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Take the brief Lane Kiffin Era out of Tennessee's recent history and replace it with an extra year of Derek Dooley.
It can be reasonably assumed the past two years wouldn't have included a breakfast after National Signing Day spiced up by allegations of cheating by a rival.
There might not have ever been the need to rent a helicopter to fly around Georgia on the recruiting trail.
And there's a chance the NCAA investigators still poking at Kiffin as UT heads for its June date with the Committee on Infractions might not be so worried about the football program.
But the real issue that might be different for Dooley if he was preparing for his third season instead of his second really has nothing to do with his specific predecessor - just as long as it wasn't Phillip Fulmer.
"I think the first thing, about 14 players left when Lane came in," Dooley said in an interview last month. "Now, there would be some attrition regardless, but it's hard to measure. Would there have been 14? I don't know. Lane and I have very different styles. But then when I came in there was another bulk of attrition.
"So there were a lot of players that left that wouldn't have left, I think we can agree on that - maybe we would have had 10 or 12 more players. Then on top of that, we had two transitions in recruiting, coaches in recruiting areas, having a good feel for who the juniors are, and so we went from two to one. Yeah, it made a difference, and it wasn't because of who the coach was. It was just the fact you had another change on top of a change that set you back considerably."
I think the first thing, about 14 players left when Lane (Kiffin) came in. Now, there would be some attrition regardless, but it's hard to measure. Would there have been 14? I don't know. Lane and I have very different styles. But then when I came in there was another bulk of attrition.
In the same way the identity of the coach might not have made a difference, it's a similar story with the players who are no longer a part of the program.
It's not the loss of well-known names like Aaron Douglas, Bryce Brown or Lennon Creer that have forced the Vols to scramble to rebuild depth, it's the sheer volume of bodies that disappeared. The current roster includes 15 seniors, but only seven of them were listed on UT's post-spring depth chart. Of those seven, Malik Jackson and Matt Simms transferred to the program last year, and three others - Austin Johnson, Anthony Anderson and Daryl Vereen - have combined to make a total of two career starts.
And driving home the point about the veteran talent Dooley inherited was the NFL draft last weekend, an event typically stocked with Vols but one that featured just a fourth-round pick and a fifth-rounder this year.
"I think Dooley would be making better progress because he'd have his guys in here," senior running back Tauren Poole said last week. "He'd be two years in if it went from Fulmer to Dooley, actually going into his third, so he probably would have built his foundation, he'd have his players in here and be building guys up, have his philosophy established into the program.
"Guys would buy in and as you'd see, most SEC coaches need a year or two to be successful."
Despite several coaches in the league turning two years into a title, most recently Auburn's Gene Chizik, the situation at UT doesn't appear to be setting up for a run at a championship this fall.
It's impossible to know what the results would be if Dooley had gone from a bowl run after two seasons at Louisiana Tech straight to a job with the Vols - taking the torch directly from Fulmer instead of second-hand from Kiffin. But at least if there hadn't been an extra set of hands on it, the UT roster might include some extra bodies.
"I'm seeing now that everybody has success in Year Two, and guess what, I had it at Louisiana Tech my second year," Dooley said. "There's a lot of truth to that, but there has to be some foundation of something when you get there.
"I think people generally have a feel that it has been difficult, but you would never really understand it until you shadow me day to day. All I can say is, I don't believe there's ever been a coach walk into a program of this magnitude under the circumstances that we did last year."