Since Derek Dooley is the son of well-known parents, it's only natural to make comparisons.
When you hear him address boosters, you might think of his mother, Barbara, a regular Southern belle with a flair for speaking. But when Tennessee's first-year head coach synopsized his first opponent Monday afternoon, it was as though he was channeling his inner Vince.
During Vince Dooley's heyday as Georgia's head coach, he was famous for speaking glowingly of the most infirm opponent. Building up an opponent is a common practice for most coaches, but Dooley's dad elevated it to an art form.
He could sort through a pile of statistics and uncover minute evidence why an opposing team should make the denizens of Sanford Stadium quiver with fear. His look was as significant as his research. Naturally stoic, he could readily produce a look of grim concern at the mere mention of an opponent as foreboding as say VMI.
In fact, as Vince's SEC champions-to-be of 1966 prepared for their second game of the season against the Keydets, he probably presented the opponent as an amateur version of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Such characterizations were a source of amusement to the media as well as the Dooley household.
"We used to joke about it," Derek said. "I made fun of him all the time.
"That's part of being an immature 11-year-old. My son does that with me."
Derek didn't have to coach long to appreciate his father's wisdom.
"Every time that you overlook somebody or don't take them seriously, you get embarrassed," Derek said. "I think the biggest thing my dad always did was (have) his teams prepare for (an opponent's) best. If you prepare for their best and expect their best, then you are going to be ready."
So it's not surprising to hear Dooley praising the UT Martin Skyhawks, who will open the season at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
"They've won a championship," he said. "They've gone to the playoffs. Right there, you know because of their success you're going to be up against something.
"This will be their biggest game of the year. I know there are probably a lot of players on their team who are probably not happy that Tennessee didn't want them. So we expect them to play their best.
"And their best is good enough to beat us."
Roll your eyes if you are so inclined. The veteran Vols won't. All those Cowboys roaming the recesses of their mind won't let them.
Wyoming entered Neyland Stadium in November of 2008 having lost five of its previous six games by an average of 35.5 points. But it actually looked like a superior team in upending the Vols 13-7.
"It helped me realize that nothing is given," senior linebacker Nick Reveiz said. "Everything is earned. Everything is how you practice and respect your opponent. You're Tennessee, on your home turf, homecoming - they're not going to give you a win just because of that.
"You have to work for it."
You can't attribute that mind-set solely to Wyoming. In the last three years, the Vols have lost seven games by 20 or more points. They also have a recent history of getting jolted just when they appeared to have achieved a higher state of competence.
Last year, in a promising four-game stretch, the Vols routed Georgia by 26 points, almost upset eventual national champion Alabama, and outscored South Carolina and Memphis by a combined count of 87-41.
So what happens next? They get blitzed by Ole Miss 42-17.
In 2007, UT won three consecutive games, including two in the SEC, by double-digit margins. Next stop: Tuscaloosa, where a mediocre Alabama team hammered the Vols by 24 points.
I realize no history lesson would make the average fan assume anything but a one-sided victory over the Skyhawks. And the average 11-year-old would snicker at a coach's suggestion that UT Martin could put up more than a couple of series worth of resistance.
But the Vols don't think that way, which might explain why they defeated Western Kentucky 63-7 in the last season opener.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.