Dooley in need of instant assistance

'70 percent of our roster will be freshmen or sophomores'

Dooley's recruiting process about building relationships, not flinging hot sauce

Derek Dooley doesn't sell playing time.

For one thing, that's a fairly common pitch on the recruiting trail and certainly wouldn't be unique to the Tennessee football coach.

For another, it doesn't take much work for anybody to figure out there are plenty of opportunities available to contribute on the UT roster right now.

And perhaps just as important, after handing out only a handful of redshirts to his first signing class a year ago, Dooley already has a track record of rolling out his young players - whether by necessity or not.

So many of the 28 signatures he collected on National Signing Day could soon become familiar names, because Dooley clearly still has a need for some instant help.

"Take this statistic," Dooley said Wednesday. "Next year's team, probably 70 percent of our roster will be freshmen and sophomores. We're going to be one of the youngest teams in the country next year. And I know that probably shocks everybody, but that's the deal.

"So this class is very important. And probably, who knows, but there will probably be a good opportunity for these guys to get on the field early."

There may be no other option for the Vols as they continue to restock the depth chart, and Dooley's second class could easily match the first in terms of early playing time.

Only two teams in the nation used more true freshmen than UT employed a year ago, a stat Dooley would ideally prefer not to become a staple of his program.

He didn't offer a specific quota for redshirts he'd like to fill down the road, but certainly the goal in his risk-managing approach to recruiting is to ensure that upperclassmen are making it more difficult for players to see the field as soon as they arrive on campus.

"When I was at Louisiana Tech, we played about 10 (true freshmen) a year," Dooley said. "If you're playing 10, it means you're probably pretty stout on upper-level starters. It doesn't mean you're a bad team.

"Now, what we do is we don't make decisions on redshirting guys. I never do, really, until about the eighth, ninth game of the season. So, we structure practice in a way that if they come here the first couple of weeks and they're not doing well, we don't panic. . . . I don't really project it. Generally, every time I try and do that I've been wrong. The guy I think is going to play redshirts and the guy I said there's no way ends up being one of the better players."

That obviously wasn't much of an issue last year since the Vols needed pretty much every available body to fill out a two-deep, with only quarterback Nash Nance, offensive lineman Marques Pair, punter Matt Darr, defensive lineman Greg Clark, linebacker Martaze Jackson and defensive back Ted Meline taking redshirt seasons.

And that was even with the benefit of a reasonably deep class of seniors a year ago, which is gone now and leaving some opportunity in the wake.

"Everybody sells it," Dooley said. "Look, every coach out there says you can play as a freshman and if the kid wants to believe he'll believe it. Is it important to the player? Yes. However, every program is selling it if they can. I don't know if that's as big a deal.

"I do think what a lot of the players saw was a lot of young guys out there performing well and they felt like the program shift in the right direction. But we have to remember we are in rigorous process and not even close to where we need to be as a program. It's a long journey ahead of us, but this is to me another positive step."

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

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Comments » 98

Smooth_as_Eggs writes:

Who was the 28th signature?

UTSportsFanatic writes:

in response to Smooth_as_Eggs:

Who was the 28th signature?

Eddrick Loften

wigmeister writes:

He is doing a great job the right way!

skyhawk836 writes:

http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1045421...

Nice article.
This staff is good.

dvols writes:

coach said.....70% of the Vols will be freshman and sophmores in 2012.....only 12 seniors.....

born2ride writes:

Dooley has had one winning season in his coaching career. It will take a good recruiting class and weak schedule to get his second.

kyletrktr writes:

in response to born2ride:

Dooley has had one winning season in his coaching career. It will take a good recruiting class and weak schedule to get his second.

As mad as those kind of comments make people, it's also those comments that inspires the coaches and players to win fans approval... so thanks!

tn88volfan writes:

in response to born2ride:

Dooley has had one winning season in his coaching career. It will take a good recruiting class and weak schedule to get his second.

obviously the trolls are nervous when they beat us to reading articles about tennessee or their coaches, Poof be gone

arkyvol writes:

darryl royal (former coach of the other u.t.) used to say about young teams: "if a dog's gonna bite, he'll do it as a pup."

nocleats writes:

Buckling down and making the grades, and busting it like never before in the weight room and conditioning will allow some of these players a chance to shine this fall. But Qualifying and Getting in the best condition of their life is so important. 6 months starting now till fall camp!!! Every day, every minute, make em count guys!

Southland writes:

so, I am wondering how bad the NCAA is going to hit UT for the Kiffin mess. Combined with Pearl's antics Mike Hamilton will be hunting a job in a couple of months. I am hoping that we do not get banned from post season play. I am also confused by the anti UT people posting on articles lately. Do they not have anything better to do

bigorange61 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Dooley has had one winning season in his coaching career. It will take a good recruiting class and weak schedule to get his second.

Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa State. You do know who Gene Chizik is right?

djohnnyg writes:

The thing with Kiffin is HE IS the real deal. That's why we were so excited about him in the first place. You saw what he and Orgeron did in short order here.

Say what you want about senile, crazy old Al Davis, but he has an eye for talent. He's nuts yes, but he has an eye for talent. He brought in Gruden, had a great draft last year and yes, he hired Kiffin.

If Kiffin would've stayed we would be in the top 5 nationally to start next season.

That being said, he IS A SCUMBAG and a slimeball and he will get his payback in due time and we are much better off without him.

I would rather lose with dignity and character than win with that weasel.

He made Al Davis look like a benevolent nice guy.

I question Dooley's decision making in losing the LSU and UNC games, but I don't question his character.

I think "character" is making a comeback and that bodes well for UT.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to nocleats:

Buckling down and making the grades, and busting it like never before in the weight room and conditioning will allow some of these players a chance to shine this fall. But Qualifying and Getting in the best condition of their life is so important. 6 months starting now till fall camp!!! Every day, every minute, make em count guys!

You are correct! These guys need to know they are going to be asked to step it up quickly! They need to be sponges when the coaches are yelling at them, too, so they can eliminate their mistakes! It's still going to be tough! 70% THIS fall freshman or soph?! If we win 8, Dooley is coach of the year!

Couchdummy writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

The thing with Kiffin is HE IS the real deal. That's why we were so excited about him in the first place. You saw what he and Orgeron did in short order here.

Say what you want about senile, crazy old Al Davis, but he has an eye for talent. He's nuts yes, but he has an eye for talent. He brought in Gruden, had a great draft last year and yes, he hired Kiffin.

If Kiffin would've stayed we would be in the top 5 nationally to start next season.

That being said, he IS A SCUMBAG and a slimeball and he will get his payback in due time and we are much better off without him.

I would rather lose with dignity and character than win with that weasel.

He made Al Davis look like a benevolent nice guy.

I question Dooley's decision making in losing the LSU and UNC games, but I don't question his character.

I think "character" is making a comeback and that bodes well for UT.

Very well stated. I'll take class over swagger any day! There is a balance that needs to be struck.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and you'll still be trolling this site

peerlessvolfan writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1045421...

Nice article.
This staff is good.

Thanks for sharing this!

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Where you been troll boy. One more basketball win and were 6-2. Someone better start looking for a place to live because you will owe me a mobile home.

BluezVol writes:

Should Dooley win 8 games this season plus a bowl game, my concern is that if UGA has another lack-luster year, Richt is gone and guess who they'll come after? I think this scenario is not out of the bounds of reason. I would sorely hate having to find another coach should Dooley bolt.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to bigorange61:

Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa State. You do know who Gene Chizik is right?

Yes we know, he is not the coach at UT. So on to this current class of players. While I am happy to see the Vols may end up in the top ten in recruiting and I do know no one pays attention to the so called rankings (unless your team is rated number one)I am somewhat discouraged to find 4 or 5 SEC teams rated above them. The Vols must improve their position in the SEC and unfortunately the same teams finishing ahead in recruiting are the same teams beating them during the season. I guess only time will tell but if you don't have better players then you will likely not catch up with that guy we don't know who he is and others like him.

OTPVol writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds to me like a coach prepping the first wave of a dynasty.

fpcoach writes:

that NCAA thing. If, as expected by many, ut loses scholarships, that 4th or 5th best recruiting class in the SEC now becomes 8th best

You continue to show your ignorance, they don't take away scholarships from kids that already have them, what a moron.

CCLC writes:

AS a the Freshman Coach in the SEC CDD did admirably well in coaching and recruiting.
Here’s who mined the state of Georgia Top 25 players for signatures:

12… Georgia
3… Auburn
2… Alabama
2… Tennessee
1… California
1… Florida State
1… Georgia Tech
1… Notre Dame
1… Stanford
1… Junior College

jimr07 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Should Dooley win 8 games this season plus a bowl game, my concern is that if UGA has another lack-luster year, Richt is gone and guess who they'll come after? I think this scenario is not out of the bounds of reason. I would sorely hate having to find another coach should Dooley bolt.

Nice positive post.

coach799 writes:

you people who complain about our recruiting number do realize how close the talent is from the #1 to the #20 team don't you? The other UT has been in the top 5 for years and how many games did they win last year?

Coaching them up is the key. UT is on the way back from our lowest point. Get used to it.

GO VOLS!!

tnfanincali writes:

I don't usually acknowledge trolls, but I just have to say, vandy grad is such a loser. How pathetic is his life?
Loving what Dooley is doing at Tennessee. The future is bright!

spencer1989#206886 writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

The thing with Kiffin is HE IS the real deal. That's why we were so excited about him in the first place. You saw what he and Orgeron did in short order here.

Say what you want about senile, crazy old Al Davis, but he has an eye for talent. He's nuts yes, but he has an eye for talent. He brought in Gruden, had a great draft last year and yes, he hired Kiffin.

If Kiffin would've stayed we would be in the top 5 nationally to start next season.

That being said, he IS A SCUMBAG and a slimeball and he will get his payback in due time and we are much better off without him.

I would rather lose with dignity and character than win with that weasel.

He made Al Davis look like a benevolent nice guy.

I question Dooley's decision making in losing the LSU and UNC games, but I don't question his character.

I think "character" is making a comeback and that bodes well for UT.

The way I saw it.....Lameo simply wanted to win the recruiting war by bringing in the prima donnas and without the focus of building depth. What CDD is doing is building depth....Which is what we need (and with players of character). Just like the 2007 class, where are all those players today? Having a number one recuriting class is not always the answer. If that works so well, look at what it did for USC last year....Not a great deal. Frankly I am glad Lameo is gone, was completely sick of his mouth and arrogance, and I am tickled to death we got a coach that tells you like it is (like it or not)....And one that has us headed in the right direction. In other words, I would rather be riding a slow, powerful moving strong train (going in the right direction) than one that shoots out really fast and fizzles out on the first hill it hits.

KnoxKiffin writes:

in response to arkyvol:

darryl royal (former coach of the other u.t.) used to say about young teams: "if a dog's gonna bite, he'll do it as a pup."

I would rather deal with a pup than a full grown dog.

ThurmondEppy writes:

in response to NachoDaddy_76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I had a similar fear that UGA would come calling for Derek soon. I think that it is unlikely that Dooley would want to live under his daddy's shadow at UGA. I live in ATL and I've talked with a number of UGA alunmni about that. You can't believe how big Vince is around here. People think Vince is a god. The prevailing thought around here is that Derek wants to be his own guy and wouldn't be interested in UGA.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to CCLC:

AS a the Freshman Coach in the SEC CDD did admirably well in coaching and recruiting.
Here’s who mined the state of Georgia Top 25 players for signatures:

12… Georgia
3… Auburn
2… Alabama
2… Tennessee
1… California
1… Florida State
1… Georgia Tech
1… Notre Dame
1… Stanford
1… Junior College

Breaking news: You got top-notch players from your own state. Whoopee freaking doo.
So did LSU, UT, Alabama and FSU.

CCLC writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Should Dooley win 8 games this season plus a bowl game, my concern is that if UGA has another lack-luster year, Richt is gone and guess who they'll come after? I think this scenario is not out of the bounds of reason. I would sorely hate having to find another coach should Dooley bolt.

CMR will be a Georgia through 2012 that is when his current contract expires. He is an excellent recruiter and should win 8 games in 2011 when you consider the schedule he has. That keeps him in Athens thru 2011. It gives a young CDD a chance to show he can win at a big time program and to polish his resume. Barbara has made no bones about the fact she wants them granbabies closer to MeeMaw. I'm sure PapaDooley would love to be able to watch a UGa/Tennessee game live.
just sayin'

CCLC writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Breaking news: You got top-notch players from your own state. Whoopee freaking doo.
So did LSU, UT, Alabama and FSU.

The point of the post which you clearly missed is that in the Freshman Coach's first attempt at competing recruiting wise in the SEC(I don't count last year as 80% of the work was done by Lame) .... he measured up well with the last two national champions from the SEC.

CCLC writes:

in response to ThurmondEppy:

I had a similar fear that UGA would come calling for Derek soon. I think that it is unlikely that Dooley would want to live under his daddy's shadow at UGA. I live in ATL and I've talked with a number of UGA alunmni about that. You can't believe how big Vince is around here. People think Vince is a god. The prevailing thought around here is that Derek wants to be his own guy and wouldn't be interested in UGA.

Not entirely true. Young Dooley wanted to play ball and went to Virginia as a walk on. Doubt that he would have seen the field at Georgia and that would have awkward to say the least. He did return to Georgia football program as a grad assistant and graduated law from Georgia as well. Papa Dooley lived in Athens the whole time young DD was in school. So much for the shadow. DD was like a lot of kids growing up in a college town. He just wanted a change of scenery.

Volunatic writes:

Don't feed the trolls, y'all.

Bigger_Al writes:

While two other programs may have played more True Frosh, I'd bet nobody played more minutes at prominent positions than UT.

By my count, 55 guys will have been on campus for less than 2 years next season. That doesn't even count 9 redshirt Sophs. So even though some guys have played and others will play early, they haven't had the weight room and maturity that they need to be their best. That means more growing pains in 2011. By the end of next year, we should be looking pretty solid, and 2012 and onward looks like lots of fun.

TommyJack writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice one, Cubicle Boy. Straight from KNS.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He doesn't care about being right or wrong. Just about the number of responses he can generate for his employer's website. He'll be back as soon as he writes his next column.

BigOrangeInEngland writes:

Now then, I know I’m from the land of soccer (football to us !!) and rugby but in all sports, tradition and a sense of history always provide teams with the fortitude to climb back to the top when times are bad. The big teams in sports never stay dormant for long.

The turnaround starts with the coach. After being in the doldrums for a few years England Rugby employed Clive Woodward in 1997 and he won the Rugby World Cup in 2003. I know that’s six years later but the World Cup is only played every 4 years so he only had one shot before that in 1999. He instilled methods and training from American Football and coached players up to succeed.

Our situation is similar BUT we get a shot every year at a title. I think CDD will have us at the 10-2 mark in 2012.

Thanks for all your comments after my first few posts. I live in a small town in Lincolnshire, about 40 miles from Nottingham. Originally from near London so I have a cockney accent !! Southern at heart though !!

Go Vols !!!

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, Phil, I suppose YOU could have done better last year with the same roster/schedule?

Mule_Days_King writes:

Jealous trolls sure are funny. Stupid ones are too.

What's hilarious is when you have a troll that is stupid and jealous.

Any guesses as to whom I speak of? Anyone? Anyone?

apd7081 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Should Dooley win 8 games this season plus a bowl game, my concern is that if UGA has another lack-luster year, Richt is gone and guess who they'll come after? I think this scenario is not out of the bounds of reason. I would sorely hate having to find another coach should Dooley bolt.

I had the same thought last night. Not about Dooley winning 8 games (although that would be spectacular), but if Richt goes after this year will GA come knocking on Dooley's door? There are a lot of variables that come in to play here, not the least of which is would he want to put himself in the position of REALLY living in his father's shadow?

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Jealous trolls sure are funny. Stupid ones are too.

What's hilarious is when you have a troll that is stupid and jealous.

Any guesses as to whom I speak of? Anyone? Anyone?

OOH! OOH!
WAIT A MINUTE!
WAIT A MINUTE!
I KNOW THIS ONE!

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

This Vol team will win in Gainesville in September. Florida has a major quarterback problem. Brantley will be booed out of his own stadium and they don't have a backup. We finally got enough offense to hang a big number on them.

Sure, we will lose 2 or 3 games later on in the season. But we passed by the gay-tors with the signings this week. We are headed upwards again!

Book it!!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to ghost_of_which_doctor:

This Vol team will win in Gainesville in September. Florida has a major quarterback problem. Brantley will be booed out of his own stadium and they don't have a backup. We finally got enough offense to hang a big number on them.

Sure, we will lose 2 or 3 games later on in the season. But we passed by the gay-tors with the signings this week. We are headed upwards again!

Book it!!!

Driskel is already in school and will likely back up Brantley.

easleychuck writes:

in response to WEAREBETTERTHANVANDY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You make up stuff and then comment on it like it has some basis in fact.

You know what that makes you, right?

Are you so stupid to not understand that all that is required is to actually have good recruiting classes and then train and coach the kids properly.

On second thought, I have seen some of your analysis, you really are that dense.

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Driskel is already in school and will likely back up Brantley.

Yes, I know. But is a true freshman going to be ready in Cheeseburger Charlie Weis offense by the third game of the season? I think not!!!

Brantley is such a basketcase these days that Driskel will be the starter by mid-season. But that will after a big L to the Vols baaaaaaaaby!

ZacharyUTK writes:

Hahahaha.... the article says "Only two teams in the nation used more true freshmen than UT employed a year ago"

Hahaha... 'employed'. No, GVX -- that was Auburn.

:)

rockytopatl writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1045421...

Nice article.
This staff is good.

Yep, that's one fine paragraph. Incredibly talented writer.

rockytopatl writes:

in response to ThurmondEppy:

I had a similar fear that UGA would come calling for Derek soon. I think that it is unlikely that Dooley would want to live under his daddy's shadow at UGA. I live in ATL and I've talked with a number of UGA alunmni about that. You can't believe how big Vince is around here. People think Vince is a god. The prevailing thought around here is that Derek wants to be his own guy and wouldn't be interested in UGA.

Not to mention the politics at UGA. The university president, Michael Adams, feuded with Vince for years and basically ran him off. No way is Adams going to hire his son a few years later.

Vol fans with this worry are just paranoid.

Pompey writes:

in response to born2ride:

Dooley has had one winning season in his coaching career. It will take a good recruiting class and weak schedule to get his second.

...hey born2ride.....I got something that you can ride out on.....

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