The envy shouldn't be over the fact that Pearl makes more money or has a more successful program. It should be over recruiting.
See, Tennessee's basketball coach and his colleagues have a gentleman's agreement for committed players. (Stifle the snickers, please, and give me a moment.)
"In basketball, once a young man makes a commitment, we're supposed to be hands off," Pearl said during a Big Orange Caravan stop this week. "In football, that's not the case."
No kidding. A public announcement of a commitment in football is the equivalent of a flashing neon sign that reads, "I'm really good! Recruit me even harder!"
Football coaches love stealing commitments. Some even brag about such coups during recruiting celebrations.
(Sometimes the player that a coach brags about is charged with armed robbery. But I digress.)
Pearl calls it a matter of ethics. Excuse me; did someone just use the "e" word in recruiting?
"If somebody makes a commitment, you're done calling, you're done sending stuff," Pearl said. "You honor that commitment."
I don't cover basketball recruiting regularly, so all of this talk of ethical recruiting seems a bit foreign to me.
Recently, Pearl seems like he is wondering if things are changing.
Case in point, Terrence Jones, who de-committed from Washington and pledged to enroll at Kentucky this week.
Pearl didn't cite this flip -flop. I did.
"I prefer how we had it in basketball," Pearl said. "I don't understand how kids commit and make four visits (to other schools), but that's sort of the way it is."
Bad news for Pearl? It's getting worse. There are a growing number of de-commitments in basketball. Often, one wonders if tampering is afoot.
Pearl said that's not always the case, but added that he is no longer surprised, just disappointed with basketball's football-like trend.
There's probably no way to stop sliding down the slope. Every time a prospect de-commits and signs elsewhere, coaches will be more tempted to test committed prospects.
Pearl would just like to remind the prospects that a handshake is made by two.
"To me, it's consistent with contract law," Pearl said. "If a kid gives me a verbal commitment and, God forbid, he gets hurt and never plays a down or a minute, he's going to be on scholarship because that verbal contract is as good as signing a national letter of intent to me.
"I think that's how we should operate."
Something tells me that Dooley would endorse that notion.
Straight Talk: Dooley knows what you want to hear, but he's not going to say it just to make UT's fan base feel better.
With just one more week on the road for UT's assistants to recruit, he'd love to tell you the Vols have caught the pack in recruiting.
"We're always going to be behind for a couple of years until you really get settled into your areas," said Dooley, whose Vols have two public commitments. "It just takes time."
This recruiting transition looks like it will be harder than the last. Remember, UT's last coaching staff consisted of recruiters who knew the Southeast, like Ed Orgeron, Frank Wilson and Eddie Gran.
Much of UT's current staff is still fumbling with their GPS. That makes linebackers coach Lance Thompson as valuable as anyone on UT's staff. He knows Alabama and Georgia well.
It also will put more pressure on Dooley. He'll need to lead the way in the Southeast, which he has recruited for years at LSU and Louisiana Tech.
It's Academic: One of UT's most important newcomers is one mini-term class away from enrolling at UT. Defensive tackle John Brown is toiling away at Northeast Mississippi Community College in order to pass his final junior college class and enroll at UT this summer.
Brown, who signed with UT in February, is the most likely 2010 signee to have an impact this fall given his ability and UT's lack of depth on the defensive line.
Dave Hooker covers football recruiting. He may be reached at email@example.com.