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I'm really proud of the progress our team has made since last year.
We had a makshift backfield against MSU and still ran the ball for 213 yards. Our OL was mauling folks and at least 3 will be back for next year. Behind them, we have a good looking group of underclassmen. I can't help but get excited about what our offense might be like if we sign Derrick Green. Pig Howard is going to be a great player for us and Watson is too but we need a bruiser. We have the talent behind Bray to be productive at QB after he leaves. Between Worley, Petterman, and Ferguson (assuming he signs).. we will have a good QB. Pig is going to be a GREAT slot WR/RB. He will give DCs nightmares. You can't replace Hunter and Patterson, but our coaches have addressed our need at the position by getting commitments from Camion Patrick and Paul Harris. Blanc, Bowles, Carter, and Pig should a reliable group of WRs and we'll also have a matchup nightmare at TE with Croom. I can see Pig, Blanc, and Croom being excellent chain-movers in the passing game. Plus, let's not forget that Neal will be back next year.. so even if we don't sign Green, we'll be ok.
The defense has struggled at times but let's look at the most recent game.. The 1st half was bad, I'm not going to sugar-coat it but we made good adjustments at halftime and were GREAT in the 2nd half. MSU only had 4 yards in the 3rd quarter! Things didn't go our way in the 4th, but the players didn't execute well. Dropped int by Moore on the first MSU possession could've been a pick-6 and the difference in a W & L. Von Bell, where you at? Fumble by Devrin set MSU up on our 30 for their 2nd drive TD, another game-changing play that didn't go our way. On MSU's last drive our players just continually got beat. Lathers missed an easy tackle that would've set up 3rd and long. Bumphis beat Brewer on the next series and Bumphis beat Teague on the series after that. By that point, the game was over. MSU did a great job of moving Bumphis around to create matchup problems, cudos to them... but as a whole our D played great in the 2nd half, only gave up 14 points with 7 coming off a turnover and short field. I'm encouraged by that.
I think Tennessee is a well-coached team and a very motivated team. We all knew there would be growing pains on defense, but Sal has proven that he's a guy who will make good mid-game adjustments which is crucial. He's also shown us that, when ran properly, his defense is capable of stopping a good offense despite having subpar talent at key positions.
Dooley is a good head coach. I can't give him more credit than than until we win some significant games but it's obvious that he has made some great staff decisions, signed some great players, and has UT headed in the right direction. That being said, this signing class is critical. They all are when you're trying to build an elite program in the SEC. If Dooley wants to secure his legacy at UT, he will have so sign more difference makers than we currently have committed. We need Derrick Green, we need Von Bell, we need Carl Lawson, and we need Jalen Ramsey. If Dooley can somehow sign those players, there will be no doubt in my mind that he is the man who will lead us back to the SEC Championship.
good post +1
I think we need Rumph, Green, a couple CBs and probably North or another top WR for me too feel real good about all you said next year. Patrick won't be here IMO and both WR + Rogers leaving is going to deplete our receiving core pretty good .
Totally agree. If you look at the players Dooley and Co. has recruited so far, the majority of them are impact players. Obviously, the ultimate measuring stick is wins, and wins against ranked programs at that. We live in this world of immediate satisfaction that in a lot of cases isn't realistic. College football is one of them, especially considering the state of our program 3 years ago, and how the competition in our league has changed over the past decade. Dooley has grown as a coach since being here, and so has the program. Making any sort of change at this juncture would be detrimental.
Like most of us, I was spoiled by the 90s teams when our most formidable opponent was FL. The entire SEC West I remember being terrible in the late 90s.
Hell, I was probably like most of you who said this year should be the measuring stick for Dooley. Maybe I was mistaken, maybe we were all mistaken. The program is headed in the right direction, we just need to have some patience.
Great post OP. Only thing I don't like about the team so far is the defense appearing not to progress. It seems stagnant. I'm loving the offense and the special teams progression though. This year doesn't seem to be "the" year, but it's very obvious we have improved. I share the excitement.
I don't know if Dooley is a good head coach or not because I am too emotionally invested. I do know that almost every single outside observer that I talked to said they thought Tennessee had a better team than Mississippi State but was flat out-coached. So I don't know what to think.
I believe we are headed in the right direction and that Dooley deserves 1 more season. Bt I think Hart needs to come out and say that he is his coach for another year, or the media, rabid fans and twitter posts will run off the necessary recruits that we need to see the ship take off.....Wes said this the other day and I totally agree. Hart remaining silent is not helping.
You can't come out and say that. What if we lose these 2 and then to Vandy then what. You can't come out and say he will be here next year, unless you're just lieing. Rabid fans and twitter posts don't run off recruits wins and losses do. People just love making up excuses for Dooley it's unreal. Why don't you look at Auburns board, they make us look like Saints, and where are they on the recruiting rankings 7th!
In this league you either need to win to recruit well or have good salesman. We don't have either which is why we are where we are.
And I'm sorry for getting off topic but I'd be exicted for the future if we won 1 of these next 2. That's all it takes is one big win.
This post was edited by hdrizzle21 18 months ago
OR.. give the man his money.
Auburn's recruiting will take a huge hit within a month imo. With the whole Chizik hot seat talk and whatever is going on Trooper, it will change drastically. Rubeun Foster just came out and said he's taking 2 visits and of course Lawson is now visiting other schools.
Yup. Good post tho Volfan28, I just have a hard time getting excited going 7-5 because this of-season will be miserable again.
It will depend on Trooper. He stays, the class will stay. He goes, that class goes into flames. Hopefully it's the ladder!
Agree and agree!
I understand completely. Just trying to focus on the progress that's been made. My hope is that it will add years to my life.
Wow 2 things you don't get with most vol fans:
Faith in doolander
Says The Wizard of Oz!
Great post, volfan. +1
Progress has been made. Rebuilding at this level -- from as low as it was to how high it needs to be -- takes time and patience.
I would love to see Trooper back at Tennessee i think he is one of the most underated recruiters and sideline motivators in the country.
Are you joking? I honestly can't tell...
Anyway, I think it's one of those things where I don't see the urgency for a change. I think we of all people should know the negatives that can accompany one. I personally think he gets until next year anyway (unless we absolutely fall apart in November, I guess). A coaching change is not a guarantee of improvement no matter what anyone says and everyone knows the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I would have no opposition if we could land a "big name" guy with a great staff but I just think that is a lot harder than some are willing to admit. Also just think the timetable works out much better for next year if we don't see much improvement due to the current roster and buyouts.
I'm not opposed to hiring a new coach. I am opposed to getting rid of a pretty decent coach that is a good recruiter and has shown improvement just to take a gamble on someone else.
I think you misunderstood my post. I should have clarified myself better. I would love to see Trooper come back as an assistant coach not as the head coach. Im still behind CDD for the rest of this year and next year.
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