Derek Dooley not happy with scrimmage

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches his team during practice at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley watches his team during practice at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 2, 2011.

"Well, the one thing, you always have some early conclusions when you scrimmage — the first one is we’re really a bad football team."

Coach Derek Dooley

Derek Dooley comments on the Vols' Saturday scrimmage

Derek Dooley got exactly what he expected.

And the Tennessee coach quite obviously wasn’t pleased with it.

The Vols dropped passes, made poor decisions with the football and tossed a few interceptions on a blustery afternoon in Neyland Stadium, apparently confirming suspicions about his offense which Dooley had largely kept to himself at the midway point of spring camp.

At least until after UT wrapped up its closed scrimmage on Saturday.

“Well, the one thing, you always have some early conclusions when you scrimmage -- the first one is we’re really a bad football team,” Dooley said. “We have a long way to go, we really do. The passing game is terrible from an execution standpoint. The running game is nonexistent, and really that’s about it. The kickers and punters were below average.

“I think our (passing) execution, that’s usually the hardest thing to get -- timing. We had some dropped balls, we had a penalty, sometimes a quarterback wasn’t as accurate. It was a little windy, so you know, and we’re all new. We’ve got all freshmen and sophomores out there and a sophomore quarterback, so it’s just going to take time.”

The Vols have loads of it before they have to play a meaningful game, and one rough outing won’t lower the expectations for all those young players. But it did provide an indication of how much work there is to do on offense -- starting with sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray.

His spot at the top of the depth chart is secure, but UT will ultimately be needing Bray to deliver something more than the 172 yards on 11-of-27 passing with three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions he was credited with according to statistics provided by the program.

“I was not totally thinking it was terrible, but it was pretty bad,” Bray said. “There were a couple reads that I threw, I probably shouldn’t have thrown them and gone to the other side. We’re still learning right now, still getting the offense right now.

“It was an almost-live situation, so it’s better than practice where we can start and stop plays to let you see defenses and it will tell you pretty much what defense they’re going to run. Now it’s live and you’ve got to make plays happen real quick.”

The Vols made a few of them, including a 70-yard strike from Bray to fellow sophomore Da’Rick Rogers -- one of two scores for the rapidly improving receiver to go with touchdowns for Justin Hunter and Matt Milton.

But a sloppy first half that opened with four consecutive three-and-outs, an ugly completion percentage for Bray, five sacks allowed and the three interceptions collective interceptions seemed to overshadow the highlights. And they also served as reminders that UT is rebuilding its offense with youth, and the process is still in the early stages.

“The stress level is probably still high,” Bray said. “We’re called veterans now, and we’re in our sophomore seasons. We’re supposed to be the veteran leaders of the team. Stepping into that is always kind of stressful, but I think we’re going to come through and we should be all right.

“Extra practice is always going to help, but we just need to get to where we’re running the routes the same every time, I’m putting the ball in the same place every time so they know where the ball is going to be and I know where they’re going to be all the time.”

UT doesn’t appear to have reached that point yet based on the numbers and the disappointment Dooley plainly showed when the first of two significant scrimmages was over.

But it also would have surprised him if the Vols had suddenly arrived there on Saturday.

"I’m not down,” Dooley said. “I didn’t expect to come out here and look like a championship-caliber football team. I’m not down at all, it’s right about where I thought we were. I didn’t think we were any good three days ago, I just didn’t say it. I wanted to wait until the scrimmage to see.

“Today just confirmed what I thought, but I’m not down by any stretch. It just means we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 68

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Love Coach Dooley, he always tells it like it is. Yes, we have work to do and we'll get it done! I can't wait until FOOTBALL season!!! GBO!!!!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Trolls are gonna have a field day on this article. It's the first scrimmage folks, we will get better. Please don't feed the trolls! GBO!!!

Give_em_six writes:

My friend was at the scrimmage. He said recievers looked good. Quarterbacks were not playing well at all today. He did have a lot of good things to say about Rogers. He said Neal was a beast. We are young but improving.

RoadTrip writes:

Love it. It is all on track. CDD and staff are breaking them down to build them back up the right way.

DooleysOrangePants writes:

its march 2nd. lets dont jump the gun just yet. love the way CDD says exactly what hes thinkin. get em coach! 8 wins or bust. (i know its a stretch but hey i didnt say undefeated)

myers2324 writes:

DOOLEY IS THE MAN

kantanuuv writes:

Regime change! Regime change!

Heh heh. Nah I'm just kiddin' ya. You're alright coach.

lvhemphill#250428 writes:

This sounds so like basic training all over again. I don't ever think a coach is ever truly happy at least in the song and dance interviews about his team in the spring, heck even some of the best coaches knowing they might have a diamond in the rough, are even worse in the summer preparing for the fall. Just like a Drill SGT, he needs them to work harder and no matter what all players on every team in the college spring football are lousy no good dirt bags. Can't have you fans and media types filling their heads with loads of praise.

Hoops43 writes:

Like the fact Melvin Goins had a Pick 6. He may be a shocker. He comes from a football family. His dad is a football coach.

borovol1956 writes:

in response to DooleysOrangePants:

its march 2nd. lets dont jump the gun just yet. love the way CDD says exactly what hes thinkin. get em coach! 8 wins or bust. (i know its a stretch but hey i didnt say undefeated)

It April 2, but I get your point.

FWBVol writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Talk about a backhanded slap at Derek Dooley.

I don't have to look Gerry Dinardo up on any site because I remember him well.

Dinardo was supposedly a great offensive lineman at Notre Dame that got his first head coaching job at Vandy. He was the idiot that would never call Tennessee by name. He always referred to UT as "the big state school" or that school to the east."

He had a couple of good years, by Vandy standards and ended up going to LSU where he was a disaster. After LSU canned him, I believe he ended up at Indiana.

Dooley still hasn't been at UT for 16 months, which is about the same time period that Tennessee had three head football coaches; Fulmer, Kiffin and Dooley.

This is the first scrimmage of spring practice and we are still a very young team. Derek Dooley will do just fine. He's got more going for him than Dinardo ever did.

orangecountyvols writes:

Deadhead,

Remember what Volsrockn' said...........to ignore the trolls. I know, it's hard to do because they aren't going away.

Anyway, even the average Vol fan knows the state of the team at this stage of sping practice, so we'd be fooling ourselves if CDD said we were a super team, had no problems, etc. In fact, few coaches are especially optimistic early on.

Nothing unusual for now. We'll know more about this team later, just not so much right now.

vols37 writes:

Shocking. Hard to believe anything under the direction of Mike Hamilton as AD would be bad. As good as Mike Hamilton's leadership is, it's hard to believe we would be staring at another bad team in any men's sport.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Chuck Smith caused the problem with too many men on the field at LSU, not Dooley. We had the same problem a couple of other times during the season and it was Smith each time. He was in charge of the substitutions.

Dooley is just telling the truth. He's not throwing anyone under the bus. He knows they all have work to do and I'm sure he's including the coaches.

Hoops43 writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Was told that by one of the players who rooms with my son.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I understand. I just guess we'll agree to disagree on this one. I think Dooley has their backs. His odd personality just doesn't show it sometimes. I feel like the players like him (with few exceptions) and will play hard for him. Dooley said he knows they have alot of work to do, but he's not disappointed. Anyway, as long as we both pull for the Big Orange on Saturdays this fall it's all fine.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to DooleysOrangePants:

its march 2nd. lets dont jump the gun just yet. love the way CDD says exactly what hes thinkin. get em coach! 8 wins or bust. (i know its a stretch but hey i didnt say undefeated)

Uh, all those gigawatts must have confused you. It is April 2, not March.

Vol43 writes:

I love Dooley. This man will take the University of Tennesee back to the top. I like that photo by Adam Brimer. Dooley reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. The prominent nose, the chin, the glaring look. He knows what he has and it's gonna be good. He just wants to beat Florida and Alabama. So do I.

dislikethemtrolls writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BLAH BLAH BLAH.........FIRE HAMILTON FIRE HAMILTON!!!! Good grief. I have no confidence that you're a Vol fan either.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to wallandhiker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If by a long long time you mean one more year, I agree.

John_10065 writes:

I like honesty, there is so little of it anymore. Dooley is stating what he sees on the field and not holding any punches. I suspect that he'll spark a fire under a few butts just by stating the obvious.

Outdated writes:

in response to John_10065:

I like honesty, there is so little of it anymore. Dooley is stating what he sees on the field and not holding any punches. I suspect that he'll spark a fire under a few butts just by stating the obvious.

I think Dooley has the support of the vast majority of UT fans..he is getting paid a lot of money to change the situation he describes...

winVol writes:

FIRE HAMILTON ,,, FIRE HAMILTON ,, MAYBE 4 AND 8 THIS YEAR AND JUST THINK WHAT WE HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN BASKETBLL NEXT SEASON,,,,FIRE HAMILTON ,,, FIRE HAMILTON ,,,NOW ,,NO MONEY FROM ME UNTIL THEY CLEAN HOUSE AT UT BUT I WILL WISH ALL TEAMS WELL AND GO BIG ORANGE

kantanuuv writes:

Coach Vince Dooley Jr.: "This team really REALLY sucks!"

Uh oh.

Tennfan4075 writes:

Has anyone on this site ever played any organized sport other than maybe your local fantasy teams? Didn't think so.

CCLC writes:

Why is CDD dressed in blue? Has there been a color change? I remember Lame thinking the Vol colors were yellow and white. Maybe it was a mistake. I just think the head coach needs to coach in the school colors not Kantucky colors. I know its a small matter but come on...off with the blue stuff.

volbob writes:

always love dooley's comments - guy is hysterical. obviously we have a long way to go, but I would rather build with what we currently have in bray, etc, than plod along with what we had the past couple of years. GBO!

BobKesling_is_overpaid writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

Has anyone on this site ever played any organized sport other than maybe your local fantasy teams? Didn't think so.

I played some organized tiddly winks back in the day.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to CCLC:

Why is CDD dressed in blue? Has there been a color change? I remember Lame thinking the Vol colors were yellow and white. Maybe it was a mistake. I just think the head coach needs to coach in the school colors not Kantucky colors. I know its a small matter but come on...off with the blue stuff.

It's freakin' SPRING PRACTICE...WTH cares what he wears? Sorry, spring practice is not a fashion show. Unless the Bravo network is covering UT's games this year, don't worry about what he wears!!

Vol_Tilladye writes:

It's tie for Hammy to suit up and be a tackling dummy.

Vol_Tilladye writes:

I bet our D would love it! Missed tackles, yeah right, lol.

BobKesling_is_overpaid writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Have you checked up your gluteus maximus?

CCLC writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

It's freakin' SPRING PRACTICE...WTH cares what he wears? Sorry, spring practice is not a fashion show. Unless the Bravo network is covering UT's games this year, don't worry about what he wears!!

UT is the Big Orange not the Baby Blue! That looks ridiculous! I don't care who is not watching. FUNDAMENTALS.

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to CCLC:

UT is the Big Orange not the Baby Blue! That looks ridiculous! I don't care who is not watching. FUNDAMENTALS.

What looks ridiculous is a georgia fan acting like anybody really cares what it thinks about UT football.

Fundamentals?

You are a loser, CCLC.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Bear Bryant always said the same thing.

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

Bear Bryant always said the same thing.

Everything I have seen from Coach Dooley leads me to believe that many years down the road he will be mentioned in the same breath as Bryant and Neyland.

He understands the meaning of words like tradition, respect, commitment, and honor.

His work ethic is beyond question.

Many of you so called Vol fans don't realize the caliber of man you have at the helm just yet. The Big Orange Nation is entering it's greatest era ever.

Turn em loose, Dooley.

TnReb writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

Bear Bryant always said the same thing.

Exactly what I was thinking...........

TN Reb

TKO writes:

A hundred years from now people will lok back on the era of UT athletics and refer to this as the "orange depression." Basketball, football, baseball. Even Lady Vols Basketball is lucky to ge to the final eight.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Love it. It is all on track. CDD and staff are breaking them down to build them back up the right way.

I fully agree....break em down and then build em up....the right way.

Go Big Orange!

scottvol83 writes:

Has anyone who ever played football known a coach to talk about how "good" the team is in spring practice ?

Spring practice is the time it's OK to be bad. In fact you're expected to be bad...even if you're good. It's a time honored tradition plus how many coaches, players & fans do you hear saying after the season, " We may have gone 2-10 but we had a helluva spring practice last year".

"They remember what you did in November" is not just a phrase it's a goal for a team to peak physically & emotionally at the critical portion of the season not in the spring.

As a previous poster noted, " It's breaking down to build up ".

I realize that what he' saying about the talent level, etc. is true but it's mostly coach speak.

I think Coach Dooley's doing a great job. On a side note, Coach, that hat your wearing really needs to go. Makes you look like you're standing in the gallery at a golf tournament. JMO

Pompey writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...you wouldn’t know a football coach if one kicked you in the groin..….

Pompey writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

knoxchatter writes:

in response to TKO:

A hundred years from now people will lok back on the era of UT athletics and refer to this as the "orange depression." Basketball, football, baseball. Even Lady Vols Basketball is lucky to ge to the final eight.

"Depression" is an appropriate adjective for UT sports across the board right now. Thinking positively, within the next couple of years, hopefully it will only be at the slight "recession" level. It really is like the economy, a dip or downward spiral doesn't occur in one day...or even a year...and generally takes several years to return to prosperity. As Vol fans, we have to be patient and optimistic...although it's often hard to be both! GBO!

PermaVol124 writes:

look, i get that in this age of coddled children and little leagues where everyone gets a trophy most people want to pat kids on the head and tell them how special and great they are simply for trying... the way i see it Dooley has the right idea, if you suck at practice im going to tell you that you suck, whats wrong with that? there is no point in congratulating a kid for doing well if he didnt do well. all you do is inflate his ego which compounds his problems. Dooley, keep up the good work, get em coached up, we trust you. and vol fans... get your acts together! this infighting is accomplishing nothing, we might be in for some rough times ahead and the only way we survive is by remembering that it is GREAT to be a Tennessee Vol

HtownVol writes:

I am excited to see how dominate out extremely talented and young O-Line will be after a few games together.

I expect Marcus Jackson to be the leader of that group and eventually be a all-american.

Justin Hunter will excite Vol fans even more this season and I think D Rogers TD in the MCB will help him be confident heading into this season. Add D Arnett to the WR group and UT may have one of the best WR groups in the SEC/country.

Any word on if Clear is at TE or O-Line? I would love to see him use that strength and size at TE. UT has plenty of talent and depth on the line, and Rivera is the only TE with some experience. B Downs(?) will be good but no experience.

With the talent on the O-Line I really hope the ground game is as good as the air game. T Poole runs like Hardesty and gives it his all. Neal made progress and will be a great backup. And the FR (Lane) is said to have all the tools to be great.

Tyler Bray should have a breakout season and be in the national spotlight as one of the best QBs in the country.

As good as Bray is, I am very excited to have Justin Worley. I watched JW in 2 games in high school and he has everything that a pro-style QB needs. I saw him stand in the pocket with J Clowney having a clear path to lay it to JW and Justin stood strong and delivered a perfect 30+ yard TD strike.

A RS season would be ideal for Justin since Simms did not cry and leave. Tyler is the starter for at least 2 more years and I want Justin to have 2 years as the starter instead of just his Sr season.

GO VOLS!

gillblog writes:

Would we rather be hearing CDD say the kind of things Mark Richt said about UGA after their first scrimmage?
“I thought today was outstanding, really outstanding, in regard to the guys playing with a lot of energy,” Richt said. “Some really nice plays on both sides of the ball.”
Keep in mind, CMR has said pretty much the same thing about his teams in pre-season for the past few years. Nice words for what turned out to be 'very bad' teams at UGA.

TKO writes:

in response to knoxchatter:

"Depression" is an appropriate adjective for UT sports across the board right now. Thinking positively, within the next couple of years, hopefully it will only be at the slight "recession" level. It really is like the economy, a dip or downward spiral doesn't occur in one day...or even a year...and generally takes several years to return to prosperity. As Vol fans, we have to be patient and optimistic...although it's often hard to be both! GBO!

Good point. UT has always had one sport to fal back on or to look forward to. I do believe Coach Dooley will do things the right way. You are right though, patience is a virtue. GBO!

TKO writes:

in response to CrippledCoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMAO

CCLC writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well alright then....GO BIG BLUE.
just sayin'

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Patience, patience, patience my fellow VOLS! These guys are young and cannot be expected to gel this quickly! If it were that easy, then EVERYONE would be overnight champions! Years 3 and 4 will be the best yardsticks to measure whether this regime is getting us back in contention or not! From all indications, we seem to be moving positively!

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