Patience is wearing thin with Derek Dooley.
He will need lots of patience to ignore the criticisms of the media and those who “claim” to be fans and friends of both Dooley and the Program [The Vote of No Confidence]. The problem we now face is that he might just leave for greener pastures rather than ride this place straight to the top.
Let’s give him his due. He’s served his time, paid his dues. He deserves this chance, and will be judged on what he does now he’s in the hot seat.
There were doubts he would rise to the challenge to close the growing gap on his ever-emerging rivals of Alabama, Georgia or Florida.
Dooley deserves a pat on the back. What he has achieved at Tennessee this season is beyond all predictions.
We thought top half of the SEC East, not the bottom half. We thought SEC contenders, not Music City Bowl.
Scorned by the Tennessee fan base for sacking the shirkers and the pot- stirrers, Dooley has shown what extraordinary determination and natural coaching ability can achieve.
With his back to the wall, Dooley set out to raise a team full of character and hard to beat and his players seemed to sense his commitment and his desperation to win and responded well.
He has fixed a broken team, turned a horrible environment into a happy one and for that he and his coaching staff must be commended.
When the proverbial shit hit the fan last year resulting in the toxic receiver Da’Rick Rogers and seven assistant coaches being shown the door, The local sports media became a vehicle for a level of fury never experienced in Tennessee football before.
The general tone of the feedback from the public was Dooley was incompetent, a “deer in the headlights”, had ruined Tennessee Football and that he should be the one down the road rather than Da’Rick and his former staff members.
How right Dooley was and how wrong they were?
Previously guarded and difficult, the 2012 Vols have been open and obliging. They have enjoyed their work and their SEC game performances have reflected that.
The Vols began the season with tags of “worst ever” and the “faceless ones”. Can you name one defensive player? Even this late in the season I know that I can’t name a player.
But Dooley had shopped smartly for cheap coaching talent, got a cracking defensive guru on board in Sal Sunseri and then slowly went about out-coaching a few higher up the SEC pecking order.
From the outset, we knew he was made of strong stuff.
He is a coach with the balls to tackle team of impressionable young men.
Previous coaches tried to manage matters but if you look at the quality of their player rosters the Program has seriously underachieved.
Although the Vols remain weak in important places, they have played some solid football and with the likes of Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter playing pitch and catch there some exciting times are ahead. A foundation is in place for the future.
Everyone knows Tennessee has over-achieved this season and privately Dooley might be content. But getting a coach to admit satisfaction when they aren’t holding aloft the trophy is rare indeed.
Dooley conducts himself well. He is calm and dignified. He lets other decide whether there is any coincidence between the stirrer (Da’Rick) and the shirkers (the departed assistant coaches) moving to new destinations.
They say all a man wants in life is to be able to walk into his local supermarket without provoking scowls.
A year ago Dooley could not do that. Today he can.
- Dooley isn’t going anywhere (loserswithsocks.com)
- Dooley Speaks About Locker Room Speeches (loserswithsocks.com)
- Dooley: Will he stay or will he go? (loserswithsocks.com)
- I am Dooley’s Crutches (loserswithsocks.com)