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Today has been one of the most disappointing signing days I've ever experienced, if not the most. (2008 was pretty bad, but man...) When I take a look at what might have been with this class, it really makes me cringe. (Lawson, Bell, Bellamy, Green, Ford, etc.) For the past five years, we haven't had 1 break go our way. Not one. I look back at mid-January and all the momentum we seemed to have with all of these big-time guys and I am really at a loss for words as to how heart-wrenching it is to not get a single one of those "big-fish" recruits. That combined with the positive vibes we've received about Jones' work ethic, his attention to detail, his personality really resonating with the kids and his focus on the state of Tennessee make it really hard to see the positives coming out from today. Personally, I am SICK of coming in second. Absolutely sick of it. It has happened way too many times the last five years. There was all that talk on ESPN that Tennessee could be the "talk of signing day" and whatnot, all those national recruiting analysts saying how hard Jones is working and how much momentum he was getting, and twitter was going crazy the last two months with the interaction from coaches and recruits. We had so much confidence, so much momentum, so much excitement in our program...only for today happen. It's just...words really can't describe it honestly.
And if we're looking for someone to blame...turn your attention to one Mr. Derek Dooley. Just hearing his name boils my blood now. I know that's terrible of me to say about a former coach who stepped into an almost impossible situation in 2010, but that's just how I feel. To me, it seems like Derek Dooley completely and utterly destroyed this recruiting class. He gave up after September. That much is obvious. He gave up on Bell, didn't even try with Lawson, Levenberry or Bellamy, neglected Jenkins, and meanwhile was signing guys like Colton Goeas and Dominic Zanca? Inexcusable. My anger today resides completely with Dooley. I don't care if he saw the writing on the wall, that is absolutely no excuse to not do your job and get on the trail for recruiting. Also, it is absolutely beyond me how all of the info that has subsequently come out about Dooley since his firing didn't come out earlier. (his inept recruiting in TN, his neglect to forge relationships with his players, his favoritism among certain players *cough* *cough* Tyler Bray *cough* *cough*) The cover-up on Dooley by everyone associated with the program was borderline criminal. I will make no bones about it: Derek Dooley completely mismanaged our program. Outside of the VFL thing, he left our program in November 2013 in absolutely no better shape than he found it in January 2010. I would argue that Lane Kiffin did almost as much for our program as Dooley did. Derek may have brought in a few "good" recruiting classes, but to what avail? Three losing seasons and absolutely ZERO depth behind our starters, especially along the lines and on the defense.
With that said: I know y'all are sick and tired of hearing it, (and I am too) but next year's recruiting class IS going to be better...much better. Butch Jones faced such an uphill battle for this recruiting cycle that it should be taken as a miracle that he held on to Carr, got Jenkins and landed Dobbs. (not to mention Miller, Sutton, North, etc.) I don't think there is a coach in the country outside of Nick Saban who could've fared better given the circumstances that Jones was dealt. I give Butch a ton of credit for not giving up, not mailing it in (like Dooley did) and actually making a renewed effort at the nation's top recruits. (something Derek Dooley NEVER did) Some of you may wonder, Daniel, with how this class turned out, why in the hell are you so confident in Jones? Here's why folks: Butch Jones, with a completely new staff entering a program that had undergone its fourth major coaching change since December of 2008, made a run at Carl Lawson, (the nation's #2 recruit) a player that Derek Dooley had NEVER pursued; and in a matter of 2 months (when Auburn had been recruiting him for well over 2 years) had Lawson seriously considering flipping his commitment from AU a program that has gone 15 years without a conference or national title and has gone 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 5-7, and 5-7 the last five seasons. The way he almost landed Lawson speaks volumes to me. That's just one example: I could go on all day about other recruits he got us in on (Levenberry, Bellamy, Bell, Boyd, etc, guys who wouldn't have even given Tennessee any hint of a chance with Dooley here) If Butch can do all that with only two months to forge relationships with players who have been courting some of their other finalists for, in some cases, 2 or 3 YEARS; then think about what he can do when he has a fair chance with the big-time guys, when he has 2 years to pull a kid to UT instead of 2 months.
The 2014 class IS going to be special. I guarantee you that. Write it down now, Tennessee will have a top-10 class in 2014. The legacies we have in that class and the in-state talent that is present combined with Butch's electric personality, attention to detail, and relentless work ethic (even in out-of-state recruiting) are going to pay HUGE dividends.
My point is this: My fellow board members, we are all disappointed today. I know, I'm disappointed too. We've all seen this movie so too any times. And I know that the "wait till next year" argument seems to be our only rallying cry: but please, please my fellow Vol fans; have hope. I know it's really really hard after being burned so many times, but just have hope. Have hope and have patience. Butch is ten times the head coach that Derek Dooley ever dreamed of being. It may take 3 years or 5 years or, who knows? But I am confident in Butch Jones. The 2014 class IS going to be better. Signing Day 2014 WILL be better than today. I know you're tired of hearing it, but I truly believe that.
Let's all give Butch a chance. 2014 is going to be amazing. And when it is, we can all forget that days like today ever happened.
Patience is a virtue my friends. You can bet your life savings that after today, Butch is hungrier than ever. We are hungrier than ever....and in 2014, we will finally eat.
"What did he do? All he did was score!" - John Ward
have to win some games.....better do our best to make a bowl game.
Going to have a lot of growing pains with the offense and the new scheme. Also switching back to an old defense.
If we make a bowl game I will be so freakin happy.....
Wins is big. I think Butch will surprise some people on the field. I'm calling 7 or 8 wins (counting the bowl game)
I absolutely agree that winning will cure this. We have to take our not-as-talented team and beat one or two teams we are not supposed to beat. When that happens, things will begin to turn around. I love that we signed Josh Dobbs. He will be the start of something special. I just hope we can pull an upset or two next year.
I agree, Coach Jones and staff has begun the healing process and we are on our way back.
These things take time and hard work, which is exactly what CBJ is doing.
I for one am excited for the future and am so glad the Dooley era is OVER!
There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. - Winston Churchill
I hope you are right. I hope everything is a lot better next year. I don't know about y'all I'm getting tired of saying wait till next year. I understand though that you have to give Butch a chance to build and coach up the players here is to things getting better.
I never completely bought what Dooley was selling, but I was open to him proving he could get it done here, until he lost to KY. After that it was pretty clear to me he wasn't the answer, but he did some good things and Dooley left the program in better shape than when he found it. The facility that was built under his watch wouldn't have been as nice; the roster has more talent and depth than the day he took over; and the issues off the field are receiving more attention from the program and my understanding is that they have been curbed. The D line and O-line are considerably better than the one he inherited (especially considering Douglass was trying to leave) and in the SEC those are the most important units. The QB situation is better. Bray was a true freshmen and Simms wasn't very good. Jones gets Worley and Peterman. Worley got the call over Simms as a true freshmen, and Bray as a true freshmen and Peterman with a year of college, is probably even. The running back situation is better with Neal, Lane, and Young v. Poole and Oku (Brown wasn't staying). I'm not a fan of DD, but the program as a whole, is in better shape. Certainly Jones has more to work with than Dooley did when he arrived.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by DCVolunteer 14 months ago
Nice, up lifting read. Totally agree on DD, this day was his doing and it makes even tougher to see him on ESPNU.. Wished they had a call in number.
i think it's a bit unfair that we have had no recruiting breaks recently..CP, the #1 JUCO receiver was a pretty good break for us. Certainly it has been limited. Hope is fine, but you have to temper that with a certain amount of realism. Losing our starting qb, and pretty much the entire receiving corps was going to make it tough with NO transition..now add a new scheme on offense and somewhat defensively, and another meat grinding schedule..that's the reality staring us in the face.
This post was edited by frostyvol 14 months ago
Well spoken to say the least.
Hold the Rope! CBJ, Strip, and co. will have the Vols ready, willing and more than able to compete at the highest levels. Butch will get the right kind of players...not the most hyped players...and have them playing at a level that they never imagined. Rocky Top will be playing long, loud and often next year!
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