they did when Fulmer was fired? How do we know we won't get another coach who is just waiting for his dream job, like Kiffin? What if we hire the hot coach of the day and he's another Muschamp? No thanks!

    This coach has recruited far better with a losing record than almost any of us expected. He and his staff have recruited quality kids who have represented the university well. I have no problem with his X's and O's -- he has called good games and for the most part has done the best he could do with what he was dealt. The only game he has lost that he should have won was Kentucky, and we have dissected that in great detail. A young team a bit too full of itself after beating powerful Vanderbilt lol showed up not ready to play. I saw that happen multiple times under Dickey, Battle, Majors and Fulmer, so it is not unique to Dooley.

    I like this guy and he deserves at least four years. He deserves a chance to have four classes of players he recruited on the field.

    Fire him and everybody says, "Tennessee has had four coaches in five years. They are not stable and they will never be." Recruit against that. Who wants to commit to a coach who probably won't be there at the end of your four years because an impatient fan base will run him off?

    Go Dooley, GBO!

    This post was edited by RockytopATL 20 months ago

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  • Can't believe we still have to wait more than 2 weeks!

  • A +1 is simply inadequate for this post. A+, Gold Star, clap, flex, bow, rockon, toot, and a big ol' thumbsup

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  • Thank you, ONC. That is much appreciated.

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  • No one said it was "easy", and it's not "irrational" to expect a decent level of performance. We're still Tennessee. You can't make excuses forever and lower the bar of what's acceptable. We have a stud QB and multiple stud receivers and more depth we've had in a few years. Now is the time for some results.

    We're in the SEC. We don't have the best in-state talent. We need to deal with it. It's always been a tough conference, and sure, it's had the best of the best lately. We can't lower our standards because Bama et al have been elite lately (I'm not even sure whether top-to-bottom, the SEC is better than it's ever been or anything). We need to win some winnable games. And as I said before, no one is saying we need to beat the Bama's of the world this year. Yes, everyone remembers we played Bama, LSU and Arkansas in a row - did anyone say we expected to win those games? No. Is it reasonable to expect the team to be more competitive in those sorts of games this year? Is it reasonable to expect to beat teams like NC State this year? Absolutely 100% a thousand times yes.

    The expectation for most is 8+ wins this year. If that doesn't happen (barring injuries etc), it's pretty rational IMO to question whether Dooley is the right coach for the job at that point. I guaraneffingtee you that Hart will be asking himself that same question. At that point, Dooley would have proven close to nothing on the field in his career. Some decent recruiting given the situation? Sure. Also, way too much coaching turnover and other signs of an inexperienced but potentially talented young coach.

    On the 2nd point, we're certainly vulnerable if Bray/Hunter go pro after this season. I think that's a reason why the focus is so high right now - THIS is the year to beat Florida. I think that risk heightens the pressure on making the decision on Dooley after this year - move on or commit long term. 2013 may not set up as well for us. If we only win say 7 games this year, and Bray and Hunter leave're basically going all in on Dooley until 2014 at that point, because 2013 could be 6 or 7 wins. I don't think Hart wants to be in that box.

    Is 3 years potentially unfair to Dooley given the situation he inherited? Absolutely. But there is too much pressure and money riding on the football program rebounding to let disappointing results go unaddressed for long.

    This post was edited by tallbrad 20 months ago

  • Outstanding 1st post. welcome Agree +1

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  • Would you rather have this situation with a new hire like Kirby Smart (or pick your favorite young HC candidate) out on the recruiting trail, pitching a new vision and a return to glory, or Dooley coming off a disappointing (to many, at least) 7 win season and a lukewarm vote of confidence from Hart and the administration?

    It would be a good debate, but I'd probably pick door #1.

  • Look at the improvements in program in last 8 months-

    Coaching staff - seemingly improved. O-line and D-Coordinater for sure.

    Qbs- Bray, Worley and Peterman - improved
    RB - + Q Watson - improved
    O-line - ??? Same unit. We will see
    Receivers - vastly improved in quality and depth with Patterson and performing freshman
    Dline - improved with McCullers, Sentimore
    LB's - same??? Not sure yet
    Secondary - improved with McNeill and kids
    Kicking - not sure

    These improvements all occurred after one of most miserable losses at KY in my 42 years of fandom. I just think expectations are climbing for us to be world beaters in Sept and we have a new scheme defensively and new contributors all over the field. No excuses, just reality.

    I know we are heading north boys and I am just imploring a little more patience.....

  • Yep, there are certainly lots of improvements on paper. Just believe the patience you seek will be very elusive if we lose to both Florida and NC State.

    Enjoyed all the discussion.

  • Me too on the discussion.

    I hope this is a moot point as we roll through Sept. we will know a more in 15 days.....

  • I've been following SEC football for nearly half a century and I covered SEC games for an international wire service for eight years, and I AM sure. The SEC has never been stronger, top to bottom, than it is, right now.

    Man, Vanderbilt went to a bowl game last year. Vanderbilt! Need I say more?

    As for your other post, you can keep your Kirby Smart. I'll take Derek Dooley. He's SEC battle hardened and he's also my coach. We already have an Former Red Elephant at AD and DC. That's enough for me.

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  • Love this board where we can discuss without personal attacks and vitriol.....

    GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!

  • Yeah, I don't know. Maybe. Feels a little more top heavy. UT down, Florida down, Auburn up and down, Georgia talented but disappointing, Ole Miss in the dumps. USCe and Arkansas up. Vandy is way up, but not up enough to be relevant for this discussion IMO - we should always beat them. If the discussion ever becomes, can we beat Vandy or can we out-recruit Vandy - I'm out!

    I'll take Dooley once he's proven he can get it done. It's a "prove it" business. If he doesn't prove it, it's onto the next one. Can't accept mediocrity for long.

  • Yeah, hate that mediocrity. Like that slacker, Nick Saban.

    You don't think Majors in the '70s applies, so let's go all the way back to 1995.

    Nick Saban, the veteran of one year of head coaching at mighty Toledo, is hired by Michigan State University. He goes 6-5-1 that first year. Damn mediocre. Better improve or he's gone. He goes 6-6. That's awful. Better win 8 or he has to go.

    Oh no, he only went 7-5 in year three. You'd fire him, right? Me, I'm a little more patient. I'd give him another year. Something about the guy. Opps, just 6-6 in year four. You can't believe I'm so stupid, right, accepting such mediocrity?

    Being the total dumbass that I am, I still don't fire Saban, and in 1999, the bamboo he has patiently been growing with his own recruiting classes explodes. They go 9-2, beating Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. Sadly, I lose him to LSU and he proceeds to win three national championships for two teams in the next 12 years plus taking a bad trip to the NFL along the way.

    The lesson here is that even Nick Saban wasn't a big winner after three years. Not even after four. It takes a while for the bamboo to grow, and when you have a feeling about the bamboo farmer, you stick with him.

    I'm sticking with the bamboo farmer we have until I no longer have the feeling he's the guy. And his win loss record in year three, unless its gawdawful, isn't going to change my mind.

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  • Could throw Bellichick in there too. He "failed" with the Browns. Could also throw hundreds of other examples where a coach couldn't get it done in the first 3-4 years and never got it done.

    To me, this is the "every short Qb could be the next Drew Brees" argument. It's certainly possible, but I'd say unlikely if we win fewer than 8 wins this year. You're more than welcome to think Dooley could be the next Saban. Personally, I haven't seen it. Yet. But I do appreciate the condescending tone.

  • Personally, I've enjoyed the discussion, and there was no condescending tone. I prefer professorial, because I'm trying my best to show you something because I've been there and I've seen it.

    As for Belichek and his ilk, you can turn an NFL team around in a year or two. That doesn't work in college. Every now and then there is a lightning strikes moment based around a player like Cam Newton, but to turn around a college program, you need to make up your mind who you want coaching, and then support them to the hilt.

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  • I agree here. Coaching in the NFL is a total different animal vs what you see in college. NFL coaches have to work with GMs and owners to get their players. Sometimes they don't always agree.... The system is way different.

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    Go Vols

  • Condescending, professorial, call it whatever you want. I've enjoyed discussing the most important question, at least for the next 15 days or so, about Tennessee football.

    I don't disagree with you on this point, "you need to make up your mind who you want coaching, and then support them to the hilt." But you absolutely have to have hired the right person, or at least the best person available, in the first place. Otherwise, you're just making things worse in the long run. That's what I've "been there and seen", maybe not in SEC football teams, but in plenty of businesses. If the CEO or head coach isn't the right guy, the sooner you make a move, the better. The competition isn't sitting still. Employees (asst coaches?) are looking for better opportunities. The product suffers. Etc etc.

    The other interesting point here is that Hart isn't the guy who hired Dooley in the first place. I think that creates a different dynamic. You guys disagreed with the NFL example (which I fully understand), but here's another - the Bears had a hard time hiring a GM this offseason (sorry, I live in Chicago). Why? Because they told every candidate that Lovie was the head coach no matter for 2012. Who wants to take on a senior role, one where they'll be judged by the ultimate results on the field, and not have authority over everything that they can typically control that goes into results on the field? My gut says that Hart won't hesitate to make a move if he's not as convinced as you are at the end of the season.

  • You may very well be right. None of us knows what lurks in the heart of Hart (hey, I like that!)

    Here's my line on that. Hart watched Saban at work. Saban is clearly the best coach in college football today. He knows Dooley schooled under Saban. He has modeled his entire system after Saban's. Hart could not find a coach more like Saban than Dooley.

    You may cite Smart again, but Dooley now has years of head coaching experience that Smart lacks.

    Coaches can't win games. The players do that. All the coaches can do is recruit the best players they can, coach them up with all their ability, and then gameplan and call the best games they know how. i personally think Dooley has done this quite well. I've loved his gutsy calls, including the onside kicks, the fakes, the fourth down calls. Replace our kicker with one more reliable -- just that one mulligan -- and we wouldn't be having this debate, IMO.

    I feel strongly that all this hot seat talk -- from our own fans on our message boards and elsewhere -- weakens our program in the eyes of recruits. That's what I mean by supporting our coach to the hilt. Let our opponents say Dooley is on a hot seat, not us. We're supposed to be on his side.

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  • It's easy to try and copy a model (in this case, the cliche "Process"), but not everyone can pull it off. It still requires leadership skills etc. I have no idea whether Smart is better on those traits or not, but for likely a multitude of reasons, Hart hasn't exactly gone out on a limb and supported Dooley beyond the token comment or two. If you want to talk "supporting the coach to the hilt", start there.

    We're not going back to the old days, when there weren't message boards, and twitter, and facebook, when every idiot fan can make an entire fan base look bad. People here are pretty reasonable and rational, and personally, I have no interest in worrying about whether a discussion might be interpreted by a recruit one way or another. I think we can all enjoy an objective discussion and not have to look at everything through orange-colored glasses. Sure, the debate can spiral to the lowest common denominator in some venues, but winning will solve a lot of problems.

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