Derek Dooley eagerly awaits signees' arrival

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley signals to the White sideline during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011.  White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley signals to the White sideline during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011. White won the game 24-7 over Orange.

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The Tennessee wish list has two entries for June.

The first is for 15 more practices, which Derek Dooley already knows he won’t be getting.

The other is for a bunch of talent to show up on campus, and the Vols coach is counting on receiving that to help add some depth to a roster that certainly could use it.

UT wrapped up spring camp with Saturday’s 24-7 exhibition win for the White over the Orange at Neyland Stadium, capping off 15 workouts that Dooley generally praised from start to finish. But regardless of how much improvement Dooley might have seen as he begins preparing for his second season with the program, he made at least one thing clear as the Vols head into the offseason.

“We’re not good enough anywhere right now,” Dooley said. “When you say compete for an SEC championship, which is what we need to be doing here in this program, it’s hard to say there’s one position that is ready to compete for an SEC championship. It’s everything — there is no one area.

“We’re improved, but there’s a long way to go. There are some areas where we feel like we’ve got enough players to continue to develop, and there are others areas where we’re going to need some help. That’s where June comes around and we’re going to have another 20 more guys pop in the door. We’ll train them all summer and see how they can fit in and help us, and we’re going to need their help.”

The Vols did benefit from some early assistance from six early enrollees this spring, including several that could be significant contributors right away. And since UT won’t be getting 15 more practices to add to those it just completed like Dooley has half-jokingly asked for, the addition of the rest of the 2011 signing class is the surest way to find more bodies that can contribute.

Justin Coleman impressed at cornerback and made two eye-catching pass breakups in one-on-one situations against Justin Hunter on Saturday, and he figures to play a prominent role in the defensive back derby UT will stage in fall camp.

Marcus Jackson wasted little time moving into the starting lineup this spring, battling at guard with returning sophomore JerQuari Schofield and holding his own thanks mostly to the power he generates with his 6-foot-2, 326-pound frame. And Vincent Dallas and Brendan Downs both showed flashes of potential in the passing game, the former as a slot receiver and the latter as a physical tight end.

But the Vols still have plenty of holes to fill on a depth chart notably lacking much of a veteran presence, which could make June a bit like Christmas for Dooley — particularly if the rising sophomore class continues to develop as scheduled at the same time.

“I think they’ve made progress, but I don’t think they grasp it right now — what it means and the intensity level, the mental intensity and the work ethic,” Dooley said. “So we’re just going to keep working on that. Hopefully over the next eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 weeks before we report, we make another jump in how we work and how we recover and our ability to sustain.

“We’re deeper than we were a year ago. I think when we get these 20 more guys, hopefully they’ll (help). The real question is going to be how many are ready to help us this year. They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

If the Vols don’t have it now, they might at least be close in June.

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 » 40

voloffaith writes:

Yes, depth is a plus as worn down defense showed on occasions in the fray last year....Frist?

eVOLved writes:

First

(sorry)

voloffaith writes:

in response to eVOLved:

First

(sorry)

No I was Frist..just not Bill

RJ_Vol writes:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

bigorangenerd writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

That excuse is still perfectly viable. With so many sophs and frosh on the 2 deep, depth is still a glaring problem. Agree though that next spring is probably the expiration date for it. I'll still swallow that pill this season though.

FWBVol writes:

If you look at our team we will still be extremely young this year. In some areas -- such as wide receiver, the offensive line and linebackers -- we will be younger than we were last season.

I believe we will be improved this year, and based on how the rest of the SEC East could shake out, might contend for the division title. I really think that 2012 will be the break out year for us under Dooley.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Building MUCH needed depth and talent..Slow but sure will win the race as long as we keep landing top#15 classes. you don't necessarily need a heisman winner to win a Sec championship; just overall solid players and dominant ol and dl wins games

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

I want to say first I like Tyler, and expect nice things from him. But, I wish he would stop flinging it, and start throwing it. Yes there is a subtle difference and I hope he picks up on it over the summer.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

Dooley is just being honest, maybe too honest to satisfy the optimistic outlook of some fans, but he probably is right on...The program was neck deep in mire when he arrived and it takes time to compete against the SEC teams he will face in 2011...

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

Well, I think it's par for the course as some of these fans see a few good plays and think that suddenly we're ready to win an SEC Championship! He's just being realistic! He realizes that it will take some time to build a solid team! We must have PATIENCE my fellow VOL fans!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

I'm sure he's also taking a page from the "under promise and over deliver" book and since he's a (hopefully reformed) lawyer, he is measuring his words carefully!

VOL03_NC writes:

I saw a group of freshman and soph that played fairly well last year. As backups, the new incomming should prove most helpful. Remember the depleated LB situation? Hopefully the injuries are held to a minimum and fresh bodies are put in to help not replace.

OSKYs_Sports_Bra_and_Girll writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

Do you not like Dooley as a Manager or a Person? And who are you to say the depth excuse has "run its course" ? You probably expect Conzo to go to the final Four without All-SEC guard Scotty Hopson next year!

It's fans like you that ran off the best coach in the SEC from his Alma Mater in the middle of the season. Ultimately that's why we're here. Then another group ran off the All-Star Coaching staff we assembled. Did you take part in harassing the coaches family or rioting?

CharlotteVol writes:

in response to OSKYs_Sports_Bra_and_Girll:

Do you not like Dooley as a Manager or a Person? And who are you to say the depth excuse has "run its course" ? You probably expect Conzo to go to the final Four without All-SEC guard Scotty Hopson next year!

It's fans like you that ran off the best coach in the SEC from his Alma Mater in the middle of the season. Ultimately that's why we're here. Then another group ran off the All-Star Coaching staff we assembled. Did you take part in harassing the coaches family or rioting?

You win my vote for stupid post of the night.

tovolny writes:

in response to CharlotteVol:

You win my vote for stupid post of the night.

I'll second that...all in favor say, "YES, IT WAS A FLUKE, BUT GET OVER IT, PLEASE." Can we move on now?

flatrock writes:

Las Vegas' ratings system to determine strength of
football teams (with my ratings of 2011 Vols)...
Positions are listed in order of most importance
to those who set the lines:

1.) Offensive line (B-)
2.) defensive line (B-)
3.) defensive secondary (B)
4.) QB (c+)
5.) linebackers (C+)
6.) running backs (B)
7.) receivers (B-)
8.) kicking game (C-)

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

We are lacking both a senior and junior class this season, so depth will still be an issue in 2012 season, though it should be less of one. in 2013 season, we should have normal distribution of players throughout the classes.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

Bray needs to get out there with the receivers and throw to them almost every day. That is what Peyton did. Develope some great chemistry.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

I think I spelled developed wrong. Bray has NFL potential and so do some of these receivers. Justin Hunter for sure. I'm not worried; we have a HEISMAN TROPHY candidate in Matt Simms!!!!!

mbain13 writes:

in response to CharlotteVol:

You win my vote for stupid post of the night.

i agree

govols1981 writes:

i love my tennessee football,but the performance i seen from bray was absolutely awful.i liked the hustle i saw from matt simms and he is definitly wanting his starting job back.i mean come on bray 5 for 30.he better get his stuff together quick.i also liked that brodus kid that was kicking the field goals.i cant wait to see what my boy devrin young from bearden can do when he gets to practice. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to Govolsinmemphica:

I think I spelled developed wrong. Bray has NFL potential and so do some of these receivers. Justin Hunter for sure. I'm not worried; we have a HEISMAN TROPHY candidate in Matt Simms!!!!!

I think my greatest fear as a Vol fan is the sophomore slump for Bray. He has a rocket for an arm, and he can throw the deep ball. Most of all, he's very accurate.

That said, I'm hoping against a sophomore slump like Ainge experienced. I'm glad we've got Simms there to push Bray and provide leadership. Simms' presence will be very important as we move into summer.

jack_2222#231746 writes:

How many seniors are being counted on? Simms, Poole, Austin Johnson, Vereen, and the big loss Malik Jackson. Even if you count A Anderson and Evans, who else?

This is an awful young team.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

Bray needs to get out there with the receivers and throw to them almost every day. That is what Peyton did. Develope some great chemistry.

Bogus writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ha!

rbut5252#220065 writes:

...fumbled away another punt....that worries me.

utk1996 writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

Seventy-five percent of the roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores. Seventy-five percent.

TKG_VOL writes:

All they need to do is watch the film and work like heck.

VOLliven2it writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

That "excuse" pal is just the truth. He is not acting like we will be conference beaters when we are still having to overcome losses during the Head Coach Twinky(LK)days. In 2012-2013 we should see remarkable depth and talent nearing levels we once were accustomed to. A lot of us need to chill out and try to be patient. That comes from a person who is not naturally patient at all.

VOLliven2it writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

We are lacking both a senior and junior class this season, so depth will still be an issue in 2012 season, though it should be less of one. in 2013 season, we should have normal distribution of players throughout the classes.

Lifer, you have the right idea. I do not like it but it's the truth. I hope many of us will remember this as we have some "unforeseen" struggles this fall. Still, overall we will be better than last year....I hope!

VOLliven2it writes:

in response to TKG_VOL:

All they need to do is watch the film and work like heck.

Do they get to have biscuits and gravy too?

TKG_VOL writes:

in response to VOLliven2it:

Do they get to have biscuits and gravy too?

And the whole ham with it.

TKG_VOL writes:

If you really think about it, I feel Tenn has just as good of a shot at the East title a anyone. I know we are down somewhat on depth by numbers but barring any rash of injuries to our starters and 2nds we just might pull this off. A little luck wouldn't hurt either, (LSU, NC) games. The West opponents will be the toughest.

Pompey writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

..."They may not be ready the first game, but we’re going to keep developing them. I’m not sure we’re going to have where we can say we have depth until a year from now. We just don’t.”

I like Dooley as a coach quite a bit, but that excuse has just about run its course. After next spring, I don't want to hear it.

....not excuses but evaluations, and honest one's for a change. Your old cronies Phat boy and surfer boy destroyed what was left of the football program and you want results overnight.....go follow curling...

murrayvol writes:

in response to jack_2222#231746:

How many seniors are being counted on? Simms, Poole, Austin Johnson, Vereen, and the big loss Malik Jackson. Even if you count A Anderson and Evans, who else?

This is an awful young team.

I might have said a "very" young team.

VOLtage writes:

"and we’re going to have another 20 more guys pop in the door". Funny!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TheMemphisSlim:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

In Kessling's defense, he did have Andy "Taylor" down on the field for a post-game interview.

Where have you gone, John Ward?

FarmerVol writes:

With the guys coming in, we can stop playing folks that are afraid to tackle and drop punts. I like our chances of a few of them making a statement immediately. Just hope Marlin can run like Williams. GBO - Beat FLGAALSC.

govols1981 writes:

go vols

quickslant writes:

in response to OSKYs_Sports_Bra_and_Girll:

Do you not like Dooley as a Manager or a Person? And who are you to say the depth excuse has "run its course" ? You probably expect Conzo to go to the final Four without All-SEC guard Scotty Hopson next year!

It's fans like you that ran off the best coach in the SEC from his Alma Mater in the middle of the season. Ultimately that's why we're here. Then another group ran off the All-Star Coaching staff we assembled. Did you take part in harassing the coaches family or rioting?

RJ said he likes him...., guess you didn't see that.

Who was the 'best coach in the SEC' you are talking about?
It can't be Fulmer, and I can prove it...

Fulmer's record since 1998:
* Losses to unranked teams 6 years in a row
* 6 consecutive seasons with 3 or more losses (8 out of last 9)
* 4 year records immediately following national championship:
- Fulmer ranks 57th out of 77 national champions since 1936
- Fulmer ranks 18th out of last 19 national champions?
* Overall record 2005 - 2007: 18-13 (.581)
* Overall record 2002 - 2007: 46-24 (.657); worse than any 5 year stretch since 1980 - 1984
* SEC games 2005 - 2008 10-11
* SEC East games 2005 - 2008: 6-7
* 4-10 (.286) vs. Ranked Teams 2005 - present
* Lost 5 out of last 6 games vs. ranked teams (last 4 losses were non-competitive)
* 2006 Vol rushing defense gave up more yards per carry (4.70) than any Vol team since UTAD begin keeping the stats in 1951?

* Consecutive seasons without SEC title: 9
* Consecutive seasons without BCS bowl: 8
* Consecutive seasons without top 10 ranking: 6

* Seasons excluded from AP and/or Coaches Top 25: 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 (and probably 2007)
* Seasons with 3 or more losses: 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
* Seasons with 4 or more losses: 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007
* Seasons with 5 or more losses: 2002, 2005
* Seasons with multiple losses to unranked teams: 2003, 2005, 2007

* Consecutive seasons with a loss in last two games of season: 8
* Seasons with double digit postseason loss: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 (every year they played in the postseason)

He got complacent, lazy, whatever you want to call it, and it showed on the field. I guess that's why so many schools are beating on his door now, huh?

I'm not even going to respond to your comment on the 'All-Star' coaching staff, if you couldn't tell that those clowns were nothing but trouble there is nothing I can say to help you...., but I'm very thankful that they're gone.

word.

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