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Sep 21

Jai Eugene

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Dooley Speaks About Locker Room Speeches

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“Proper mental stance on game day stems almost entirely from attitudes built over a considerable period of time. Pre-game harangues, as a rule, do more harm than good. Inspiration at zero hour is a poor thing to rely on”.   Brigadier General Robert Reece Neyland

This week, social media has been buzzing over Derek Dooley’s Florida pre-game and halftime speeches to the Tennessee Vols.   Or should I say the lack of speeches.

Below is a sampling of the chatter on Dooley and his process, we call this “going full-red”:

You ALL are missing the point. If Dooley can’t even get the guys fired up and motivated before a game, what’s to say he can do so when it matters most? Where is the composure to keep things together when the going gets tough? These are all crucial to being a good leader and coach. Everything fell apart on Saturday, vs. Kentucky, etc, etc. and it goes back to lack of Coaching ability and Leadership on Gameday.

One thing any true Vols fan must know and accept is that there’ll be no pre-game speech from Derek Dooley on Saturday. Dooley has revealed he doesn’t talk immediately prior to a game and won’t change that for the looming match up against the Akron Zips or the Georgia Bulldogs.

There were several unconfirmed reports that during halftime of the Florida game,  Dooley was locked down in his office reading one of his favorite books, The Diary of Anne Frank.

It was awfully nice of Derek Dooley to open the window to his soul as the defining moment of his life’s work draws tantalizingly close. Turns out all the Tennessee coach seeks is a little inner peace.

“If you can feel good about looking in the mirror and what my teammates are saying about me, you will see improvement and you will have a little peace in your life.”

It’s such a small thing to ask for.  And in many ways Dooley’s quest is a microcosm of his University, his team and his raucous fan base.  If Dooley gets his peace, so too does the Tennessee football team.  Collectively, all of the Tennessee fans peace of mind hypothetically lies in his capable hands and inside the precise part in his famously superb coif .

“There was a lot of emotional investment by everybody associated with Tennessee. I think it’s a good sign that that kind of pain is on us,” said Dooley.

Dooley’s mood seemed reassuringly serene yesterday as he fronted the media for the final time pre-Akron.  He has sagely acknowledged the stakes, shrugged off the pressure and admitted that game time, the motivational burden was very much on the shoulders of his talented play makers, coaching staff and his almost mythical second half adjustments.

Dooley whose trademark dry wit seemed just a tad forced, he did his best to deflect that weight – or wait? — of a hungry Volunteer nation.   “..valuing the journey of self-improvement and what I can do to help the team. If our focus is on that, we are going to be fine. What we can’t focus on is the disappointment or the `he said this,’  or `we’re not this.’ If we can focus on self-improvement and what I can do to help the team, we’ll be fine.”

However, his most meaningful reflection came when he was asked what success would mean to him and the Tennessee program.

Peace.  Inner peace that  is what Coach Dooley seeks.

A win over Akron and Georgia would send this supremely confident and amazingly talented young coach into his dotage with a warm inner glow of contentment. A close win over Akron this week followed by a defeat at Athens next week would signal an eternity or torment that verges on the unimaginable.

Along such fine lines do life’s vicissitudes swing

The biased Tennessee sports media would lead the average reader to believe that the Akron game is ‘in the bag’ and the ultimate defining moment for Dooley will be his triumphant return to Athens and a job interview to replace Mark Richt as the skipper of the Georgia Bulldogs. Dooley will not allow Akron to be disrespected. Akron should not be that much of a problem on Saturday, but the trip to Georgia — to Dooley’s hometown, no less — is shaping up to be the defining moment of his career.

In terms of  Akron, Dooley echoes a fairly universal appraisal. “”The one thing you know about any Bowden, Terry especially, is that they know how to score a lot of points.” Dooley added, “If we don’t come and prepare all week, we will get embarrassed”.

Dooley just smirked when he was read this comment by Akron’s Coach Terry Bowden,“They put their pants on the same way we do,” Bowden said of the Vols. “It’s just a ballgame.” Dooley wryly added the obligatory punchline, “Terry wears some mighty big britches.”  A reference to Bowden’s growing waistline.

The Akron game will further fuel Dooley’s mercurial ride to the top of the SEC coaching pile. He’s made some mistakes, and lost the odd test. But for the most part he’s turned out teams of unerring excellence.

But on Saturday night Coach Dooley will either go down in Volunteer history as the man who returned the swagger back to Rocky Top, or the coach who failed twice in twice in 2012 when it really counted. That’s a lot of weight on his shoulders.

All Dooley’s saying for now is that his three seasons of coaching in the SEC have made him as well prepared as he can be for this one. The rest is over to a group of play makers on both sides of the ball  that are dripping with experience and talent.

“We’ve got a very experienced group of players who have basically taken over the team. They’ve taken ownership, they’ve taken a huge responsibility, so I’ve got nothing to do. Really, nothing much at all.”

Tennessee and Dooley have been embarrassed before, they didn’t like it.

It’s all icing on the cake, really!!

 

 

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Jai Eugene

Jai Eugene

No I am not the real Jai Eugene from LSU. Or as Jai is known at Tennessee as "the one that got away". I am retired Army Aviator that happens to have a blog that produces sometimes relevant Tennessee Vols content. Sure those dicks over DawgSports and the MGOBlog say we are a little "analysis challenged". Maybe it had something to do with me helping to defend their first amendment rights overseas while they were out shopping at the mall. Anyway, we have been around since 2006. Been mentioned in GoVolsxtra, Sports illustrated, ESPN, the Atlanta Journal and Deadspin to name but a few major left wing sports media that seem to think we do a pretty good job. If you have story tips, want to chat or advertise on the site contact me at loserwithsocks@gmail.com
Jai Eugene

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  1. GoVols105

    I read on Volquest that Dooley was reading Anne Frank. I didn't know that he did the reading at half time. No reason for us to fall behind against Florida if we had that Angel on our side.

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  2. Jai Eugene
    Jai Eugene

    Coach Dooley is an astute student of history.

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  3. Erwin Rommel

    Was Dooley pulling for the Germans?

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