John Adams: In the battle of Derek Dooley vs. stats, take Dooley

John Adams
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, center, talks with former head coach Johnny Majors, right, during practice at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, center, talks with former head coach Johnny Majors, right, during practice at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 2, 2011.

The words didn’t match the numbers at Tennessee’s first spring scrimmage Saturday.

The words were head coach Derek Dooley’s, and they were directed mainly at an offense that apparently couldn’t have been trusted to beat Kentucky.

Dooley’s stinging one-word assessments were “terrible” for the passing game and “nonexistent” for the running game.

Some of the numbers varied so drastically from those adjectives, you might have wondered if the coach and the statistician attended the same scrimmage.

Raijon Neal rushed for 152 yards on 14 carries. Da’Rick Rogers caught two passes for 79 yards. Justin Hunter and Matt Milton each had a touchdown catch.

How terrible would it be if the Vols matched that production in The Swamp in September?

So what do you believe: The statistics or the coach?

An eyewitness would help. Since scrimmages are closed to media and fans, eyewitnesses are tougher to come by than coaches with no NCAA secondary violations.

When I finally found one, he concurred with the coach. He even repeated the word, “terrible.”

He said quarterback Tyler Bray had an awful day, the offense was out of sync … I might as well have been talking to Dooley.

The offensive difficulties were magnified by the competition. You can’t even find speculation on wild rumors.com that UT’s next defense might be comparable to Alabama’s.

If you just said, “But it’s only a spring scrimmage,” you obviously aren’t from around here.

It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “That’s only one series,” after UT loses three consecutive baseball games to Florida. But this is SEC football. Extreme reactions come with the territory, and “only” is a foreign word.

The reactions go both ways. If one spring-scrimmage report leaves you expecting abject failure, another is just as apt to foster delusions of grandeur. Sometimes, you can go from one extreme to the other in the same scrimmage.

Anyone who attended the last spring game probably left Neyland Stadium with three strong impressions: John Adams is a better coach than Jimmy Hyams but didn’t have as much to work with; the overall talent was at a low ebb; and Bray could flat out throw.

So you could have been despondent over the dearth of talent and encouraged by the potential of a skinny freshman quarterback.

You again can make your own appraisals at the spring game in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you will have to rely on the coach to pick you up or bring you down.

I realize the inherent risk in trusting coaches, whose agendas often don’t coincide with brutal honesty. But in his first season with the Vols, Dooley developed a reputation for candor in publicly evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of his team as well as individuals.

So if the coach says the offense was terrible, my advice: believe him, not the numbers. And if you still need confirmation, find an eyewitness.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http//: twitter.com/johnadamskns.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 15

TheVolMan writes:

Great article JA.

VOLliven2it writes:

Guess John Adams would boo Tennessee if they came up with a cancer cure. What will he do when the Vols start winning again?

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So what you're saying is that Adams will retire next year?!...

mahabrando writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

So what you're saying is that Adams will retire next year?!...

haha!

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

So what you're saying is that Adams will retire next year?!...

Nice article.
Here's a name to watch next year: Vereen.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tweet we sure are up late. Well I for one think the Vols return to winning this coming year. I think we'll go to a bowl with an 8 game reg. season winning steak and we'll win the bowl. I also think we will get a couple of the hot shots. Bama, Ga, Fl, etc and expect to beat SC. Now how is that for being Op.

rusty_shackleford writes:

Still whining about not getting an opportunity to watch practice? Get over yourself, john!

Coates writes:

It looks like Dooley was laughing at Majors in that picture. I hope he was telling Johnny boy that he didn't need advice from him and to get his drunk butt off the football field.

TruVol writes:

So you're the top sports guy for the biggest paper in Knoxville, and you don't have inside contacts? It is almost as if they don't like you John.

orangeman1 writes:

I think Dooley is just keeping fans' expectations low so they wont be disappointed. His saying this is really his "first year" and that the football team is really bad isnt giving me much confidence, but I still expect to win 8 games next year with this schedule and a bowl. 13 losses in the last 2 years, and this year's not looking much better.

NashvillePreds writes:

Thought this was a well written column. If there is a major problem with Adams in Knoxville, please feel free to pickup Climer, or Biddle. I hear Hope Hines (the WTVF, UT hating curmudgeon that he is) is retiring. It can not come soon enough.

Go Vols, and Preds! (playoff time is a'comin!)

chuckfromwoodbury writes:

in response to Coates:

It looks like Dooley was laughing at Majors in that picture. I hope he was telling Johnny boy that he didn't need advice from him and to get his drunk butt off the football field.

Shut up jackwad

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

johnboy adams at it again,why this paper keeps letting him get away with all the negative talk is beyound me

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

After all his articles, and after being miffed at not being allowed into the practices last year, what was so amusing to me at least was putting Adams on the sideline as a "coach" last season at the O & W game. That was to pacify him and Hyams. Sure hope they don't repeat that gesture this time around.

Bigger_Al writes:

Tuscaloosa John should actually try to get a job in Tuscaloosa. He could try to lampoon Saban while still getting locked out of practice.

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