It was hard not to be struck with Derek's Dooley's intense, genuine nature during his introductory press conference Friday.
Dooley extolled the virtues of integrity and class shortly after he was hired as Tennessee's 22nd head football coach.
Two SEC coaches backed his claim, telling the News Sentinel that Dooley is a "great guy", referring to his character.
Dooley has an early opportunity to put that character on display just days into his UT tenure.
If Dooley is truly in it for the long haul at UT, he should release the eight mid-term enrollees that were recruited by UT's former staff under Lane Kiffin.
Those players worked hard academically in order to enroll at UT for the spring semester. Those players signed on to play for another coaching staff. And those players should have the option of going though the recruiting process again, then determining whether UT is the right place for them.
By allowing such moves, UT could perhaps convince the NCAA to overlook its transfer rule that forces players to sit out a season.
UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said last week he had no intention of releasing the players who were a victim of incredibly bad timing.
That's the wrong stand.
Morally, it's obviously the right thing to do, but it's also pragmatic.
If those eight players feel betrayed, they'll never feel the loyalty to the program that Dooley insisted was so important when he was hired.
Dooley doesn't need malcontents and the chemistry issues they can cause.
And while I'm not aware of any off-field issues with the eight, I get the feeling that Kiffin's staff may have been a little looser on character issues than Dooley will be. There's a great chance that some of those players are better fits for the last staff than the new.
Dooley needs all the scholarships he can get. He needs to build this program in his image.
He needs to release those eight players, with one caveat: No player will be released to Southern California.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.