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I'm one of the last Dooley defenders on this board, and that is because I witnessed firsthand the last rebuilding at Tennessee back when Majors replaced Battle, and I know how tough a job it is. Frankly, it's a lot tougher now than it was in the '70s because we have three to five Top Ten teams in the SEC now, compared to one and maybe two back then. Our schedule not being Georgia's, we get to play all the best teams every year. It's tough as it gets in college football.
But to my main point: I honestly believe that to win in the SEC, you have to have a great senior class. Tennessee has never had a championship team, or even a near-championship team, that hasn't had a top-notch senior class. That's where you get your experience, your toughness, even your depth. Derek Dooley has never had a decent senior class. It has been well documented how crappy Fulmer's last recruiting class was, and how Kiffin's only recruiting class is AWOL, quit, transferred or thrown off the team.
What is passing for Dooley's senior class is a tiny group -- Teague, Waggner, Lathers, Bart, Thomas, Gooch, Zach Rogers, Bohannon and Fowlkes. That's it. They are only the senior contributors and there are only a couple of standouts in the bunch.
Dooley's top leaders are, for the most part, his juniors, the guys Kiffin recruited and he managed to hold onto in the 11th hour. I challenge any of you to find a "well coached team" that doesn't make a lot of mental errors, with as few senior contributors. Good teams have seniors. Tennessee doesn't have seniors.
I don't think his abilities as a coach can truly be judged until he at least has a decent sized senior class -- 20 or more guys -- out there. It's not an excuse -- it's a fact.
Well said, sir. +1
1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
How big was the senior class at USC last year? And what about this year?
How big is Ohio State's senior class this year?
How about Florida's senior class?
How about Florida State's senior class?
How about Notre Dame's senior class?
How in Halls would I know? If you are trying to make a point, state some facts, don't just ask questions.
Amen. Those of us who were here in 1977 know how tough this is and, as you said, it is much tougher now. My concern is cooler heads won't prevail. At some point, fairness and sanity should enter the equation. The last year has convinced me that our fans are more delusional than Georgia's-- and that is saying a lot.
By the way, the stat that drives all of us nuts is Dooley's record against ranked teams. I see it quoted so often, even by Tennessee fans, that I want to puke.
How about Georgia, whose sainted Mark Richt continues to average 10 wins a year with top 10 recruiting classes back as far as the eye can see?
Richt is 3-12 against ranked teams going back. to 2009. Two of those wins are against Georgia Tech, once when they were overranked in the Top Ten and another time 23rd. The other win was against middling Auburn team ranked in the 20s.
All it takes is one breakthrough win. Maybe, hopefully, it comes Saturday.
Rocky, This is a great and accurate thread/post. I was there when Johnny came on the field for the first time with the band playing 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again'. Every head in the stadium was filled with dreams of a National Championship...and it never came. In fact it took 7 long years before we were truly competitive, on a regular basis, with the best teams in the country. It was a monumental rebuilding job but I don't think it was as difficult as what Dooley faces. I don't know if Dooley will get the chance but regardless he will have a part in any success we have in the next few years. +1 and I wish it was more.
What you don't seem to understand is Richt has a HISTORY of winning. He's at least won an SEC Champ before. Dooley has never done anything... Now I'm with you, Richt sucks, he does less with having a lot, but that's why people don't have faith in Dooley he's never done it. Let's hope he can win a big game this weekend, its LONG overdue.
Delusional Tennessee fans? Get outta town! CPA, remember our little Finebaum based debate? Have I brought you around?
It's not just the seniors who are on the team but what they do for the guys coming up.
Agreed! Great post ATL!
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
You are not alone ATL. +1
"Old School"! A strong defense wins championships!
Drizz, what you don't understand is you have to have a chance to build a history of winning. When has Dooley had a good enough team to have a chance? He had nothing when we went to La Tech --- he got one team to a bowl and then was decimated by injuries his last year there. How could he build a history of winning in Knoxville with what he was left?
What kind of history of winning did Saban have at the same point in his career?
Winners don't appear overnight. They have to be given a chance. That's what you young guys don't undertand about rebuilding, which is the central point of this debate.
I admire your quest for success. I have it as well. But it requires PATIENCE. More, apparently, than most fans can muster these days.
You know we can argue this for days. I personally have seen enough to know the way this team plays, and the way Dooley recruits, we won't win a National Championship w/ him. That's all that matters to me. IMO it's time to move on. Let's hope Dooley can find a way to outcoach the ball coach this week because if he can't he's gone. Hart wants to put his stamp on the program
Just curious, no bashing or disagreeing, but do you really think middle if the SEC recruiting, which is where have been along with a coach that has never beaten a ranked team us going to get us back to championship level? That is the $5 million question. Not to mention UK and Arky are only going to get better when they hire new coaches...can't do worse and Auburn will no spare ant expense when they make a move.
You make Rocky's point for him. You've seen 21/2 years of rebuilding and that's enough for you to decide that he will never recruit well enough to win a National Championship. What do you think will happen to recruiting if he wins out or he goes 9-3 next year or the year after. You act as if it is a static endeavor which is Rocky's point about some on this board...give it to me now. I am not angry with you or any of the other guys on here who lack patience. I'm worried.
I want UT to beat South Carolina, win out and get to 9 wins so Dooley can get an extension and end this madness. That being said, when I read your posts, it sounds like you don't believe Dooley should have been expected to win a game against any SEC teams other than the bottom two or three teams in the league for a three or four year period. I'm not saying he had to win the East in the first three years, but it doesn't take a great senior class to pull one upset. Just one. I haven't checked but the senior class Harbaugh inherited at Stanford was probably far from great and certainly not as touted as USC's senior class, the one Harbaugh beat by one point as a 41 point dog in his first year. I haven't checked but I doubt Mullen had a great senior class when he beat GA and FL in 2010. Just three years ago Dooley got Neal to switch from MS State to UT less than a second after he got a commitable offer. Last year Autry signed with MS State over us. Who had the better Senior class 5-7 Arkansas or LSU in Petrino's first year upset victory?
If Dooley loses Saturday and wins out and Hart believes there's not a better coach out there who is also willing to take the job, then he probably should give Dooley an extension so he has four years left on his contract for recruiting purposes. However, if he believes that there's someone out there, anyone out there, more likely to take a team with less talent but enough for a superior coach to beat GA, AL, USCe, or FL, and willing to take the job, he should pursue the possibilities.
You know we will not win a NC with Dooley at coach, please tell me what the Powerball number will be Saturday. We all want to be back in contention for SEC Championships and a NC but as other have noted you have to have some patience. When at Mich St, Saban's first four years were 6-5-1. 6-6, 7-5, & 6-6 before he went 9-2 then left for LSU. Finally in the fourth year, he won a game he wasn't supposed to by upsetting OSU but still went 6-6 so Dooley seems to be following a similar path. Now, don't get me wrong in thinking I am saying he will end up like Saban but I don't think you KNOW how he will pan out here or wherever else he goes.
Recruiting goes hand in hand with your record.
I would challenge anyone to find a coach who has recuited better than Dooley with a losing record. If he can get it together and win 7 this year, it stands to reason he'll close a stronger class. That was the way it was with Majors -- as he began to build the reputation of winning, his recruiting got better.
Auburn ruined the model for championships. Thanks to them, everyone now seems to think they happen overnight. Without Cam Newton, it takes time to build champions.
If he wins out this year I'm for keeping Dooley, I've said that. 9-4 would be great, and I've said before it would be huge for recruiting... Next year we aren't going 9-3. We have 3 automatic losses already on the schedule and still have to play UGA and S.Carolina who aren't getting any worse.
Dooley is dead man walking as soon as you admit this to yourself the better you will feel about life.
I forgot you are clairvoyant.
My point exactly. You have to have a coach that can occasionally out-coach someone to compensate. Even with equal talent is CDD going to get it done against Richt, Spurrier, Mullen, Miles, Muschamp, Saban,etc.? What has he done this far to make us believe that?
Of course I don't know. And Dooley may not be the guy who gets us there. But how do we even find out unless we give him a decent chance to compete with a full roster of guys he recruited?
And how can we possibly hire the next guy if he sees we don't even have the patience to give the guy we had a fair shot at it?
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