Dooley's focus is on next guy

Freshmen, sophomores plug holes on offensive line

Dooley: Injury report

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Derek Dooley has enough to worry about on the offensive line.

Making sure the Tennessee coach knows all its specific injury concerns doesn’t make his list.

If Cody Pope or now JerQuari Schofield can’t play on Saturday against UAB (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.), that’s the only detail Dooley really needs at this point. Rather than spend time on medical charts, the Vols are simply focusing their attention on the next guys in line for an already inexperienced unit that’s become progressively thinner over the last two weeks.

“(Schofield) essentially fractured a bone in his foot, for lack of a better diagnosis,” Dooley said Monday. “In the foot, not the ankle, one of those little bitty bones. I’m smiling because I should know (which foot), but if you all haven’t figured out, I move on when a guy is hurt until they come back.

“It’s like, I don’t want to spend energy on which foot or what is this — just get him back, how long until he’s back. Because until then I’ve got to solve the problem.”

For the record, it’s a left foot that could keep Schofield out for the next two or three weeks, and that’s not a minor problem for the Vols up front. With Pope expected to miss his second game with lingering stinger and concussion issues, a line that already had one true freshman contributing could soon have three seeing significant action.

And though UT is confident the future is in good hands with Ja’Wuan James, James Stone and Zach Fulton on the field, it surely didn’t anticipate needing to rely on them so much in the present.

“I mean, what goes through my mind is we’ve got to do a good job of developing a plan so that they can go out there and function and get hats on hats,” Dooley said. “I think if we do that, we’ll be OK. But I can’t get them experience without playing them, and we can’t go look on the free-agent wire right now and pick up some guys on the street. It’s what we are, and we’ve got to coach them and go try to win with them, and that’s what we’re going to do.

“We’re going to play Zach Fulton a lot, he’s been playing better, so half the game you’re going to see three true freshmen and two sophomores, and that’s our offensive line. You’ll see that half the game — hopefully, because that means they’re healthy.”

If they’re not, the rotation could get even more interesting for the Vols.

Stone, a freshman, was listed as the backup to Dallas Thomas at left tackle and to Schofield on the depth chart released for the UAB game, but with Stone now starting at guard, Dooley effectively admitted there was no reserve at either spot. The offensive line did go out of its way during the offseason to try to be prepared for situations like it finds itself in now, but it can hardly stand for things to get much worse.

“They’re coming along well, and it just keeps building,” Thomas said. “It started all the way back in the summer, we’d put ourselves in positions where, let’s say somebody went down, we’d just step a freshman up to see how it went. It’s working pretty good. We’ve got to just keep building, and it’s all going to work out. It’s going to be OK.

“It’s just like, now it’s playing together, that’s not that hard to do. We know who we’ve got and we know what our game plan is to get us ready, so we’ll have those young kids prepared for everything.”

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Comments » 51

UTByrd writes:

Kind of stinks for this year but will provide valuable experience for the next few years.
Go VOLS!!!!!

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Something good will always come out of adversity. GO VOLS!

abnerPeabody writes:

Hello Houston,we have one he== of a problem.Thank you Phillip.Look at the bright side.Depth is being developed.With depth and some decent recruits,things will get better.Two more years and we will be happier.

movol77 writes:

The upside to all of this team's youth is that when these kids get used to the speed of the game in context with the schemes, the confidence factor will catch up with the talent factor. Then look out!

DaGodfather writes:

Not sure if Pope will be able to play any more this year. Another blow to the head wouldn't be good after all he has been through.

orangeuavol4ever writes:

I was almost afraid to read the comments because sometimes Vol fans can be very harsh. I'm glad to see true fans who are willing to stand by their team through tough times. These kids need to know that they have our support. We will have a very good team once they have a little experience. GO VOLS!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Stone will be durable and productive. I really like him and hope he will become my hero on the line. Smash em James Stone.

Ironcity writes:

Who is next in line after Fulton? Is it the guy from Catholic in Knoxville?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Dooley is smartly moving ahead with who is healthy;no choice!!To say it's going to be okay?? It's NOT..Dallas Thomas;a soph. is your veteran guy;thats not a good sign..Cody was badly missed in the last game..Never thought I'd see the day when almost our whole line is freshman..As many of you have said in the future this will be a great OL but right now we are one injury away from having no back ups;Come what may Iam sure our guys will give all they can

FWBVol writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Hello Houston,we have one he== of a problem.Thank you Phillip.Look at the bright side.Depth is being developed.With depth and some decent recruits,things will get better.Two more years and we will be happier.

I'll admit that part of the O-line problems can be attributed to Phillip Fulmer, but not all of them. Kiffn ran off a couple of guys that were supposed to have had some potential up front.

Kiffin was so busy trying to get the WOW recruits in 2009 like Nu'Keese Richardson and Bryce Brown that he forgot you can't win games without the big guys up front.

If I'm a high school kid that plays the offensive line I'm giving Tennessee a long look because there won't be too many guys in front of me on the depth chart when I arrive on campus.

Bogus writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Who is next in line after Fulton? Is it the guy from Catholic in Knoxville?

Daniel Hood is there, he's backing up James at right OT. Doesn't have the girth to play guard.

rockytopatl writes:

This is the very scenario I kept pointing out to the "we will win 9 games this year" people. Injuries always seem to occur in the areas where you are the thinnest. Our OL is thinner than the T-bones at Waffle House. Luckily we have one week here when we might be able to survive with three freshmen and two sophomores.

Let's hope some guys get well before that murderer's row October gets here.

Bigger_Al writes:

Darris Sawtelle and Preston Bailey would be looking pretty good in a Vols uniform right now. Too bad Lane ran them off.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

to look at the positive - this year will probably be a wash anyway unless a miracle pops up. The experience these new guys are getting will be invaluable the next 2-3 years. With the experience they are getting now, it may not take 3 yrs to get back to the top.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Harsh, but true.

Vol1973 writes:

Get the guys well for LSU and the Dawgs!! Go Vols !

VolinCalif writes:

I don't know Guys. But I kind'a think that Pope is through with football. Those aren't minor injuries he is having and the damage is already done. Unless UT wants a disaster on their hands I think it's time to make him a water-boy. I know he will not like that but he will be alive to have a family.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with you 3..if and when Pope returns I don't see him starting again unless more injuries occur. Next year he will be lost in the rotation. I look of UAB to throw a lot of blitz packages at us to try confuse young line. We need to jump on them from the get and keep the hammer down. ROCKY TOP!

mercuryvol writes:

Perfect example of why linemen are the heart of any good team.We simply have to recruit these guys first to have a chance in the future.Sadly,recruiting linemen is usually more difficult because they require more relationship building than the so-called "skilled" players.Long way back, but GBO.

Slystone writes:

Sounds like some tight ends will be playing more on the line this season.

Mobbdeep4life writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I'll admit that part of the O-line problems can be attributed to Phillip Fulmer, but not all of them. Kiffn ran off a couple of guys that were supposed to have had some potential up front.

Kiffin was so busy trying to get the WOW recruits in 2009 like Nu'Keese Richardson and Bryce Brown that he forgot you can't win games without the big guys up front.

If I'm a high school kid that plays the offensive line I'm giving Tennessee a long look because there won't be too many guys in front of me on the depth chart when I arrive on campus.

Exactly. You would think Richardson and Clear would see a great opportunity to come to UT. Playing time would definitely be available.
Young O-line this year = experienced line next year.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Darris Sawtelle and Preston Bailey would be looking pretty good in a Vols uniform right now. Too bad Lane ran them off.

Where did Preston Bailey end up?

Ironcity writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not sure if this is true but I read somewhere that top Offensive linemen tend to commit early in the process in comparison to skill players. With all the turnover in coaches and some bad luck with guys quitting, non qualifiers and injuries, we become awfully thin rather quickly. I am not going to blame Dooley or Kiffin for the issues we have now on the line. Lets face it, at the end of last season we had two walkons starting every game on the line and it showed. I hate to use the term perfect storm but really thats the case with our offensive line. The good news is that we have what appears to be four talented freshman and two good sophs on the line. In two years if they mature the way UT linemen usually do we should have the best line in the conference for years.

LaneBrains writes:

in response to OrangeinCarolina2:

Something good will always come out of adversity. GO VOLS!

You heard him Vol Fans. Trust me , you'll get a lot of good from all the adversity. we have first hand experience, both Fulmer and Carroll have just left us a mess and we've taken a lot of heat for their big screw-ups.

Its a good thing we are the best coaches on the planet...and that includes Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, Phil Jackson and Pat Summitt. We'd be twice as undefeated here if Carroll hadn't left us with such a mess...and would have had a really really great moral victory against that cheating Urban last year.

Monte, Ed and CLK

Southland writes:

not one single statement commending the job CD is doing with little. The man deserves some praise for what he is dealing with and surely deserves our support. I think all things considered he is doing a remarkable job. Yes it is going to be tough to go 6-6 this year and if he does he deserves the SEC coach of the year although that want happen. We dont look good but considering how young the team is we are doing pretty good if you skip the second half of the Oregon game. I dont want mediocrity anymore than any of you do but dadgum Dooley is doing as good a job as anyone could under the circumstances

CCLC writes:

Vandy now has a better SEC record than Georgia, Tennessee, or Ole Miss. Oh, hey, good for them.

budd#207344 writes:

Now maybe you folks are realizing why MH fired cpf. This would have been so much worse with his lackluster attitude and continued poor recruiting. Jimmy Hyams just showed how much he does not understand. This had to happen and we need the aggressiveness of Dooley and staff.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Now maybe you folks are realizing why MH fired cpf. This would have been so much worse with his lackluster attitude and continued poor recruiting. Jimmy Hyams just showed how much he does not understand. This had to happen and we need the aggressiveness of Dooley and staff.

It would have been better off with Phil at this time in history. We are at the bottom. How could it get any worse. If fans had wanted to continue on with Phil's average teams then he would still be in the seat. It may take 5-10 years and another coaching change to reverse it.

jcp201 writes:

in response to myfuzzyvolz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hate the Fulmer bashing, too. Supporting Dooley now. I think he's going to be a good one.

jcp201 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

It would have been better off with Phil at this time in history. We are at the bottom. How could it get any worse. If fans had wanted to continue on with Phil's average teams then he would still be in the seat. It may take 5-10 years and another coaching change to reverse it.

Average meaning having a winning record most of the time. Yeah, it would have been terrible. I never wanted him to go. What's done is done, and Dooley is the man right now, with a very young team. I am behind them 100%.

scvols writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

I don't know Guys. But I kind'a think that Pope is through with football. Those aren't minor injuries he is having and the damage is already done. Unless UT wants a disaster on their hands I think it's time to make him a water-boy. I know he will not like that but he will be alive to have a family.

He just needs a big cheeseburger.

iowavol writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen, brother. Let's all follow the lead of our coach. I like him, but this is going to be a tough year. BTW, anybody notice how many former Tennessee players were in the game last night? Arburyo (sp) Franklin starting, Parys Harralson, Jabari Greer on defense for 9'ers alone.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I'll admit that part of the O-line problems can be attributed to Phillip Fulmer, but not all of them. Kiffn ran off a couple of guys that were supposed to have had some potential up front.

Kiffin was so busy trying to get the WOW recruits in 2009 like Nu'Keese Richardson and Bryce Brown that he forgot you can't win games without the big guys up front.

If I'm a high school kid that plays the offensive line I'm giving Tennessee a long look because there won't be too many guys in front of me on the depth chart when I arrive on campus.

FW, you're right. Not ALL the blame can be put on Fulmer. I heard or read yesterday where we've lost approximately 35 - 40 kids since Fulmer left. Whether they transferred, were ran off by some idiot coach, or were dismissed b/c of stupid mistakes. That's a HUGE hit to any football team in any conference, especially in the SEC.

vol88 writes:

in response to TheMemphisSlim:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We're going to have to play a traffic barrel at left tackle if it gets any worse.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to SirSpanky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes,,,,after 3 games....1W and 2L. I think Phil would not have been battered by Oregon. This program is in far worse shape now after Kiffin. We now have another coach trying to float the ship. It was time for Phil to go but it did cause things to sink deeper. We all want to beat the Gators again and Bama. Now we are struggling to beat any team. Coach Dooley must have a top recruiting class to start to reverse this mess. I do think Chaney will not be on the staff if he cannot get more innovative in his plays.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to scvols:

He just needs a big cheeseburger.

A double bacon chili cheeseburger.

mtowntim writes:

I have a mother-in-law that would make a pretty good guard but she would surely kill any chemistry or spirit the team has now! Oh well….just a thought.

GO VOLS!!!

BigOrangeBill writes:

How about we just really all of us APPRECIATE Coach Fulmer for all the wonderful times he gave us at Neyland Stadium. Right now, he's no longer here. Good news is... now we have finally found a great new coach that is proving he knows how to motivate, recruit, coach, show humor, use good judgement, is obviously very smart, has great assistants and is moving us in the RIGHT direction. All of us on these posts need to GET BEHIND Coach Dooley 100% (I know trolls will always be here...but let's ignore them and don't reply to them). Part of our Big Orange team is US the fans!! Let's do our part guys and gals. Tough enough for Coach D. He needs US on his side.

tnsportsman writes:

What's done is done VolNation! Coach Fulmer was great until the last few years and is gone; the Liar Lame Surfer Dude 'A Bombed' UT, Forget About It!

What WE have now is a smart and talented football coach, CDD knows that every player on the Team needs to be ready, prepared to go in and play! Once CDD's tough and accountable culture takes, all our Players now and in the future will know they have to be ready always!

Most of our injured players will be back at some point this season and when they are ready they will play!

I love CDD's attitude, we play with what we have and we will compete! There is 'No Crying In Football'! This is what will rebuild the BIG ORANGE Tradition of WINNING!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT ALWAYS!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to tnsportsman:

What's done is done VolNation! Coach Fulmer was great until the last few years and is gone; the Liar Lame Surfer Dude 'A Bombed' UT, Forget About It!

What WE have now is a smart and talented football coach, CDD knows that every player on the Team needs to be ready, prepared to go in and play! Once CDD's tough and accountable culture takes, all our Players now and in the future will know they have to be ready always!

Most of our injured players will be back at some point this season and when they are ready they will play!

I love CDD's attitude, we play with what we have and we will compete! There is 'No Crying In Football'! This is what will rebuild the BIG ORANGE Tradition of WINNING!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT ALWAYS!

Agreed. Way too many freaking crybaby fans pizzing and moaning about Fulmer not being the coach.
Put on your big-boy pants and get with the program that is in place right now.

mtowntim writes:

Just like my 10 yr old daughter ALWAYS SAYS,

“What we need here is a big bowl of moving on”!

GO VOLS!!!

LEXKYVOLS writes:

Just wait - two more years, two more year! We have been hearing this for the past 10 years!

SpaceVol writes:

in response to Bogus:

Daniel Hood is there, he's backing up James at right OT. Doesn't have the girth to play guard.

Also Jacob Gilliam, an excellent (and overlooked) walk-on from Farragut.

rockytopatl writes:

Totally off topic, but the judge in the Ronnie Cottrell lawsuit has written a book that has totally discounted the often told tale that it was a UT and Phil Fulmer conspiracy that brought down Alabama in the Albert Means case. Not even close, says the judge:

http://www.tidesports.com/article/201...

orangeman1 writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Agreed. Way too many freaking crybaby fans pizzing and moaning about Fulmer not being the coach.
Put on your big-boy pants and get with the program that is in place right now.

As soon as people quit blaming Fulmer for UT's problems then most people will quit stating their opinion that UT would be better off now. Remember Fulmer NEVER went more than 1 years without winning at least 9 games. And also remember Fulmer had the best reg season record in the SEC less than a year before he was fired mid week of the Wyoming game which cost them a win. Remember he had to replace his off co and install a new offense the year he was fired, and he's had plenty of injuries to the teams he coached too, but excuses didnt work for Fulmer. Lastly remember the top Qb recruits he had coming in when he was fired and Coleman who quit the team along with about 20 other players since his firing that wouldve added much needed depth this year. Dooley , I believe is doing the best he can with what is at UT now. It will be hard for any coach to get UT winning championships on a regular basis like UT fans expect.

dk writes:

Whatever happened to the Revis kid from Rhea Co. Not big enough or not good enough or......???

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Southland:

not one single statement commending the job CD is doing with little. The man deserves some praise for what he is dealing with and surely deserves our support. I think all things considered he is doing a remarkable job. Yes it is going to be tough to go 6-6 this year and if he does he deserves the SEC coach of the year although that want happen. We dont look good but considering how young the team is we are doing pretty good if you skip the second half of the Oregon game. I dont want mediocrity anymore than any of you do but dadgum Dooley is doing as good a job as anyone could under the circumstances

I agree...Great post!!! I still think that a 7 or 8 win season is possible..Anything can happen.

jrobi124 writes:

in the future our OL will be great. I think they will be the best in the conference and in the top three in the nation. That is the furture not the NOW. We are in for a long season pray and support our coach and team.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to orangeman1:

As soon as people quit blaming Fulmer for UT's problems then most people will quit stating their opinion that UT would be better off now. Remember Fulmer NEVER went more than 1 years without winning at least 9 games. And also remember Fulmer had the best reg season record in the SEC less than a year before he was fired mid week of the Wyoming game which cost them a win. Remember he had to replace his off co and install a new offense the year he was fired, and he's had plenty of injuries to the teams he coached too, but excuses didnt work for Fulmer. Lastly remember the top Qb recruits he had coming in when he was fired and Coleman who quit the team along with about 20 other players since his firing that wouldve added much needed depth this year. Dooley , I believe is doing the best he can with what is at UT now. It will be hard for any coach to get UT winning championships on a regular basis like UT fans expect.

Seems as though I said something about pizzing and moaning. Point proven.

Volborn writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Hello Houston,we have one he== of a problem.Thank you Phillip.Look at the bright side.Depth is being developed.With depth and some decent recruits,things will get better.Two more years and we will be happier.

right...it's Phillip's fault that Kiffin ran off several linemen. Kiffin always said that those players weren't good....I think that is B.S. Those are the guys that had to guts to tell Kiffy and the California boys to go screw themselves when the traditions of Tennessee football were trampled. Have you ever heard Fulmer throw an insult at anyone(other than Spurrier) like he did Kiffin the other day?

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