Strange: A look at Tide's 10-year wipeout

Mike Strange

As Tennessee football studies how to climb out of the valley, it can't help but look at the team on the peak.

Conveniently, that team is on the visitors sideline at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Where Tennessee unhappily resides at the moment on college football's topographical map, Alabama has been there, done that.

In the 10-year span between Gene Stallings' retirement (1996) and Nick Saban's arrival (2007), Alabama stumbled through four coaches and various indignities.

The Tide had four losing seasons and a major NCAA probation. A seven-year losing streak to UT was followed by a six-year run of losses to Auburn.

"It was miserable,'' said Gene Chunn, president of Alabama's East Tennessee alumni chapter, "especially living in Knoxville and having family that went to Auburn.''

Executive sports editor Tommy Deas this summer chronicled Alabama's journey from Bear Bryant to Saban in The Tuscaloosa News. The stretch between Stallings and Saban was particularly painful.

"Alabama fans have always expected success,'' Deas said. "It was like the 40-year march through the desert for them.''

Alabama's desert looked not so different from Tennessee's.

Both were hurt by a rash of coaching changes - Tennessee had three coaches in 14 months, Alabama three in seven months.

Both were angered when they were dumped by a coach - Tennessee by Lane Kiffin, Alabama by Dennis Franchione.

Both had to make a quick hire - Derek Dooley by Tennessee in 2010, Mike Shula by Alabama in 2003 - and were swayed in part by the family tree of the candidate.

Both have played short-handed - Tennessee because of attrition, Alabama because of NCAA sanctions.

Alabama eventually righted the ship and has added another national title to the trophy case. Tennessee is still too early in the process to project championships, especially with its own NCAA investigation unresolved.

Observers of the Alabama ordeal generally agree the darkest hour came in the summer of 2003.

Franchione had bailed for Texas A&M after going 10-3 in 2002. The fan base was incredulous anyone would leave Alabama. The Tide hired Mike Price from Washington State.

"He was another outsider,'' said The Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky, "but he won the press conference when he said his ambition was to be the second-greatest coach in Alabama history.''

That's all Price won. He never coached a game. He was fired in May after a spree in a Pensacola topless bar.

"At that point,'' Chunn recalled, "you wondered how could the state of Alabama football be this low?

"How did we allow it to get that bad?''

Enter Shula, with good bloodlines but no head-coaching experience.

"He looked like a deer in the headlights,'' Scarbinsky said.

Shula lasted four seasons. Deas believes that at 26-23, he did a fair job with the hand he was dealt. So does Chunn:

"He filled an important gap. We probably needed a face-lift more than wins.''

Saban's arrival in 2007 meant both credibility and wins.

"Hiring Saban,'' said Deas, "changed things not only on the field but it also changed the fan base's mentality.''

Saban's first year was only a modest success and included a loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Since then, however, the Tide is 32-3.

The Vols couldn't hire Saban. Interestingly, they chose Dooley, one of his proteges.

Perhaps, they're hoping, that's one more common link in this story - the way out of the desert.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com or 865-342-6276.

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Comments » 50

scvols writes:

I hope Dooley is not their Shula, I do like him as our coach.

UTME06 writes:

Sigh.

I don't know if Dooley will win us an NC, or even an SEC championship. But, I know he will make us a better team before it's over with... we will have a team that has no showing in the fulmer cup, and it's been a long time since we could say that. Sucks to know that we are on the front end of a 3-5 year project.

Next year will be better though. a 6-8 win season... which will feel darn good after this year. Although, all hope is not lost... we could still pull an upset (SC) if we can gain some confidence this week.

Let's get up and lay some hurt on a weaker-than-advertised bammer. (well, not that much weaker... but you know what I'm saying)

NoSirRee writes:

I know how Alabama got out of their slump. They finally spent big money on a coach.

Southland writes:

They didn't remind Bama that Bill Curry told the Bama faithful to kiss his backside and left for Ky and Stallings won the NC with his players and then got them on probation. Whenever you want to remember stupid remember Dubose as the coach of Bama.

Southland writes:

in response to NoSirRee:

I know how Alabama got out of their slump. They finally spent big money on a coach.

yeah boy that is the answer for everything. How did that work out for Notre Dame the past four years???? Those super bowl rings and the four million dollar salary did Notre Dame a lot of good didn't it. They buy out cost them 9 or 10 million. Come on man use your noggin. Hiring a good coach isnt easy because there are not that many of them.

MothershipChip writes:

Dooley will be better than Shula, nuff said.

NoSirRee writes:

in response to Southland:

yeah boy that is the answer for everything. How did that work out for Notre Dame the past four years???? Those super bowl rings and the four million dollar salary did Notre Dame a lot of good didn't it. They buy out cost them 9 or 10 million. Come on man use your noggin. Hiring a good coach isnt easy because there are not that many of them.

Poor example, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to NoSirRee:

I know how Alabama got out of their slump. They finally spent big money on a coach.

Saban is not 'a coach'. In the college ranks, he has proven his ability at 3 separate schools.

He is unique.

You even begin to wonder about Meyer: Tebow really saved his a##.

I cannot think of any other coaches who can do what Saban has done. Tell you what, you find one, and trip on over to Jimmy Haslem's office and get Jimmy to hire him.

flatrock writes:

The UT coaching job is much, much tougher than Alabama's- and the so-called "big-name" coaches
know the difference. I am not sure why the state
turns out so few football prospects- but it does.
and, to make matters worse, the best athletes
reside in Memphis which happens to be about
5 hours closer to Tuscaloosa than Knoxville.

Derek Dooley is the right man for the job- but
it will be a slow rebound. Dig in, Vol fans!

bhkidd#292186 writes:

Karma bit Alabama a little in the mid to late 90s. The way that fan base treated Bill Curry was shameful. His last season, 1989, he had a 10-2 record, and his only losses were to a top ten Auburn team and the eventual national champion Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl. He brought them back to respectability after Ray Perkins had let things slide due to his pine-board personality and NFL mindset. Rumor had it that the Alabama athletic board was secretly meeting with Gene Stallings during October of 1989, when Alabama had taken their record to 7-0. Gene Stallings should send him a Christmas card every year for the 1992 National Championship, which was won with Curry recruits. But no, he was not a Bama boy from the Bryant coaching tree. Even when he was undefeated, the Bammers were calling for his head. In January 1990, Curry told them to kiss off and went to Kentucky. Probably the best day of his life.

CCLC writes:

Interesting article. I've often thought that Shula and Dooley mirrored one another..........consider.
Shula - 1.Played HS ball in Miami lead his team to a State Championship (Father was a HC ;-)coached in Miami it was a pro team , but many expected him to play his college ball in Florida some say he wanted some space . Went out of state to Alabama , played 3 years…not a great player but played with heart. Short career in pro’s.
2. Coached as an assistant at Miami Dophins, was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay made it to NFC playoffs under Dungy. Became Head Coach for Alabama ..6 year deal 5.4 million.

Dooley- 1. Played his HS ball in Athens and helped lead his team to a State Championship(Father was a HC for a college team. Many expected him to play his college ball in Georgia …some say he wanted some space. Went out of state to Virginia , walked on yet earned a scholarship. Not a great player but played with heart. No pro career.
2. Assistant coach for LSU/Saban, went with Saban to Miami Dolphins for two years. Hired as hc and latert HC/AD LaTech. Became HC at Tennessee 4.5 mil for 4 years????(guessing here)’

Other than the type of experience although I would say that Shula NFL O coordinator is at least as respectable as Dooley’s HC position at LaTech. --they are very similar and have a lot in common. I would give Shula the edge in football experience .
Just sayin’.

vol88 writes:

I will never forget where I was when the Mike Price stripper story broke. Good times, good times.

scvol12 writes:

Why look at a bad transition example like Alabama? Should we not look at Auburn who changed their coach the same time we fired Fulmer. Their transition has gone well because they picked a coach with some experience AND who actually fit culturally. UT picked a punk kid who did not care about our traditions and history. As they say the rest is history. I just hope it does not take ten years.

volcycle writes:

in response to CCLC:

Interesting article. I've often thought that Shula and Dooley mirrored one another..........consider.
Shula - 1.Played HS ball in Miami lead his team to a State Championship (Father was a HC ;-)coached in Miami it was a pro team , but many expected him to play his college ball in Florida some say he wanted some space . Went out of state to Alabama , played 3 years…not a great player but played with heart. Short career in pro’s.
2. Coached as an assistant at Miami Dophins, was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay made it to NFC playoffs under Dungy. Became Head Coach for Alabama ..6 year deal 5.4 million.

Dooley- 1. Played his HS ball in Athens and helped lead his team to a State Championship(Father was a HC for a college team. Many expected him to play his college ball in Georgia …some say he wanted some space. Went out of state to Virginia , walked on yet earned a scholarship. Not a great player but played with heart. No pro career.
2. Assistant coach for LSU/Saban, went with Saban to Miami Dolphins for two years. Hired as hc and latert HC/AD LaTech. Became HC at Tennessee 4.5 mil for 4 years????(guessing here)’

Other than the type of experience although I would say that Shula NFL O coordinator is at least as respectable as Dooley’s HC position at LaTech. --they are very similar and have a lot in common. I would give Shula the edge in football experience .
Just sayin’.

You left out...earned a college degree and practiced law for a few years. Indicating that Dooley is not just a coach, but a highly intelligent one at that.

vol88 writes:

in response to bhkidd#292186:

Karma bit Alabama a little in the mid to late 90s. The way that fan base treated Bill Curry was shameful. His last season, 1989, he had a 10-2 record, and his only losses were to a top ten Auburn team and the eventual national champion Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl. He brought them back to respectability after Ray Perkins had let things slide due to his pine-board personality and NFL mindset. Rumor had it that the Alabama athletic board was secretly meeting with Gene Stallings during October of 1989, when Alabama had taken their record to 7-0. Gene Stallings should send him a Christmas card every year for the 1992 National Championship, which was won with Curry recruits. But no, he was not a Bama boy from the Bryant coaching tree. Even when he was undefeated, the Bammers were calling for his head. In January 1990, Curry told them to kiss off and went to Kentucky. Probably the best day of his life.

100% true.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, that CC guy (ZZ) took up a lot of space to say absolutely nothing relevant.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to NoSirRee:

Poor example, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

Why is it a poor example? Weiss was the next coming of Knute Rockney and he turned out terrible. So it is a perfect example of throwing money at a problem with a terrible result.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to flatrock:

The UT coaching job is much, much tougher than Alabama's- and the so-called "big-name" coaches
know the difference. I am not sure why the state
turns out so few football prospects- but it does.
and, to make matters worse, the best athletes
reside in Memphis which happens to be about
5 hours closer to Tuscaloosa than Knoxville.

Derek Dooley is the right man for the job- but
it will be a slow rebound. Dig in, Vol fans!

The state turns out fewer propects because of the ridiculous practice rules set forth by the idiocy that is the TSSAA.

Bellem13 writes:

I've been around since the early 50,s. Seen a lot come and go. While traveling I75N from FL yesterday I was remembering the "days gone by", Andy Kozar, Johnny Majors, Doug Adkins, Curt Watson, Philip Fulmer, and all the other GREAT ones. Coaches and players come and go, BUT our UT Vols are here to stay. I HATE "fly-by" fair weather fans.

I think we have a coach with integrity and intelligence. He will do a good job at UT.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to CCLC:

Interesting article. I've often thought that Shula and Dooley mirrored one another..........consider.
Shula - 1.Played HS ball in Miami lead his team to a State Championship (Father was a HC ;-)coached in Miami it was a pro team , but many expected him to play his college ball in Florida some say he wanted some space . Went out of state to Alabama , played 3 years…not a great player but played with heart. Short career in pro’s.
2. Coached as an assistant at Miami Dophins, was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay made it to NFC playoffs under Dungy. Became Head Coach for Alabama ..6 year deal 5.4 million.

Dooley- 1. Played his HS ball in Athens and helped lead his team to a State Championship(Father was a HC for a college team. Many expected him to play his college ball in Georgia …some say he wanted some space. Went out of state to Virginia , walked on yet earned a scholarship. Not a great player but played with heart. No pro career.
2. Assistant coach for LSU/Saban, went with Saban to Miami Dolphins for two years. Hired as hc and latert HC/AD LaTech. Became HC at Tennessee 4.5 mil for 4 years????(guessing here)’

Other than the type of experience although I would say that Shula NFL O coordinator is at least as respectable as Dooley’s HC position at LaTech. --they are very similar and have a lot in common. I would give Shula the edge in football experience .
Just sayin’.

Seems as though all you are good for these days is posting something stupid one time and then doing a "copy/paste" of that post to every thread on this site.
We've seen this "post" for about 2 weeks now.

CCLC writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That wasn't a slam on Dooley, although I see now how it might have been interpreted as one. I thought it interesting the parallel between the two. However, what Saban disciples are succeeding on their own? I thought they were all assistants... Dooley is the one on his "own". I'm assuming you are referring to Muschamp, Smart. Smart and Muchamp were Georgia boys as was Dooley, Smart and Mushchamp were players at UGA, Smart and Dooley were grad assistants at UGA, Smart was an assistant coach at UGA. All three played HS ball in Georgia. All three are coaching at major SEC programs with huge traditions.
just sayin'

CCLC writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Seems as though all you are good for these days is posting something stupid one time and then doing a "copy/paste" of that post to every thread on this site.
We've seen this "post" for about 2 weeks now.

I thought it relevant to the post and an interesting parallel. Not everyone has seen it....maybe you might enjoy it twice.
just sayin'

CCLC writes:

in response to Bellem13:

I've been around since the early 50,s. Seen a lot come and go. While traveling I75N from FL yesterday I was remembering the "days gone by", Andy Kozar, Johnny Majors, Doug Adkins, Curt Watson, Philip Fulmer, and all the other GREAT ones. Coaches and players come and go, BUT our UT Vols are here to stay. I HATE "fly-by" fair weather fans.

I think we have a coach with integrity and intelligence. He will do a good job at UT.

When was the last time Georgia, Tennessee and Florida were all unranked and SC was.

CCLC writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hah! Don't know how I missed that. I actually take that paper. LOL. Thanks!

10SCVOL writes:

in response to vol88:

I will never forget where I was when the Mike Price stripper story broke. Good times, good times.

Love it!

cjones72 writes:

What i want to know is where is vandygrad ? He must be licking his wounds after georgia whipped em like a redheaded step child . At least we got 2 TDS on em.

skol writes:

Oklahoma is another example of a program that had its wilderness years and maybe as appropriate as Alabama as an example. Switzer ran a remarkable program in the 70's, but managed to have the program tread water and be on a downward trend for much of the 80's (and sanctions came as well at the end). Similar to the Fulmer story. OU then brought in Garry Gibbs who restored some stability, but expectations were for better than 8-3 records and losses to Texas. So, Gibbs goes and OU had a 4 or 5 year run of false starts and losing records before they found renewed success under Stoops.

What does that say about Dooley? Not much, but that was the point of this article right? Dooley may be Tennessee's Garry Gibbs, or maybe, if Tennessee prays real hard, UT will move quickly through the wilderness years and Dooley'll be a Saban or Stoops. Or maybe, to pull in the Franchione angle, Dooley can be UT's version of Gary Patterson at TCU as the post-Kiffen savior.

CCLC writes:

Vanderbilt still controls its own destiny despite taking a 43-point jackhammering from a Georgia team that somehow does not control its own destiny, but that Georgia team, despite having just recently snapped their worst losing streak in 20 years, is still tied with the Florida team that was last year's runaway division champion. And then there's Tennessee at the bottom, still awaiting their first conference win -- but at the rate things are going, can anyone say with any degree of certainty that they won't be right back in the thick of it in just a couple weeks?

Ralph_Crampton writes:

The jury is still out on Dooley....Coaches do not by themselves make a winner...everyone is unique.Recruiting is the number one thing that must be done. Fulmer for a time had that ability, he could manage to get into the recruits home, come off like Hoss on Ponderosa and everyone just loved him..of course he got the player he was after. That was his MO for several years, but, he seemed to lose his touch about two to three years after VOL won national title...his salary went from about 180 thousand to $2 million after winning championship. The Vols' recruiting began to slip....Multimillionaire Fulmer tired of head-to-head recruiting passed the main recruiting over to his staff who could not get it done, although they tried hard...but there was only one Fulmer who could talk and impress the recruit and his family and at the same time occasionally enjoy a barbecue dinner. This is how Tennessee got those huge linemen, the first round pro picks..in 1999, six of the top linemen were tabbed as first rounders in pro draft....before you say it...would you or me do any different if we became a millionaire over night? Most of us have good intentions, we would do the same thing. Don't deny it. His character cannot be touched.

CCLC writes:

in response to Ralph_Crampton:

The jury is still out on Dooley....Coaches do not by themselves make a winner...everyone is unique.Recruiting is the number one thing that must be done. Fulmer for a time had that ability, he could manage to get into the recruits home, come off like Hoss on Ponderosa and everyone just loved him..of course he got the player he was after. That was his MO for several years, but, he seemed to lose his touch about two to three years after VOL won national title...his salary went from about 180 thousand to $2 million after winning championship. The Vols' recruiting began to slip....Multimillionaire Fulmer tired of head-to-head recruiting passed the main recruiting over to his staff who could not get it done, although they tried hard...but there was only one Fulmer who could talk and impress the recruit and his family and at the same time occasionally enjoy a barbecue dinner. This is how Tennessee got those huge linemen, the first round pro picks..in 1999, six of the top linemen were tabbed as first rounders in pro draft....before you say it...would you or me do any different if we became a millionaire over night? Most of us have good intentions, we would do the same thing. Don't deny it. His character cannot be touched.

I guess based on your post we will be renaming the "Fulmer Cup"? Any suggestions?

VOLliven2it writes:

There are so many places we just can't go on Derek Dooley at this point. We can all project etc. But only time will really tell where we go with him as head coach. One thing is for sure, this year will be a tough one. We can hope to win our last 4 and go to a bowl game. I for one am concerned that if that happens, we might get handed our rear ends by a team we ordinarily could handle with ease. I would, however, rather have that chance at season's end.
I am so tired of all the comparisons. Let Coach Dooley be who he is. If he doesn't work out, let's all go after Hammy's head(figuratively of course no violence). But my worst case scenario is to receive sanctions along with what we are already having to battle. Remember, we will likely NOT be back at full strength next season as we all would like to be. So hang in there fans. Meanwhile, I see a Tide rising in the south. Get ready guys and give those crimsonians all they want. Some of we fans are ALL FOR YOU AND WANT YOU TO GIVE YOUR ALL FOR TENNESSEE!

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

The state turns out fewer propects because of the ridiculous practice rules set forth by the idiocy that is the TSSAA.

mule, back 100 year or so ago, I did winter program and spring practice in Tenn.

I now live in area that does not have spring practice (do not know about winter program), but still turns out a fair amount of good football players.

A LOT of football really comes down to strength, speed, and quickness. That is why off-season workouts are so crucial. It's also why you see so many kids who take a while to adjust to college ball...they need that college strength program.

With all these words: I hated lifting, loved playing ball!!!

easleychuck writes:

in response to Ralph_Crampton:

The jury is still out on Dooley....Coaches do not by themselves make a winner...everyone is unique.Recruiting is the number one thing that must be done. Fulmer for a time had that ability, he could manage to get into the recruits home, come off like Hoss on Ponderosa and everyone just loved him..of course he got the player he was after. That was his MO for several years, but, he seemed to lose his touch about two to three years after VOL won national title...his salary went from about 180 thousand to $2 million after winning championship. The Vols' recruiting began to slip....Multimillionaire Fulmer tired of head-to-head recruiting passed the main recruiting over to his staff who could not get it done, although they tried hard...but there was only one Fulmer who could talk and impress the recruit and his family and at the same time occasionally enjoy a barbecue dinner. This is how Tennessee got those huge linemen, the first round pro picks..in 1999, six of the top linemen were tabbed as first rounders in pro draft....before you say it...would you or me do any different if we became a millionaire over night? Most of us have good intentions, we would do the same thing. Don't deny it. His character cannot be touched.

David Cutcliffe left, returned, and left again is a better barometer of Fulmer's success and demise at UT.

easleychuck writes:

in response to CCLC:

Interesting article. I've often thought that Shula and Dooley mirrored one another..........consider.
Shula - 1.Played HS ball in Miami lead his team to a State Championship (Father was a HC ;-)coached in Miami it was a pro team , but many expected him to play his college ball in Florida some say he wanted some space . Went out of state to Alabama , played 3 years…not a great player but played with heart. Short career in pro’s.
2. Coached as an assistant at Miami Dophins, was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay made it to NFC playoffs under Dungy. Became Head Coach for Alabama ..6 year deal 5.4 million.

Dooley- 1. Played his HS ball in Athens and helped lead his team to a State Championship(Father was a HC for a college team. Many expected him to play his college ball in Georgia …some say he wanted some space. Went out of state to Virginia , walked on yet earned a scholarship. Not a great player but played with heart. No pro career.
2. Assistant coach for LSU/Saban, went with Saban to Miami Dolphins for two years. Hired as hc and latert HC/AD LaTech. Became HC at Tennessee 4.5 mil for 4 years????(guessing here)’

Other than the type of experience although I would say that Shula NFL O coordinator is at least as respectable as Dooley’s HC position at LaTech. --they are very similar and have a lot in common. I would give Shula the edge in football experience .
Just sayin’.

A gallon of milk goes for around $3. A loaf of bread is about $2.

Brings about as much to the discussion as the dribble above.

Just sayin'.

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to NoSirRee:

Poor example, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

I think it is a great example. Weis actually had a better pedigree than Saban did. His "decided schematic advantage" backfired for the golden domers. Throwing a ton of cash at Saban obviously worked for Bama but is no guarantee. If you don't like that example then show me another example where throwing 4 million plus at a new coach has worked in college.

CCLC writes:

in response to easleychuck:

A gallon of milk goes for around $3. A loaf of bread is about $2.

Brings about as much to the discussion as the dribble above.

Just sayin'.

WELL THEN DRIBBLE ME THIS:Just a few weeks ago, Georgia fans -- myself included -- were convinced that our team sucked and the universe was imploding. Now it turns out that it was just the SEC East imploding, and while our team may yet be no better than mediocre, that still might be enough to win the damn thing. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, and in the land that's doing a bang-up impression of the ACC at the moment, the one-eyed man who's just pantsed two straight conference opponents by an aggregate score of 84-14 is no less worthy of wearing the crown than anyone else. Unofficial Tennessee State Champion= GEORGIA.....we friends now?
Just sayin' again! You might want to get up off my azz before I hurt your feelings.

AVOL4EVR2 writes:

in response to CCLC:

Interesting article. I've often thought that Shula and Dooley mirrored one another..........consider.
Shula - 1.Played HS ball in Miami lead his team to a State Championship (Father was a HC ;-)coached in Miami it was a pro team , but many expected him to play his college ball in Florida some say he wanted some space . Went out of state to Alabama , played 3 years…not a great player but played with heart. Short career in pro’s.
2. Coached as an assistant at Miami Dophins, was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay made it to NFC playoffs under Dungy. Became Head Coach for Alabama ..6 year deal 5.4 million.

Dooley- 1. Played his HS ball in Athens and helped lead his team to a State Championship(Father was a HC for a college team. Many expected him to play his college ball in Georgia …some say he wanted some space. Went out of state to Virginia , walked on yet earned a scholarship. Not a great player but played with heart. No pro career.
2. Assistant coach for LSU/Saban, went with Saban to Miami Dolphins for two years. Hired as hc and latert HC/AD LaTech. Became HC at Tennessee 4.5 mil for 4 years????(guessing here)’

Other than the type of experience although I would say that Shula NFL O coordinator is at least as respectable as Dooley’s HC position at LaTech. --they are very similar and have a lot in common. I would give Shula the edge in football experience .
Just sayin’.

What are you drinking....Just give him a few years and you will see... I've got your back CDD. "just saying"

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

in response to scvol12:

Why look at a bad transition example like Alabama? Should we not look at Auburn who changed their coach the same time we fired Fulmer. Their transition has gone well because they picked a coach with some experience AND who actually fit culturally. UT picked a punk kid who did not care about our traditions and history. As they say the rest is history. I just hope it does not take ten years.

I have thought about how Auburn and Tennessee were similar 2 years ago but I really believe Fulmer left the cupboard a lot more bare than Tubberville did at Auburn and they did not have the Lane Kiffin fiasco. I still say Mike Hamilton should be fired if for nothing else than the hiring of Lane Kiffin. I still believe we would have been better off to let Fulmer get the 28 wins he needed to break Neyland's record as the winningest coach at Tennessee then had a back up plan or coach in waiting. I believe Fulmer would be back to 7-9 wins a year so in 3-4 years he would have had the record and we would have looked better nationally and would not have had a full blown rebuilding job. Again just my take. I still wish we would move to the ACC or Big East and be where could play for a National Championship more regularly. It is not fun being in the toughest conference when your on the bottom and that is where we are now whether fans like it or not.

CCLC writes:

in response to AVOL4EVR2:

What are you drinking....Just give him a few years and you will see... I've got your back CDD. "just saying"

Whatever would the State of Tennessee do ....without
GEORGIA??????
just sayin'

AVOL4EVR2 writes:

in response to CCLC:

When was the last time Georgia, Tennessee and Florida were all unranked and SC was.

Never before.....That is scarrrrry!!!!

JohnBravo writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry to disappoint but there are more than just one of us...

Now don't get mad. I don't come on here and say bad things about UT. Like most Bama fans, I respect the Volunteers. I hate 'em, but I respect 'em.

Seems to me the writer was just trying to show folks that while things have gotten pretty low for the Vols, they could be worse (I really think Bama's low point was worse that what Tennessee's has been) and with solid coaching & recruiting, UT can be a contender once again.

Good luck on Saturday.

bhkidd#292186 writes:

in response to wallandhiker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Middle Tennessee has more Alabama fans than Tennessee fans due to geography and the great Alabama diaspora of the 80s and 90s. A large number of North Alabamians had to migrate from places like Decatur, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Huntsville, and Birmingham after N. Alabama died economically. Union Carbide and Ford left the Shoals in 1983 (5100 jobs), Monsanto left Decatur(2500 jobs), the steel mills in Birmingham closed (close to 10000 jobs), and NASA downsized in Huntsville (2000 jobs) in the 1980s. NAFTA shipped the rest of their jobs out of the country in the 1990s. Many Bama people in Mid Tenn, especially in Nashville.

bhkidd#292186 writes:

in response to Ralph_Crampton:

The jury is still out on Dooley....Coaches do not by themselves make a winner...everyone is unique.Recruiting is the number one thing that must be done. Fulmer for a time had that ability, he could manage to get into the recruits home, come off like Hoss on Ponderosa and everyone just loved him..of course he got the player he was after. That was his MO for several years, but, he seemed to lose his touch about two to three years after VOL won national title...his salary went from about 180 thousand to $2 million after winning championship. The Vols' recruiting began to slip....Multimillionaire Fulmer tired of head-to-head recruiting passed the main recruiting over to his staff who could not get it done, although they tried hard...but there was only one Fulmer who could talk and impress the recruit and his family and at the same time occasionally enjoy a barbecue dinner. This is how Tennessee got those huge linemen, the first round pro picks..in 1999, six of the top linemen were tabbed as first rounders in pro draft....before you say it...would you or me do any different if we became a millionaire over night? Most of us have good intentions, we would do the same thing. Don't deny it. His character cannot be touched.

IMHO, I think age and the desire to spend time with his family was what caught up to Fulmer. If you look at it, the "slide" (if you want to call it that) occurred as his daughters went through their teen years and college years. He spent a lot of that time at swim meets and softball games that his daughters were involved in. I really can't blame the guy for delegating. He also started approaching 60, and everyone slows down at that age. I might get blasted for saying this, but UT did fire him 11 months after a SEC Championship appearance, and that seemed kinda wrong to me. It was obvious that we had hit a down cycle, but he did put up nine and ten seasons between the two 5-7 campaigns. IMHO, he should have gotten 2009 to try and fix what was ailing them, which was Dave Clawson's offense.

CCLC writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

whoa...not prudent! You might want to keep that under you hat.]
just sayin'.

smokies_old_soul writes:

in response to flatrock:

The UT coaching job is much, much tougher than Alabama's- and the so-called "big-name" coaches
know the difference. I am not sure why the state
turns out so few football prospects- but it does.
and, to make matters worse, the best athletes
reside in Memphis which happens to be about
5 hours closer to Tuscaloosa than Knoxville.

Derek Dooley is the right man for the job- but
it will be a slow rebound. Dig in, Vol fans!

you don't know why the state of tennessee produces so many less D-1 athletes than alabama, georgia or florida ?? are you really that clueless ??

it's all demographics - as in black population. ya know, like down memphis way and down in alabama and georgia and florida and not in east tennessee.

are you that dumb or just too afraid someone will call you a racist for stating a very simple reality.

secfan44 writes:

in response to flatrock:

The UT coaching job is much, much tougher than Alabama's- and the so-called "big-name" coaches
know the difference. I am not sure why the state
turns out so few football prospects- but it does.
and, to make matters worse, the best athletes
reside in Memphis which happens to be about
5 hours closer to Tuscaloosa than Knoxville.

Derek Dooley is the right man for the job- but
it will be a slow rebound. Dig in, Vol fans!

Are you serious? Alabama is exponentially a tougher a place to coach than TN. Start with the magnitude of Bear Bryant. UT has no coach that can hold a candle to him. Then look at the number of SEC and NC's compared to UT's. Finally, there's the white hot intensity of an instate rivalry like Auburn. There really is no comparison with ANY SEC team and probably only Notre Dame on a national basis. You need to come down out of the mountains every once in a while and mingle with humans.

bhkidd#292186 writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why are you abusing the guy so bad for stating his opinion. To a lot of people, the past is looking a whole lot better than the present or future right now. I just want to see improvement in the program, but a lot of people around here still respect Phillip Fulmer for his body of work while at UT. Why not join them, even if you thought he should go, in thanking CPF for making NC expectations possible. We should appreciate what we had, and hope for good results in the future. CPF did put a crystal football in the trophy case and deserves more respect than he has been shown lately.

bhkidd#292186 writes:

in response to secfan44:

Are you serious? Alabama is exponentially a tougher a place to coach than TN. Start with the magnitude of Bear Bryant. UT has no coach that can hold a candle to him. Then look at the number of SEC and NC's compared to UT's. Finally, there's the white hot intensity of an instate rivalry like Auburn. There really is no comparison with ANY SEC team and probably only Notre Dame on a national basis. You need to come down out of the mountains every once in a while and mingle with humans.

Being a Vol fan from NW Alabama, I can say with certainty that UT is an infinitely harder job than UA. In Alabama, HS football is a religion, with 10,000 seat stadiums full every Friday night in a lot of places. Everybody in town wants to be there, and the parents push participation. It is also the reason that there are so many good HS bands in Alabama. In most towns, HS football is the only thing to do in town. In Tennessee, HS football is only taken seriously in about 6 places in the state (Memphis, Murfreesboro, Johnson City, Anderson County, Gallatin, and Jackson). In Nashville, an average game might draw 500 people, and that is if there is not something better to do in town. Also, the TSSAA has placed such draconian restrictions on practice and player development that our in-state talent level is negligible. The biggest reservoir of football talent in the state, Memphis, is much closer to Tuscaloosa, Oxford, Starkville, Murfeesboro, and Fayetteville than it is to Knoxville. CPF spent lots of time in SC, NC, Florida, Georgia, and California just to get the talent to compete. Alabama could field a team of 85 FBS ready players solely from Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, North Jackson County (Stevenson-big football hotbed), Town Creek, Decatur, and Huntsville.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to bhkidd#292186:

Why are you abusing the guy so bad for stating his opinion. To a lot of people, the past is looking a whole lot better than the present or future right now. I just want to see improvement in the program, but a lot of people around here still respect Phillip Fulmer for his body of work while at UT. Why not join them, even if you thought he should go, in thanking CPF for making NC expectations possible. We should appreciate what we had, and hope for good results in the future. CPF did put a crystal football in the trophy case and deserves more respect than he has been shown lately.

VNHF is a Grade A moron. His schtick is to bash ANYTHING not Phil Fulmer, usually with a sprinkle of idiocy.
pl3 has consistently called him out on that. Go back and read VNHF posts. You'll see why.

CCLC writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

VNHF is a Grade A moron. His schtick is to bash ANYTHING not Phil Fulmer, usually with a sprinkle of idiocy.
pl3 has consistently called him out on that. Go back and read VNHF posts. You'll see why.

....me thinks mule has a crush on pl3.
just sayin'.

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