Adams: Vols need to put team first off field as well

John Adams

If college football coaches could manipulate calendars, there would be no summer. Spring football would end, and preseason camp would open without so much as a coffee break in between.

Off-season weekends would vanish as well. Free time: What good is it?

Tennessee safety Darren Myles probably has a different answer for that today than he did before the early hours of Sunday morning when he was jailed and charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Nice kickoff to the off-season conditioning program, huh?

Against the backdrop of UT football's criminal history, you might contend this isn't a big deal. No one got robbed or mugged. No one had a pellet gun or toy gun aimed in his direction. Even if Myles resisted arrest, you could write it off as alcohol-impaired decision-making and conclude this wasn't much more than a stupid college-student trick.

Unless new coach Derek Dooley chooses to send a message with his first disciplinary act, you might assume Myles won't pay for his transgression with missed playing time. First-time offense and misdemeanor: It's hardly worth commentary - if not for the timing.

About 10 hours before Myles' arrest, I stood in the back of the UT football locker room as Dooley addressed his team at the end of spring practice. He seemed to hit all the right buttons in a brief speech that in some respects was a thank-you from the new coaching staff to the team.

The coach applauded his players' work ethic and encouraged them to keep it up until they reconvene this August for preseason camp. He sounded genuinely sad that the team would have to be divided for the post-game dinner. The winning team got steaks; the losers ate hotdogs.

Oh, one more thing: Make good decisions, guys, the coach said in so many words. And don't do anything to embarrass yourself, the program or the school.

I don't know how Dooley could have made it any clearer unless he had said, "Don't get drunk and disorderly. But if you do and subsequently encounter a police officer, be compliant."

In Myles' case, Dooley's speech didn't stick for half a day.

It could have been a lot worse. Imagine how angry and frustrated Georgia coach Mark Richt was when he kicked quarterback Zach Mettenberger off the team six weeks after the player was arrested outside a bar in the South Georgia town of Remerton.

Mettenberger has been impressive this spring, and some say was the favorite to win the starting quarterback job. What was he thinking?

He wasn't thinking about his team. Neither was Myles.

These are tough times for the Vols. After all the coaching changes and player attrition over the last two years, their talent and depth have taken a hit. There's no margin for error, even if the error falls short of a felony.

Myles is a key component in a revamped but promising secondary. He had a good spring and a good spring game. Then, his post-game performance was capped in handcuffs.

Dooley has stressed the importance of discipline and details throughout the spring. He did so again after the game, noting how the outcome was decided on mistakes in the final minutes.

But better to make those mistakes in the heat of battle than under the influence.

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 38

Cldvols1 writes:

All will be well, Dooley will straighten it out. The players need to buy into his gameplan 100%. Go Vols!!!

Cash writes:

the boy knew better. well maybe.

time to set the example.

bye bye.

don't give a damn who it is.

Georgia_Dave writes:

What will it take for these young men to UNDERSTAND that these foolish escapades can cost them their dreams???? Do we put them on too high a pedistal? What can we fans do to stop it? What can the Coaches do? I mean they can't be with them 24/7. These guys need to grow up, quit acting like prima donnas, and get with the program.

PureOrange writes:

Our team is thin, but so is our patience. These kids are going to have to figure out the program is much bigger than they are.

Grow up!

tnsportsman writes:

CDD will handle Myles the way he sees fit. IMO, I hope he runs him silly, puts him in counseling and sit him for a game. Myles should be put on a zero strike policy going foward.

GO VOLS!

orangeman1 writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

CDD will handle Myles the way he sees fit. IMO, I hope he runs him silly, puts him in counseling and sit him for a game. Myles should be put on a zero strike policy going foward.

GO VOLS!

I can agree with that, and hope he learns from his mistake.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Is this the state of college athletics today???

TommyJack writes:

in response to Cash:

the boy knew better. well maybe.

time to set the example.

bye bye.

don't give a damn who it is.

You mean off the team? Are you serious?

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Personally I think coach should send a message quickly. Suspend him 2 or 3 games. Doesn't matter which player it is, a new coach has to show the team who sets the rules.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to Cash:

the boy knew better. well maybe.

time to set the example.

bye bye.

don't give a damn who it is.

Yep, death penalty. Lethal injection. The chair. String him up.

Some people have never been 18 and imperfect. They've always been holier than thou and always will.

These kind of folks wouldn't be a very good head coach. Nor would they be a very good father. I suspect the guy we have in charge is pretty good in both roles. Thank goodness for that.

cjones72 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Personally I think coach should send a message quickly. Suspend him 2 or 3 games. Doesn't matter which player it is, a new coach has to show the team who sets the rules.

i agree suspend him 2 or 3 games and also tell him the next time he is off the team no questions asked .

bornandraisedintheshadow writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, dismissal is to much. Suspend him for 3 or 4 games and run his tail off. However lets get it straight, he did not make a mistake he made a choice. And even if there was 1000 others drunk that does not relieve him of his responsibilities. Thinking like that is exactly why this kids get into trouble.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

won't go for the rhetoric here: I believe the athletics department needs a clearcut policy of punishment levels.

Okay, maybe it's "zero tolerance". Maybe it's "missed gamed time", whatever.

Point is, spell it out. Hell, in high schools in my state, the 'good conduct policy' is well-known.

Coaches can always go further, but many choose to trod carefully. After all, we are not recruiting saints, we are recruiting athletes. Many a young star has had some run-in in high school, so to expect much better in college...

vintonvol writes:

A 1 or 2 game suspension at the start of the season would be a good start for Coach Dooley to show he means business about representing the football team and the school. However, I believe a larger dose of justice should come from the seniors and leaders of this football team that have put in their time and sweat. I don't know what would be the answer, but a little peer pressure from the other members of the team on how to conduct yourself would go a long way to set good behavior. Not every student getting drunk in the bars has a full ride scholarship and high public expectations. When you sign to play D1 football, you're not an average student anymore, you're held to a higher example - fair or not.

flatrock writes:

Maybe we'll use the Steve Spurrier discipline
tactics. Steve's definition of a 3-game
suspension is:

--Ut-Martin;
--Memphis;
--2011 Orange & White game.

VolunteerPassion writes:

in response to flatrock:

Maybe we'll use the Steve Spurrier discipline
tactics. Steve's definition of a 3-game
suspension is:

--Ut-Martin;
--Memphis;
--2011 Orange & White game.

or maybe he'll use Urban Meyers:
first 4:24 of the UT-Martin game...

CroKev writes:

in response to vintonvol:

A 1 or 2 game suspension at the start of the season would be a good start for Coach Dooley to show he means business about representing the football team and the school. However, I believe a larger dose of justice should come from the seniors and leaders of this football team that have put in their time and sweat. I don't know what would be the answer, but a little peer pressure from the other members of the team on how to conduct yourself would go a long way to set good behavior. Not every student getting drunk in the bars has a full ride scholarship and high public expectations. When you sign to play D1 football, you're not an average student anymore, you're held to a higher example - fair or not.

Great post! Dooley can only do so much so it's up to the Seniors of this team to hold the rest of them in line and lead by example. The leaders of this team (Jones, et al.) should have some unwritten rules that anyone displaying behavior unbecoming to the team will be shunned by their teammates.
On another note, I'm so impressed with Coach Richt - imagine kicking off the starting QB! What exactly did the kid do outside the bar that was different than Myles?

TommyJack writes:

in response to CroKev:

Great post! Dooley can only do so much so it's up to the Seniors of this team to hold the rest of them in line and lead by example. The leaders of this team (Jones, et al.) should have some unwritten rules that anyone displaying behavior unbecoming to the team will be shunned by their teammates.
On another note, I'm so impressed with Coach Richt - imagine kicking off the starting QB! What exactly did the kid do outside the bar that was different than Myles?

Big difference. The GA kid was a repeat offender.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I was thinking of a week in the electric chair.

Being young means having to learn.

I'll leave the punishment to Corch Dooley and remember about glass houses.

Imagine the young man feels worse than any punishment results.

Doldrums are here.

HighlandVol writes:

There are offenses and then there are offenses. I agree that stern discipline needs to be set for precedent, but I think in this case more than one game and internal would be overkill. It is a first offense and yes, he made a poor decision, but drunk and disorderly is a far cry from shoplifting and armed robbery (even by implication). I am not condoning the actions by any means, but we all have made errors in judgement and to call for the headsman in this case is a bit extreme.

transplantiam writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Big difference. The GA kid was a repeat offender.

You know he is a repeater in what way? I read approx. 15 different articles on this and some tried to insinuate that this wasn't the first time this kid has messed up but everything kept coming back to ONE incident, it's just been dragged out and CMR just made his deision. Add to that CMR was going to have to make a decision because METT had shown he was the guy,, at least to start, and CMR had already issued a first game sit-down for him. CMR was pressured from the higher-ups somehow, IMO. His best solution, given the qbs coming in, was to throw this guy off? Looks a little qestionable to me. Again, JMO
GO VOLS!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good post.

transplantiam writes:

In adding to my remark to TommyJack, CMR was having to make some decisions and one was: he had already told Logan Gray (first qb in ?line?) that he may have to change positions to wr or te if he wanted to play, because of the qb situation being so heavy but Gray had insisted he wanted to compete for it; then then other guy (forget his name?) was the popular choice and initially the best in spring practice. Ultimately, I think the easy way to please MOST of the fans and solve his overload problem was to kick this Mettenberger to the curb. Problem solved. Also Ga is supposed to have their "future QB" coming in the fall to make room for. Just Opinion!
GO VOLS!!

WytheVol writes:

I hope I never have to face this court of public opinion!!! I'd hate to think what some of you would do when you filled the jails up with these hardcore, drunkened criminals...

TommyJack writes:

in response to transplantiam:

You know he is a repeater in what way? I read approx. 15 different articles on this and some tried to insinuate that this wasn't the first time this kid has messed up but everything kept coming back to ONE incident, it's just been dragged out and CMR just made his deision. Add to that CMR was going to have to make a decision because METT had shown he was the guy,, at least to start, and CMR had already issued a first game sit-down for him. CMR was pressured from the higher-ups somehow, IMO. His best solution, given the qbs coming in, was to throw this guy off? Looks a little qestionable to me. Again, JMO
GO VOLS!!

No, no. I was responding about the GA kid getting the boot. HE was a repeat offender.

TommyJack writes:

in response to transplantiam:

You know he is a repeater in what way? I read approx. 15 different articles on this and some tried to insinuate that this wasn't the first time this kid has messed up but everything kept coming back to ONE incident, it's just been dragged out and CMR just made his deision. Add to that CMR was going to have to make a decision because METT had shown he was the guy,, at least to start, and CMR had already issued a first game sit-down for him. CMR was pressured from the higher-ups somehow, IMO. His best solution, given the qbs coming in, was to throw this guy off? Looks a little qestionable to me. Again, JMO
GO VOLS!!

jack_2222#231746 writes:

It's about culture more than the individuals. Look at Congress- they all aren't arrogant lying thieving cockroaches, they all don't come to DC as such, but that's the culture, what is accepted, how they allow themselves to be.

Same concept at UT- what is allowed and accepted is cultural and Dooley needs to define and enact his culture. The kids will adapt accordingly.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

You mean off the team? Are you serious?

I think so. Strop up the guillotine.

brush#220070 writes:

"and it's 1-2-3-4
what are we fighting for
don't ask me i don't give a dam*
next stop is vietnam"

stuff's been going on over there since i was there in the 60's

AllVols writes:

Sadly, these actions occur to college students all the time. It goes without saying that his actions were demeaning and disgraceful for the UT program given all that has occurred in the past year. The harsh reality is that these student-athletes must conduct themselves above the average standard of a normal college student. Moreover, with a coach like Dooley, these actions will surely not be tolerated. It is troubling to consider the fact that Darren Myles, Jr. may not be apart of the football program following this week.

Finally, what is written in the police report is essential to the investigation. Words such as "combative" or "resisting arrest" are not good at all. In addition, Dooley's meetings with Darren are also pivotal. UT is in the spotlight, so there is no hiding for anyone. The very least of a punishment that I see is 2-3 games suspension into next season, not to mention the punishment that goes on behind the scenes in extra sprints, endurance running, drills, etc.

vols2#227315 writes:

my understanding the georgia quarterback was used to getting into trouble.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to Cash:

the boy knew better. well maybe.

time to set the example.

bye bye.

don't give a damn who it is.

no, you don't kick him off the team for this...sanction him yes...sanction him appropriate to the offense and to his history with transgressions.

this doesn't warrent dismissal...good grief charlie brown

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

same problems but handle it in different ways...they pay of the local police and judges and the kids end up silently in rehab as opposed to publically in jail for these same range of offenses.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

amen

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to HighlandVol:

There are offenses and then there are offenses. I agree that stern discipline needs to be set for precedent, but I think in this case more than one game and internal would be overkill. It is a first offense and yes, he made a poor decision, but drunk and disorderly is a far cry from shoplifting and armed robbery (even by implication). I am not condoning the actions by any means, but we all have made errors in judgement and to call for the headsman in this case is a bit extreme.

more sanity

johnlg00 writes:

"Drunk and disorderly" and "resisting arrest" are EXTREMELY elastic terms. All of us posting on here were likely not present. I'm willing to allow CDD to determine the facts of the case and act accordingly. I wish everybody else on here was willing to do the same.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dang Urban Meyer, calm down! You act like the media just started covering sports in the 2000's.

SoddyVol writes:

What bothers me is the failure to show respect for the law. Even if police aren't too pleasant, be respectful and avoid more serious problems. Don't use alcohol as an excuse to get combative.

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