Derek Dooley pleased with Tennessee's progress

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley during the second half Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 of their 24-38 loss to South Carolina Gamecocks in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley during the second half Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 of their 24-38 loss to South Carolina Gamecocks in Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Derek Dooley just wanted to see some progress from his Volunteers in the past few games. In that case, they delivered by showing improvement in losses to Alabama and South Carolina.

The problem is, the Vols didn't get a win in the month of October and now enter the final month of the season without a Southeastern Conference victory.

"As long as we continue the upward trend, we'll be OK," Dooley said Sunday.

Tennessee will be favored for the first time since facing UAB on Sept. 25 when the Vols travel on Saturday to Memphis (1-7), a team that's been outscored by its last four opponents 201-43. The Vols (2-6) also likely won't face another ranked team with Mississippi, Vanderbilt and Kentucky left on the schedule.

November has traditionally been the Vols' most successful month, and they've done especially well against the four teams they'll face this November. In the past three decades, Tennessee holds a combined 83-7 record against their four remaining opponents, including a 25-game winning streak against the Wildcats.

Dooley cautions against using that history as any indication of how the Vols will do this month, though.

"Historically Tennessee's been great in November, but historically they've also been pretty good before November," he said.

Tennessee wrapped up October with another player arrest. Freshman Jacques Smith turned himself into police on Sunday on a charge of assault with bodily injury and was released on a $2,000 bond.

Spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Smith argued with another student about a woman late Saturday night, and other Vols players stepped in to "diffuse the situation." Smith and the student left the scene of the altercation, but the student later decided to press charges.

Dooley said he felt Smith used bad judgment and that he plans to handle Smith's punishment internally. He did praise the other players for stepping in to "do the right thing."

The coach also said he feels Smith's arrest isn't indicative of a problem with Tennessee's culture off the field, which was his concern after a July bar brawl involving nearly a dozen players.

"I think for the most part we've seen a tremendous amount of progress in how our players are conducting themselves off the field," Dooley said. "Coincidentally, I got word from the airlines yesterday that this was the most respectful, most behaved football team that they'd ever transported."

Tennessee's progress has been evident on the field, too.

The Vols rallied from a 14-point deficit against the Gamecocks on a pair of touchdown passes from backup quarterback Tyler Bray to tie the game at 24 points early in the fourth quarter before a 70-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery sealed the win for South Carolina. It was the most competitive they'd been in the fourth quarter since their 16-14 loss at LSU on Oct. 2.

Bray and starter Matt Simms were a combined 19-for-28, and Denarius Moore caught six passes for 228 yards, the best receiving performance in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season. The Vols scored on three of their four trips to the red zone and picked up a 21 first downs, the most they've had against their FBS opponents this year.

Bray showed improvement in his fourth game, hitting Moore on a 30-yard touchdown pass and Gerald Jones on 17-yard scoring strike. Bray was 9-for-15 for 159 yard and had an interception in addition to the two TD passes.

"We had told them from the start, when we first started losing, not to lose our heads, to keep our heads in the game, and that's what we did," Moore said. "As a result it got us fired up, and we wanted to play some more."

Dooley wouldn't address on Sunday whether Bray had earned a chance to start ahead of Simms, who was 10-for-13 for 153 yards and a touchdown. Dooley said he would address the quarterback situation on Monday after talking with the pair.

"(Bray's) been getting a little bit better each week. He's certainly not where we need him to be right now," Dooley said. "I need to sit down and talk to the players like we do each week, and I haven't had that chance."

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 30

rich182x writes:

After Bray's interception, he gathered his WR's, TE's and RB's taking full blame of the play. He told them not to worry about it, lets get back out there and make it happen.
The makings of a true leader, taking full responsibility and pressing forward. I hope he gets with Manning during offseason and learns as much as possible. He seems he can be the next great QB at TN since him.

MBEACHVOL writes:

I really like Dooley, but I also really liked Buzz Peterson.

BigOrangeRock writes:

I really like Dooley. He was a huge hire for the BO. I think he is going to be better than Saban within 4 years! GO VOLS!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to KingFulmer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey, I got an idea. Take 7 of those tickets, go to a homeless shelter or something similar, and take 7 kids to a NCAA football game for free. That would make their year, even if its UT playing, and probably make you feel pretty good too.

rich182x writes:

in response to KingFulmer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh man, that is funny. I can laugh in hard times.

Terry12 writes:

I like coach Dooley,and what he has done for our team,I knew we were going to have a bad season after what kiffen did to us. But as I watch our guys grow, and watching them play, I have great hopes for next year, and for all of yall that call yourselves tn fans and want bad mouth our team and our coaches, why don't you go to another team were you can maybe be proud of,and just maybe say something good for a change. and for all of yall that don't want your tickets out there I know a bunch of true fans that do want them. GO VOLS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SilatGamecock writes:

Dooley is probably a good man, but a horrible coach.

USC played some shaddy football, but when they needed to salt the game away they ran out the clock on a 80 - some yard drive all on the ground. Sorta like UT used to do to USC years ago.

UT definately found its QB in Bray. He made some great passes while getting chased around. I don't have a dog in the fight, but after Simms' comments I would not let him back on the field. Even if he was getting hit almost every play, you can't call out your O-line and coach publicly.

SilatGamecock writes:

For all those that want to demonize Spurrier, just to glad he did not put in his freshman QB with ~2 minutes to go in the game and have him pass to the in zone (who could question letting a backup get playing time)or let Lattimore have another rushing TD. They ended the game around the 19 yard line. A 21-pt win probably would have looked batter to the poles.

OrangePride writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

For all those that want to demonize Spurrier, just to glad he did not put in his freshman QB with ~2 minutes to go in the game and have him pass to the in zone (who could question letting a backup get playing time)or let Lattimore have another rushing TD. They ended the game around the 19 yard line. A 21-pt win probably would have looked batter to the poles.

No question that USC made the plays when they had to and the running game was not really stopped all day. Although it wasn't your best game, you did what you had to do to win and continue a really fine (overdue) season. It was classy of Spurrier to just let the clock run out, but I think that had to do with the respect the coaches have for one another. So good luck with the rest of your season....we will see you next year in Knoxville and perhaps return the favor. GO VOLS!

SIMSVOL writes:

The VOLS are getting better, gaining experience with a team that is extremely young and talented. Next year will be much better. We have a great coach who is fired up and ready to bring the VOLS back to the top.

BamaVol writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

For all those that want to demonize Spurrier, just to glad he did not put in his freshman QB with ~2 minutes to go in the game and have him pass to the in zone (who could question letting a backup get playing time)or let Lattimore have another rushing TD. They ended the game around the 19 yard line. A 21-pt win probably would have looked batter to the poles.

He didn't do it because he has to come to Tn next year. He also knows Tn will be much better. He was thinking of himself not TN.

volsfannsc writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

Dooley is probably a good man, but a horrible coach.

USC played some shaddy football, but when they needed to salt the game away they ran out the clock on a 80 - some yard drive all on the ground. Sorta like UT used to do to USC years ago.

UT definately found its QB in Bray. He made some great passes while getting chased around. I don't have a dog in the fight, but after Simms' comments I would not let him back on the field. Even if he was getting hit almost every play, you can't call out your O-line and coach publicly.

First of all, congrats for a good win Saturday. This may well be the gamecock's year.

As far as Dooley being a horrible coach, I'm just not seeing it. Living in SC as I do, I have taken my brow beatings this weekend, but all die-hard fans told me that they thought had the game been played in Knoxville, the outcome may well have been different. They also complemented the Vols resiliency. Those traits dont come from horrible coaching. Maybe you should become a more gracious victor- it may help you when you play Clemson.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

They have improved, but so has everyone else.

These constant mistakes are killing us, though.

Remember the fumble by Simss when it was 3-3?? Same DE on same rush 4 straight plays??

Then, we had a receiver 'covered' up, so a big first down became a penalty.

Stuff like that is Fulmer-era play.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

oops...
'LATE Fulmer-era play'

even more accurate, 'Non-Cut Fulmer-era play'

wallingdad writes:

in response to KingFulmer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

that's funny.....i don't care who ya are!

TommyJack writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

For all those that want to demonize Spurrier, just to glad he did not put in his freshman QB with ~2 minutes to go in the game and have him pass to the in zone (who could question letting a backup get playing time)or let Lattimore have another rushing TD. They ended the game around the 19 yard line. A 21-pt win probably would have looked batter to the poles.

I was astounded he didn't call time to kick a FG.

TommyJack writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

Dooley is probably a good man, but a horrible coach.

USC played some shaddy football, but when they needed to salt the game away they ran out the clock on a 80 - some yard drive all on the ground. Sorta like UT used to do to USC years ago.

UT definately found its QB in Bray. He made some great passes while getting chased around. I don't have a dog in the fight, but after Simms' comments I would not let him back on the field. Even if he was getting hit almost every play, you can't call out your O-line and coach publicly.

the hayel is a silat?

DooleysOrangePants writes:

in response to KingFulmer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yeah thats why fulmer is on tv now. his teams couldnt stop anybody. if he was so great why arnt all the teams needing coaches lining up at his door?

hes gone. aint coming back. get over it.

LibertyVolance writes:

I really thought Denarius Moore and Greg Jones stepped up bigtime and made the kind of catches that bigtime receivers make. They seem to be in sync with both QBs and that was great. Hope we see Hunter and Rogers emulate them. I liked Rogers running the ball and thought Fugate did well in the backfield too. They have better size and run north/south w/o hesitation.

LibertyVolance writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Get out of town. You are part of the bitter bunch. The rest of us have moved on. We don't count victories unless they are reflected in the score. But we appreciate progress and we are seeing some worth talking about. If you are not having fun, then why put yourself through it?

easleychuck writes:

in response to SilatGamecock:

For all those that want to demonize Spurrier, just to glad he did not put in his freshman QB with ~2 minutes to go in the game and have him pass to the in zone (who could question letting a backup get playing time)or let Lattimore have another rushing TD. They ended the game around the 19 yard line. A 21-pt win probably would have looked batter to the poles.

Couple of comments directed at a school who has a football history that is on par with an empty suit.

Spurrier had his freshman RB in the game running the ball on the last drive. A RB coming off of a bad ankle sprain. Smart, real, smart.

He had his stud WR in the game also and that receiver limped off of the field. Would have served the coach but not the kid right if something had happened to the player.

Nobody tries to score in those situations with starters in the game. SC ran about 3 plays too many still trying to score compared to real programs that just take knees to close a win out.

The school and the program should try and act like they know how to act even though they have not ever been there.

Prediction is that UF will take Carolina down in the swamp. If Carolina does not win the East this year, please, pray tell me, when will they ever? Tough call who to pull against, Spurrier or Meyer. Couple of real, class acts there.

wallingdad writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you are obviously not a student of Tennessee football history. the Vols had power house teams in the 50's and late 60's. Battle took us back a lot but Majors did win several SEC championships. not to mention what the General gave us during his time (along with a national championship himself). all this before 93.

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to easleychuck:

Couple of comments directed at a school who has a football history that is on par with an empty suit.

Spurrier had his freshman RB in the game running the ball on the last drive. A RB coming off of a bad ankle sprain. Smart, real, smart.

He had his stud WR in the game also and that receiver limped off of the field. Would have served the coach but not the kid right if something had happened to the player.

Nobody tries to score in those situations with starters in the game. SC ran about 3 plays too many still trying to score compared to real programs that just take knees to close a win out.

The school and the program should try and act like they know how to act even though they have not ever been there.

Prediction is that UF will take Carolina down in the swamp. If Carolina does not win the East this year, please, pray tell me, when will they ever? Tough call who to pull against, Spurrier or Meyer. Couple of real, class acts there.

Someone I can agree with....But as much as I hate to do it, I gotta pull for the gators.

I am a gator hater only because of UT..I don't like the chickens because of UT and Clemson.

Chuck, seems like the folks in upstate SC are still pretty good people.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

Know what's odd??

How many times in preseason did people say "Bray will sit while he learns and while Simms takes the beating".

Well, here we are...and there it is.

Simms is a Rick Clausen type: tough, works hard, but he is missing one thing: the passer's instinct. He is adequate....and if Matt where playing for Bama, he'd be doing just fine.

Secondly, the October schued looked horrible...fact is, we should have won 1, and maybe 2 games.

The surprise: how well we've hung around in the first 2 quarters of games.

The rest of the year:
All winnable games. BUT, we are a young team, and sometimes those teams don't "bring it" when they are playing a non-ranked team.

My hope is that bowl motivation will be enough to keep them focused.

lyons1960#229889 writes:

Good start and if he could use 13 players every time (and not get caught) we can win a lotof games.

mercyseat writes:

I hope Dooley's comment about Kentucky was'nt an ominous sign. It also sounded like he expects Kentucky to beat us. Hope I'm wrong but he has'nt displayed "much faith" in his comments at all in any of the games, leaving me to wonder maybe he does'nt know how to instill a winning attitude into our players. Our kids are smart and I'm sure they can "read between the lines" in some of his messages.

easleychuck writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

Someone I can agree with....But as much as I hate to do it, I gotta pull for the gators.

I am a gator hater only because of UT..I don't like the chickens because of UT and Clemson.

Chuck, seems like the folks in upstate SC are still pretty good people.

Thanks, Clemson, for the kind comments. I, too, will most likely pull for UF. We live about 1 1/2 miles from 123 and we pull for Clemson in the state dust-ups. Can't pull for the chickens, especially with Spurrier as the coach. He took too many shots over the years at UT.

SilatGamecock writes:

in response to volsfannsc:

First of all, congrats for a good win Saturday. This may well be the gamecock's year.

As far as Dooley being a horrible coach, I'm just not seeing it. Living in SC as I do, I have taken my brow beatings this weekend, but all die-hard fans told me that they thought had the game been played in Knoxville, the outcome may well have been different. They also complemented the Vols resiliency. Those traits dont come from horrible coaching. Maybe you should become a more gracious victor- it may help you when you play Clemson.

I am in Greenville SC this week and listen to talk sports radio when on the road and I have heard NO ONE say they thought UT would have had a chance if the game was played in Knoxville. People are just amazed the DBack are not playing better the last three games.

What I have heard today is wheither Dado (Clemson) will ever be a winning coach and if he is any better than Tommy was. Driving through Knoxville Sunday night I heard the same converstation on Sports Radio concerning Dooley.

SilatGamecock writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED:

Someone I can agree with....But as much as I hate to do it, I gotta pull for the gators.

I am a gator hater only because of UT..I don't like the chickens because of UT and Clemson.

Chuck, seems like the folks in upstate SC are still pretty good people.

Are there two programs in bigger tail spins - Clemson and UT. At least UT is in a real conference and has a history of winning ( going back a lot of years ), unlike Clemson on both accounts. At least Dabo has won a few games as a D-1 coach unlike Dooley.

easleychuck writes:

South Carolina's lack of success against a program in a tailspin (Clemson) has been less than stellar. If form holds, the chickens will crawl out of town minus a few feathers this season even though Clemson is really struggling.

Again, Carolina has it all in front of them to finally win something (the East). If they are as wonderful as their fans think, they should handle UF. I would not bank on it.

They are afterall, still the chickens.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features