Herschel Walker has high praise for Dooley; glad Kiffin gone

MARYVILLE - The tumultuous offseason for the University of Tennessee football program that led to the hiring of new coach Derek Dooley has been a blessing in disguise, according former NFL star Herschel Walker.

"Derek (Dooley) has done very well and is a very smart young man," Walker said. "I've known him since he was a little boy. I'm happy to see him here and see (former UT coach Lane) Kiffin leave."

Walker was in Maryville on Saturday as part of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride. The cross-country motorcycle ride in support of Kyle and Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Camp for chronically ill children made a stop at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson where Walker and former NASCAR great Harry Gant greeted and signed autographs for fans.

Walker has known Dooley since the UT coach was a teenager. Walker played for Dooley's father, Vince, at the University of Georgia (1980-83). Even then, the younger Dooley's intelligence and football knowledge stood out to Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner.

"I think he (Dooley) is going to do well," Walker said. "He's always loved football. I think Tennessee is going to be very happy with him. One thing about Coach Dooley is he believes in running the ball. In the SEC that's what you've got to do."

Walker was less charitable to Kiffin, who left Tennessee to take over the head coaching job at Southern Cal after one season.

"He (Kiffin) is a guy you don't want to trust at all," Walker said. "I think it's sad when you trust your kids with someone like that and they leave."

Walker has ridden on the Petty's charity ride for the last six years after visiting with chronically ill children and their families at the Victory Junction camp. The Camp was built in honor of Adam Petty, Kyle and Pattie's son, who died May 12, 2000, in a practice run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"It's been 10 years this week since he (Adam) has been gone and it's a powerful way to keep his dream alive," Pattie Petty said. "We try to introduce people to the plight of the chronically ill child. The camp gives them the opportunity to be empowered. That's what we want everybody to understand."

When Walker met the children at the camp the first time, he knew he had to help any way he could.

"I went to the camp and that's what really touched me," Walker said. "It gives me a chance to see the kids smile. That's what this ride is trying to do, to raise money to send a kid to camp for free. The (Petty) family has done something really special here."

Walker and Gant have been joined on portions of this year's ride by supermodel Niki Taylor and NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. Kyle Petty had to leave Saturday due to his broadcasting duties for TNT, but will return to the road today.

Adam Greene is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 98

tnsportsman writes:

HW knows a coach when he sees one! CDD has the roots and knowledge to make UT great again! The Big Orange will be just fine this year with 8 or more regular season wins!

GO VOLS!

mreed90 writes:

Well that is a pretty cool person to have endorse you.

luvthavols writes:

It is good to hear positive things about Dooley..especially from someone like Mr Walker

gborasnic writes:

If Walker has faith then i do too..

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Travis was a great football player but a dunce off the field. I cannot speak for his football acumen, but the man scored one of our biggest TDs ever against Arkansas.

Travis was also a highly-rated pro player.

Herschel?? Great in college, sort of wasted his pro years in my opinion.

I know you are just being facetious, but I really don't agree with you. Dooley Sr was a fine coach. Phil was a fine coach. Travis and Herschal where both stud running backs. Pretty much an equal balance.

bugman (Inactive) writes:

just dont raisem like they did back then. smooth dude right there.

wayoutwill writes:

I sure never needed Walker to inform me as to the character of that slippery snake,Kiffboy!There may be many things good about the Kiffboy coming to our program,but I can think of many reasons why he did our program a huge favor by leaving,which was the one thing I didn't fault him for,but I belived Al davis and the things he said about Kiffboy;that he is a liar and a manipulator on the highest order.Big Eggheaded ed is a buffoon and a drunkard and a braggart and he got ran out of Miss. for those reasons,not any other.The Vol fans have a no-nonsense Coach that will get better with time,but he is solid and you know that when you meet the man;he was raised with high morals and the good sense to know that he was blessed.I think we should be proud we got him,proud Kiffboy is gone and start looking for glorydays ahead.Brown was a fool to leave and Douglass is a mixed up kd that will learn how deep the water is that he jumped off into very soon.I don't know if he still has a shot to return,but if he does,hebetter get back now and get his mind right.I truthfully belive that Brown's style of running will not be as productive as our shiftier backs behind this o-line.I think brown is a stud when he can get a hole to run thru,but the holes may not be so wide open this year and those scat backs will be able to bust open runs without the holes that Brown would have required.

Cldvols1 writes:

Kuddos to HW, awesome to help those poor kids at the the VJC! Not to mention those words spoke of Lame Kitten:) Go Big Orange!!!

hodocka writes:

I am a UT grad and avid Vol fan but Herschel was the very best college football player I have ever seen in my 45 years.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

It would be hard to choose betwen Herschel and Gale Sayers.

SouthDakotaBob writes:

If he hadn't spent those years in the world football league or whatever it was called I think he might have put up some better nfl numbers but he is still the best college back Ive ever seen. With his size and speed he was a freak of nature. GBO

tennrich1 writes:

Hershel has always been a clas act!

tennrich1 writes:

CLASS ACT! Sorry Herschel

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Hershel said a few years ago in his book he ha always been bipolar.

Hope it was his intelligent side that was saying this.....

lewhs93#205993 writes:

I was listening to the game when HW was first inserted.Ithought i had switched to another game.He was awsome.

punkin writes:

in response to vol1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I wonder if Bill Bates would agree with you?

RespectTradition writes:

Wikipedia:
Walker rushed for 5,562 yards in his USFL career.[9] His combined rushing numbers for the USFL and the NFL (13,787 yards) would place him 5th All-Time on the NFL's career rushing list.[10]

In 12 NFL seasons, Walker gained 8,225 rushing yards, 4,859 receiving yards, and 5,084 kickoff-return yards.[11] This gave him 18,168 total combined net yards, ranking him second among the NFL's all-time leaders in total yardage at the time of his retirement; as of the start of the 2007 NFL season, ten years after his retirement, he still ranks eighth.[12] He also scored 84 touchdowns: 61 rushing, 21 receiving and two kick off returns for touchdowns.[11] Walker is the only other player besides Derrick Mason to have 10,000+ yards from scrimmage and 5,000+ return yards (all of which were on kickoff returns). He is the only player to gain 4,000 yards three different ways: rushing, receiving, and kickoff returns. He is one of six players (Jim Brown, Lenny Moore, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, and Thurman Thomas) to exceed 60 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns receiving. Another NFL record he possesses is that he is the only player with a 90+ yard reception, 90+ yard run, and a 90+ yard kickoff return all in the same season (1994). He is also the only player to record an 84+ yard touchdown run and an 84+ yard touchdown reception, in the same game (December 14, 1986). That same day, he had 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving. Walker is currently ranked eighth all time in all-purpose yards with 18,168, despite spending his first three seasons in the USFL.

Me:
I wish I could be half as much a failure as he turned out to be in the pros.

Good football player. Better man.

Go Vols!

RespectTradition writes:

in response to AthensHomerDawg:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought he got divorced in '01?

orangecountyvols writes:

15-0 Tennessee when Vince said "we better go with the freshman". 1980. Enter Herschel and the rest is history. A great running back for UGA. Every school has had them and he was probably the best Georgia had.
Very nice words coming from Walker and he should know.

Southland writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

HW knows a coach when he sees one! CDD has the roots and knowledge to make UT great again! The Big Orange will be just fine this year with 8 or more regular season wins!

GO VOLS!

Lets be realistic and hope for four wins this year and build on it from that. We have a man of intergrity heading up our program now. We have played very bad football for several years now. It will take Dooley a while to turn things around. We have a coach that should be supported unlike the punk that shouldnt be mentioned with UT football. He should be banished from UT's history

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to AthensHomerDawg:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We've already established what Travis is off the field. Not much good to say.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Funny how people always will say "so-and-so was the greatest ever"

Big-tinners might go with Archie Griffin
Big 12 might say 'Barry Sanders'
Pac-10 might say 'OJ Simpson'
Everybody else might say 'Walter Payton'

Me?? I'd go with John Elway. Stud in both college and pros. Won several huge games in the NFL, true classic. Could pass, kick, run, and punt at a pro-level. (was a punt, pass, and kick champion, I think).

In college, he played for one or our few institutions where athletes are expected to spell 'cat' correctly 9 times out of 10, and he frequently put on great shows.

So, everyone can have their flashy runners who basically live off of pure instinct. I'll take the QB who runs the offensive show, has to know every player's assignment, and has to throw the ball on a rope while getting pounded by monster-sized defensive players.

Yep, I'll stick with Elway.

TLepage writes:

in response to vol1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

no.... the best college football player ever would be MANNING!!!!!

RespectTradition writes:

If we are talking greatest ever, I think Reggie White is the greatest defensive player to ever wear cleats. That being said, for my money, Jerry Rice is hands down the best football player ever. Period.

rainbrowntrout writes:

I remember some time ago, watching a freshman @ Georgia named Edwards, that was running around the field like a bad dream named "Walker". I was 9 or 10 years old @ Neyland Stadium watching the game when Herschel Walker came in the game as a Freshman. I remember My Momma saying "Oh Man" this ones gonna be good!"" THEY CAN'T CATCH HIM SON!" I do remember that very well. When she saw Edwards a few years back, She would have sworn Hershel's Momma had given birth to another great back from Georgia! But, had a different Daddy named Edwards! He was playing with a broken bone in his foot I think. I remember his stats were around 155 Rushing yards in the first half alone!
Anyhow, I got off on a rant, sorry.. It's a great thing to have that caliber of player and man as Hershel Walker behind our coach, and "WOW", talking about getting some recruitment done with Mr. Walker on your side, or maybe even a part of the staff @ some point! Maybe we can convert all these "RED BLOODS" to "ORANGE BLOODS" with the right support and $$$$ LOL.This does say a lot for our new coach though! Nobody is gonna put words in Herschel Walker's mouth I can promise! It shows the kind class we have acquired since we got that Kitten Sh~t of our lawn!

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

HW knows a coach when he sees one! CDD has the roots and knowledge to make UT great again! The Big Orange will be just fine this year with 8 or more regular season wins!

GO VOLS!

I bleed orange, but there is no way we win 8 or more games. Look at the schedule. I will be happy if we get 6 wins and a bowl game. GBO!

volzcrushm writes:

Thank you HW for your kind words and vote of confidence in CDD and our program. BUT FOR YOU ~all knowing prognosticators~ PAYTON MANNING WILL BE THE MOST PROLIFIC PLAYER TO EVER HIT THE NFL BY THE TIME HE RETIRES.

FWBVol writes:

in response to volzcrushm:

Thank you HW for your kind words and vote of confidence in CDD and our program. BUT FOR YOU ~all knowing prognosticators~ PAYTON MANNING WILL BE THE MOST PROLIFIC PLAYER TO EVER HIT THE NFL BY THE TIME HE RETIRES.

Who is PAYTON Mannning? The Tennessee quarterback who is a 4-time NFO MVP for the Colts is PEYTON Manning. You would think after 16 years people would get it right.

Jim_Bob writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

close your eyes....take a deep breath...try to remember what being a fan really is....

imnochumpvol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Who is PAYTON Mannning? The Tennessee quarterback who is a 4-time NFO MVP for the Colts is PEYTON Manning. You would think after 16 years people would get it right.

Why do people go "bowl-list-tick" over misspelled words? Unreal!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Once again, you are just plain old wrong. You might have had an idea of that if you had read RespectTradition's post from 8:15.

Even losing four years in his prime to the USFL, Walker was much more of an NFL star than Henry.

Yards rushing: Walker 8,225 -- Henry 6,086. Walker beats Henry in career yards per carry, 4.2 to 4.1.

Here is where Walker excelled: Receiving is no contest -- Walker 4,859 total yards, Henry 951. In addition, Walker had 5,084 yards returning kickoffs. Henry appears to have zero.

Combine his four years in the USFL and Walker's numbers are off the charts. But even without those four years, Herschel was much a brighter NFL star than the former Vol.

golfballs03 writes:

Wow. That's cool

Ringside writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

It would be hard to choose betwen Herschel and Gale Sayers.

I would have to give the nod to Gale.

give_him_6 writes:

Mr. Walker is a class act all the way. He has a insight not that many fans have. We need to get behing Coach D!!!!

HtownVol writes:

Come on clowns. How do you go from HW bashing on Kiff Jr. to Travis Henry is married to his sweetheart and its PEYTON not Payton.. Man can some of you talk about the topic or even keep it about sports.

I love that HW called out the kid. I have followed Kiff ever since he took over the Raiders and then Al Davis let him go I was begging for UT to hire him. And now I do not think there is a worse person on college football. He does whatever it takes to get a recruit.He does not give a darn about how bad a recruit is, all he wants is a top ranked class.

I had a feeling UT made a bad hire when Kiff told Taj Boyd he would not fit. If he kept Boyd UT would be in SO MUCH better shape right now.

And if he really wanted to build a program he would have seen that he needed to sign 4-5 O-Linemen in his 1st class. Even if not great we needed big bodies for depth. But no, Kiff wanted all the 4 star recruits no matter the position.

And I know USC was his dream job, but why cant he see that USC did not want Kiff. They only called him because they seen their top choices say no.

Thank You HW! I wish more CFB icons would call out Lil Kiff for being bad news for football.

UTbassdrummer writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You. Are. Seriously. The. Worst.

tennesseebee writes:

in response to always_vol:

Travis was a great football player but a dunce off the field. I cannot speak for his football acumen, but the man scored one of our biggest TDs ever against Arkansas.

Travis was also a highly-rated pro player.

Herschel?? Great in college, sort of wasted his pro years in my opinion.

I know you are just being facetious, but I really don't agree with you. Dooley Sr was a fine coach. Phil was a fine coach. Travis and Herschal where both stud running backs. Pretty much an equal balance.

Wasted in the pros? Only in the sense that he WAS the Cowboy offense. Good thing he could catch out of the backfield or he may be in a wheel chair now. Or at least in Earl Campbell's condition. Walker was a great back who lasted more years in the pros than did Bo Jackson.

10volunteers98 writes:

I believe Herschel Walker knows what he`s talking about.He knows a good football coach when he sees one.(Derek Dooley).He also recognizes a sleaze bag when he sees one.(Lame Kitten).Walker summed it up perfectly.GO,VOLS!!!

HtownVol writes:

Gig Gunzz, you act like UGA is far better than UT.

Did you watch the UT/UGA game this year? Or 2 of the last 3 UT/UGA games?

You say Knoxville is the UGA fan club, Tennessee is on the same level as UGA right now, we may not be picked to finish ahead of them this year, but UT has beat UGA many, many more times than UGA beat UT in the past 15 years. So I doubt that UT has any form of jealousy for UGA.

CroKev writes:

Wouldn't it be great if someone put a flyer or even a glossy program together of great quotes about Kiffen? We could include quotes from Herschel, James stone, et al. (maybe even something from the "Sexiest Woman Alive contest"!) and then send it to the parents of every recruit on USC's radar.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Bruce Pearl, like Kiffin, takes pride in not being very popular with our opponents. I don't like Urban Myer or Nick Saban. Hopefully, Florida and Alabama fans will have reason to feel the same way about our coach. There's a fine line between hatred and fear. Kiffin at least gave Alabama and Florida reason to fear him. They were both lucky to get away with wins over UT, and they could see what was coming in future years. I personally believe that fear was part of the reason for Meyer's resignation, which he withdrew after Kiffin left. Fulmer owned Alabama, and they hated him with a passion. In short, I don't want to have a coach our opponents like.

CroKev writes:

Other than QB's, the 2 greatest players in college football that I have ever watched were Tim Brown (Notre Dame -'87) and Rich Glover (Nebr.-early 70's -the most devastating DL I have ever seen). Never have I seen 2 guys impact a game on the college level like those 2. I must admit that it didn't transfer as well to the pro-level though (at least for Glover). I remember watching Herschel sprinting in the 100 meter dash against Willie Gault at UT. Gault won but all of us knew that the guy from Georgia was the one whose path we would not have wanted to be in. He was so huge and fast! As far as pros, no one will ever be able to match Jim Brown. A close 2nd would have to be Barry Sanders-a completely different kind of runner.

NoSirRee writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Bruce Pearl, like Kiffin, takes pride in not being very popular with our opponents. I don't like Urban Myer or Nick Saban. Hopefully, Florida and Alabama fans will have reason to feel the same way about our coach. There's a fine line between hatred and fear. Kiffin at least gave Alabama and Florida reason to fear him. They were both lucky to get away with wins over UT, and they could see what was coming in future years. I personally believe that fear was part of the reason for Meyer's resignation, which he withdrew after Kiffin left. Fulmer owned Alabama, and they hated him with a passion. In short, I don't want to have a coach our opponents like.

Finally, someone who gets it.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here, let me write you a primer:

they are RUNNING BACKS. Their opinion of what makes a great coach is basically directly proportional to your ability to hold civil discourse....which is not much.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to NoSirRee:

Finally, someone who gets it.

Seriously??

I have much respect for Meyer and Saban...as I did fro Tuberville and basketball guys like Tubby smith or Rick Pitino.

Where we usually fall down is we can't compete them, and that just falls into plain old envy of someone who's better than you.

I think the smarter fans respect Bruce, even if they don't like his show. Stallings fits that category, too, and I thought John Brady did as well. They normally bring a quality product in, and they make the games interesting.

The only coaches I've ever really dislike where the total a##wipes (Hal Munnie comes to mind, as does woody Hayes).

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If Fulmer is the greatest coach ever like you seem to think why has another school not hired him

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Come on now...you give that guy a hard time for typing PAYTON Manning when in an earlier post you referred to OPRAH Winfrey as Opra and HERSHEL Walker as Hershal??

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to always_vol:

Seriously??

I have much respect for Meyer and Saban...as I did fro Tuberville and basketball guys like Tubby smith or Rick Pitino.

Where we usually fall down is we can't compete them, and that just falls into plain old envy of someone who's better than you.

I think the smarter fans respect Bruce, even if they don't like his show. Stallings fits that category, too, and I thought John Brady did as well. They normally bring a quality product in, and they make the games interesting.

The only coaches I've ever really dislike where the total a##wipes (Hal Munnie comes to mind, as does woody Hayes).

Personally, I take no satisfaction in our rivals celebrating the departure of Kiffin and the hiring of Dooley. I hope they live to regret it.

dvols writes:

Herschel Walker .....Born to Ride.... awesome!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

This charity ride for Victory Junction must take forever if Kyle Petty's leading the pack. He has NEVER gone fast. Well, at least since 1993.

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