Tennessee Stat Book
CBS sports broadcaster Tim Brando gives a thumbs-up for Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley.
Brando, who is studio host of CBS Football Today, said during a media teleconference Monday that Dooley is the right man for the UT job.
Certainly that topic will be discussed today (TV: WVLT, 3:30 p.m.) when UT plays host to Florida in an SEC game at Neyland Stadium.
"This challenge for (Dooley) is one that I think he can handle," Brando said. "If the concern with Tennessee is, 'Is Derek Dooley up to the challenge?' then I think that's a very easy question to answer.
"It's yes, he's capable of handling what's in front of him, but I mean, the deck is stacked, and fans of Tennessee, if they don't understand that, then you know what, then you're living in a fog because there was a lot of movement in the aftermath of the Lane Kiffin exit and I think that's been well-documented, but he took a program that not only didn't have players, but didn't have a lot of support and improved it in both areas by the time he left."
Kiffin was hired as UT's coach in late November of 2008, not long after Phillip Fulmer was fired. Kiffin left UT last January for the Southern California job and was replaced by Dooley.
Fulmer, now a studio analyst for CBS College Sports, was on the teleconference when Brando made the comments about Dooley and Kiffin.
Fulmer, who has supported UT's hiring of Dooley, didn't respond to Brando's comments, nor was he asked to respond.
Brando said he was impressed with the job that Dooley did as head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he was 17-20 in three seasons, including 4-8 in 2009.
"I've gotten a good look at Derek's first three years at Louisiana Tech, and I realize that the stage is different in Knoxville than it is in Ruston, Louisiana, but Derek is up to the challenge of going out and coaching a team that's outmanned in both leagues," Brando said.
"He did all of that last year with a MASH unit at Louisiana Tech. He didn't win a lot of games last year but he was competitive in just about all of them including one in Baton Rouge in the SEC against LSU and one against Boise State at home on a Thursday night."
CBS's Gary Danielson, who will be the analyst for today's game, said during the teleconference that UT must overcome a lack of stability in the coaching staff - particularly at offensive coordinator - that began several years ago.
"That transition and change is affecting Tennessee, there's no doubt about it," Danielson said. "The players that they recruit, you get some, you miss some, everybody does that, but the continuity of the program, changing head coaches, changing offensive coordinators, has caught up with this program a little bit. If Derek Dooley's your guy. … You need to settle down and take a plan and build on the plan. It's going to take a few years."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.