Vanderbilt game 'defines our season'

Commodores stand in way of Vols' bowl hopes

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The previous experience might prove useful.

Austin Johnson clearly would prefer never to have needed it, and he certainly isn't thrilled that he's leaning on it again.

But the Tennessee senior is back in a familiar situation after a 49-7 blowout loss at No. 6 Arkansas on Saturday night. The Vols are completely out of breathing room in the push for a bowl berth as they head into the final two games of the regular season, needing wins in both of them to extend their year — a scenario Johnson is all too familiar with.

"I didn't think we'd be at this point, but we are," Johnson said. "We've been to this point pretty much my whole career since I've been here. It's a challenge that I think this team is ready for, and they know we've got to bow our backs and win these last two games.

"We've got a great Vandy team coming in here, so we've got to go out and win these last two games and make a bowl."

The Vols (4-6, 0-6 SEC) had to do the same thing a year ago against Kentucky and the Commodores, who visit Neyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.).

UT actually had more work to do during Johnson's junior campaign, entering the final month of the season needing to rattle off four victories to punch a ticket to the Music City Bowl. But if the middle linebacker is going to help lead an encore, the Vols are going to need a much better collective effort than the one they turned in against the Razorbacks (9-1, 5-1).

An improved defense collapsed under the weight of a relentless, balanced offense that picked apart UT on the ground and through the air. The Vols showed some progress with their rushing attack, but it was still plagued by inconsistency and didn't get all that much help from a passing game that featured Da'Rick

Rogers, a big play from Rajion Neal and little else. The special teams might have had bigger issues than either of those phases, giving up a highlight-reel punt return for a score, whiffing on a chance to scoop up a fumbled kickoff and failing to execute a fake field goal.

But even after all that, the Vols still control their destiny. And it's not exactly a secret that it's up to them to determine it, starting with a battle against the confident Commodores (5-5, 2-5).

"I feel pressure every week, you know," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "It's not any additional pressure. We're going to coach them like we do every week and prepare like we do every week. We got a good football team coming in next week, licking their chops. Better get ready.

"We're going to get defined by how we play the next two weeks. We play like crap, we'll go down as a bad football team. If we play good, then we'll go down as a team that fought it to the end and was able to pull it out. It's not really complex."

Dooley has steadfastly refused to label his team in those simple terms all season, publicly stressing that the identity of his second team would be clear when its work for the year is done.

The clock is ticking now, just like it was for his first squad with the Vols.

"I mean, this is the season for us, really," Johnson said. "It defines our season. We've got a tough week this week with Vandy, they're playing great ball right now, they need one more win for a bowl game, we need two more.

"We've got our backs against the wall."

Johnson knows what that feels like. He also has some prior experience fighting through that adversity and into a bowl game.

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 » 112

jschariter#367312 writes:

I don't what to say. My guess is there will be a lot of empty seats next Saturday Night. I could not even give away extra South Carolina tickets a couple of weeks ago to friends and family. It is discouraging to see poor effort, poor preparation, little heart and pride in second half of games along with little apparent adjustments made at half time. Yes we are young, but our underclassmen were rated below almost half the rest of the conference when they came out of high school, and thus far nothing has shown that Dooley and staff are better at developing players than Saban, Miles, Spurrier, Muschamp, Richt, Chizik, or Petrino. I was cheered up after the game Saturday night by promptly buying tickets to see the Lady Vols play Miami this Tuesday. At least Pat won't let the players lay down and quit even if they are losing.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

If they plan, prepare, and coach the same way as previous attempts, then this will be the 0-7 mark we've been denying long enough. If this team doesn't show up to play, we'll finish 4-8. Book it!

harveyupdyketreehugger writes:

in response to jschariter#367312:

I don't what to say. My guess is there will be a lot of empty seats next Saturday Night. I could not even give away extra South Carolina tickets a couple of weeks ago to friends and family. It is discouraging to see poor effort, poor preparation, little heart and pride in second half of games along with little apparent adjustments made at half time. Yes we are young, but our underclassmen were rated below almost half the rest of the conference when they came out of high school, and thus far nothing has shown that Dooley and staff are better at developing players than Saban, Miles, Spurrier, Muschamp, Richt, Chizik, or Petrino. I was cheered up after the game Saturday night by promptly buying tickets to see the Lady Vols play Miami this Tuesday. At least Pat won't let the players lay down and quit even if they are losing.

Come on back in a couple of years when we're competitive again. Sounds like you don't have the stomach to support your team through the tough times. Have a great time at The Lady Vols game.

ACWLY writes:

in response to jschariter#367312:

I don't what to say. My guess is there will be a lot of empty seats next Saturday Night. I could not even give away extra South Carolina tickets a couple of weeks ago to friends and family. It is discouraging to see poor effort, poor preparation, little heart and pride in second half of games along with little apparent adjustments made at half time. Yes we are young, but our underclassmen were rated below almost half the rest of the conference when they came out of high school, and thus far nothing has shown that Dooley and staff are better at developing players than Saban, Miles, Spurrier, Muschamp, Richt, Chizik, or Petrino. I was cheered up after the game Saturday night by promptly buying tickets to see the Lady Vols play Miami this Tuesday. At least Pat won't let the players lay down and quit even if they are losing.

I agree, but to me it was the coaches that quit last Saturday so what were the players suppose to do? Anyway, it doesn't look good as to beating Vandy but our players are just as good as theirs so we do have a chance. Only difference I see is in the coaching, Vandy coaches have them ready to play while ours don't, simple as that.

FWBVol writes:

in response to jschariter#367312:

I don't what to say. My guess is there will be a lot of empty seats next Saturday Night. I could not even give away extra South Carolina tickets a couple of weeks ago to friends and family. It is discouraging to see poor effort, poor preparation, little heart and pride in second half of games along with little apparent adjustments made at half time. Yes we are young, but our underclassmen were rated below almost half the rest of the conference when they came out of high school, and thus far nothing has shown that Dooley and staff are better at developing players than Saban, Miles, Spurrier, Muschamp, Richt, Chizik, or Petrino. I was cheered up after the game Saturday night by promptly buying tickets to see the Lady Vols play Miami this Tuesday. At least Pat won't let the players lay down and quit even if they are losing.

Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes one player can make a difference of as much as five spots in a recruiting class. Our recruiting is close to or on par with most SEC schools, including Alabama and LSU.

Per Rivals Florida is the fourth rated class. Bama's projected 2012 class currently is ranked fifth and LSU sixth. We are 12th. Both schools have one more recruit committed than we do. At this point, LSU has 10 four stars and no five stars in a 20-player class. Bama has no five stars and nine four stars in a 20 player class. We have no five stars and nine four stars in a 19 player class. Both LSU and Bama are averaging 3.45 stars a player. We are averaging 3.37 stars per player and that's with a 2-star kicker.

So in fact we are averaging 0.08 stars less per recruit right now than the teams that AP currently has ranked 1 and 3. If signing day were tomorrow and there were no changes in the class we would have the fourth ranked class in the SEC behind Florida, Alabama and LSU, and all three of those schools are in states that produce more high school players than Tennessee. And we would have the second best class in our division.

I don't know how you can judge what kind of coach Will Muschamp is when it comes to developing players as this is his first year as a head coach. I really don't think it's easy to judge Chizik either because he won the NC with a couple of JC guys that were impact players.

I would be interested to know what you think the Dooley's poor preparation has been considering he's had to use three different starting quarterbacks this year, lost the best wide receiver on the team, the best linebacker hasn't played because of injury and the top DB was kicked off the squad.

It's hard to make adjustments with kids that are still learning the playbook and how to play the college game. And, contrary to what some believe, true freshmen, and oftent sophomores too, as a rule do tend to wear down in the second half of games especially during the second half of the season.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to Volunteer-Varmint:

If they plan, prepare, and coach the same way as previous attempts, then this will be the 0-7 mark we've been denying long enough. If this team doesn't show up to play, we'll finish 4-8. Book it!

Tex, I thought the same thing when I read the coach's statement about coaching them the same as every week. Obviously, the same approach is not working. At this point, I can't help but believe that Ky will be the last hope of avoiding a shutout in the SEC and even that cannot be taken for granted.

VolMan126 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes one player can make a difference of as much as five spots in a recruiting class. Our recruiting is close to or on par with most SEC schools, including Alabama and LSU.

Per Rivals Florida is the fourth rated class. Bama's projected 2012 class currently is ranked fifth and LSU sixth. We are 12th. Both schools have one more recruit committed than we do. At this point, LSU has 10 four stars and no five stars in a 20-player class. Bama has no five stars and nine four stars in a 20 player class. We have no five stars and nine four stars in a 19 player class. Both LSU and Bama are averaging 3.45 stars a player. We are averaging 3.37 stars per player and that's with a 2-star kicker.

So in fact we are averaging 0.08 stars less per recruit right now than the teams that AP currently has ranked 1 and 3. If signing day were tomorrow and there were no changes in the class we would have the fourth ranked class in the SEC behind Florida, Alabama and LSU, and all three of those schools are in states that produce more high school players than Tennessee. And we would have the second best class in our division.

I don't know how you can judge what kind of coach Will Muschamp is when it comes to developing players as this is his first year as a head coach. I really don't think it's easy to judge Chizik either because he won the NC with a couple of JC guys that were impact players.

I would be interested to know what you think the Dooley's poor preparation has been considering he's had to use three different starting quarterbacks this year, lost the best wide receiver on the team, the best linebacker hasn't played because of injury and the top DB was kicked off the squad.

It's hard to make adjustments with kids that are still learning the playbook and how to play the college game. And, contrary to what some believe, true freshmen, and oftent sophomores too, as a rule do tend to wear down in the second half of games especially during the second half of the season.

I hear ya...and I know all those things BUT I DONT CARE! We need to show some heart sat night and beat VANDY....dont sound right does it! If we prepare and get a effort like we gave vs bama and lsu in the 1st half ....all game we will beat VANDY...still dont sound right...say it to yourself out loud....blood pressure rises and face gets red! Thats what I thought..NO MORE EXCUSES! GO VOLS!

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

"We're going to coach them like we do every week and prepare like we do every week."

Yep...no reason to fix what ain't broke......

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to harveyupdyketreehugger:

Come on back in a couple of years when we're competitive again. Sounds like you don't have the stomach to support your team through the tough times. Have a great time at The Lady Vols game.

You Dooley homers have absolutely nothing to point to that proves that he will suddenly turn this team around. Right now all you have is the conviction that this entire season can be blamed on injuries and youth. All you have is blind faith.

And as my daddy used to say: Faith and a dollar will get you whatever you can buy with a dollar.

One other thing: supporting your team by ignorantly saying "we'll be better next year" over and over isn't being a good fan. That's being a sheep that convinces himself a turd sandwich is really a rack of lamb.

Go read The Emperor's New Clothes. You might learn something.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes one player can make a difference of as much as five spots in a recruiting class. Our recruiting is close to or on par with most SEC schools, including Alabama and LSU.

Per Rivals Florida is the fourth rated class. Bama's projected 2012 class currently is ranked fifth and LSU sixth. We are 12th. Both schools have one more recruit committed than we do. At this point, LSU has 10 four stars and no five stars in a 20-player class. Bama has no five stars and nine four stars in a 20 player class. We have no five stars and nine four stars in a 19 player class. Both LSU and Bama are averaging 3.45 stars a player. We are averaging 3.37 stars per player and that's with a 2-star kicker.

So in fact we are averaging 0.08 stars less per recruit right now than the teams that AP currently has ranked 1 and 3. If signing day were tomorrow and there were no changes in the class we would have the fourth ranked class in the SEC behind Florida, Alabama and LSU, and all three of those schools are in states that produce more high school players than Tennessee. And we would have the second best class in our division.

I don't know how you can judge what kind of coach Will Muschamp is when it comes to developing players as this is his first year as a head coach. I really don't think it's easy to judge Chizik either because he won the NC with a couple of JC guys that were impact players.

I would be interested to know what you think the Dooley's poor preparation has been considering he's had to use three different starting quarterbacks this year, lost the best wide receiver on the team, the best linebacker hasn't played because of injury and the top DB was kicked off the squad.

It's hard to make adjustments with kids that are still learning the playbook and how to play the college game. And, contrary to what some believe, true freshmen, and oftent sophomores too, as a rule do tend to wear down in the second half of games especially during the second half of the season.

The following are a list of things that I would expect to see from a good coach:

O-LINE

Consistent run blocking by an OL that is now in its second year playing together as a complete unit; the coaching foresight to know that forcing a left handed center to snap with his right hand is stupid; and an overall improvement in the physicality of the line over last season. They don't stay on the field for long drives, so they shouldn't be wearing out after two quarters...and yet, they do.

RBs

1) Improvement in overall speed, physicality, and field perception by our SENIOR, starting running back. Poole's play has been pathetic all year and he hasn't improved. Maybe because our OC is pulling double-duty as a RB coach.

2) Actually employing a RB coach.

WRs

1) How the hell, out of two classes chocked full of fantastic WR recruits has Dooley only been able to produce two competent WRs? In other words, better development of every WR not named Da'rick or Justin.

QB

Can't fault Dooley for the injuries to Bray, but the way he handled it smacks of desperation. Burning Worley's redshirt? For what? So that we can lose just as many games? So that we can put Simms in during the fourth against Ark? Worley needed the time to develop. We could have had him for at least two years after Bray (if he stays through his senior season)...and now, we don't. Stupid, reactionary coaching.

SECONDARY

It would be nice if we actually had a secondary. We had one last year. Not much of one, but the cornerbacks occasionally showed up to games.

D-LINE

Consistent run defense, esp. in games where it mattered (South Carolina, UF) vs. games where it didn’t (Alabama, LSU). Overall, this D-Line has not gotten better against the run and a balanced offensive scheme will always shred them. Better defensive scheming and player prep would make a difference, but they aren’t getting that.

SPECIAL TEAMS

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand that brain surgery doesn’t require a foot amputation. Similarly, you don’t need to be a coach to understand that UT Special Teams has morphed into the most incompetent group of clown college drop outs in UT history. This is due 100% to poor coaching. Defend this if you want.

TEAM MORALE

This team doesn’t believe in itself anymore. Contrast that with James Franklin at Vandy. Same record as UT, but his kids are pumped and looking for blood. THAT is what real coaching looks like. A 6-6 season hanging by a thread and our guys are looking for an escape hatch. Vandy can’t wait to get into Neyland Stadium. This is, quite possibly, the best contrast of what a good coach can accomplish.

And no, I didn't expect the world on a platter this year, but I expected UT to be prepared mentally and to not regress during the course of the season. This team cannot handle adversity and they do not have a will to win. The lack of those two things can be squarely placed at Dooley's feet.

HOSSFLY writes:

in response to ACWLY:

I agree, but to me it was the coaches that quit last Saturday so what were the players suppose to do? Anyway, it doesn't look good as to beating Vandy but our players are just as good as theirs so we do have a chance. Only difference I see is in the coaching, Vandy coaches have them ready to play while ours don't, simple as that.

i agree. everyone keeps reminding me about the talent level being so inadequate, but it just can't be lower than vandy's. and after ten games ? and i ain't talkin' smarts....

i've been saying all season that a good coaching staff will coach up players to win a game or two each season. this staff has no such games on it's resume after two years.

if we get beat at home saturday by the westenders from the capital, with so much on the line, and after the butt kicking last saturday, it will be due to COACHING....PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

and if that happens, i hope that the "big money" that really controls everything at UT, will blow this thing up and do what is inevitable.

HOSSFLY writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

The following are a list of things that I would expect to see from a good coach:

O-LINE

Consistent run blocking by an OL that is now in its second year playing together as a complete unit; the coaching foresight to know that forcing a left handed center to snap with his right hand is stupid; and an overall improvement in the physicality of the line over last season. They don't stay on the field for long drives, so they shouldn't be wearing out after two quarters...and yet, they do.

RBs

1) Improvement in overall speed, physicality, and field perception by our SENIOR, starting running back. Poole's play has been pathetic all year and he hasn't improved. Maybe because our OC is pulling double-duty as a RB coach.

2) Actually employing a RB coach.

WRs

1) How the hell, out of two classes chocked full of fantastic WR recruits has Dooley only been able to produce two competent WRs? In other words, better development of every WR not named Da'rick or Justin.

QB

Can't fault Dooley for the injuries to Bray, but the way he handled it smacks of desperation. Burning Worley's redshirt? For what? So that we can lose just as many games? So that we can put Simms in during the fourth against Ark? Worley needed the time to develop. We could have had him for at least two years after Bray (if he stays through his senior season)...and now, we don't. Stupid, reactionary coaching.

SECONDARY

It would be nice if we actually had a secondary. We had one last year. Not much of one, but the cornerbacks occasionally showed up to games.

D-LINE

Consistent run defense, esp. in games where it mattered (South Carolina, UF) vs. games where it didn’t (Alabama, LSU). Overall, this D-Line has not gotten better against the run and a balanced offensive scheme will always shred them. Better defensive scheming and player prep would make a difference, but they aren’t getting that.

SPECIAL TEAMS

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand that brain surgery doesn’t require a foot amputation. Similarly, you don’t need to be a coach to understand that UT Special Teams has morphed into the most incompetent group of clown college drop outs in UT history. This is due 100% to poor coaching. Defend this if you want.

TEAM MORALE

This team doesn’t believe in itself anymore. Contrast that with James Franklin at Vandy. Same record as UT, but his kids are pumped and looking for blood. THAT is what real coaching looks like. A 6-6 season hanging by a thread and our guys are looking for an escape hatch. Vandy can’t wait to get into Neyland Stadium. This is, quite possibly, the best contrast of what a good coach can accomplish.

And no, I didn't expect the world on a platter this year, but I expected UT to be prepared mentally and to not regress during the course of the season. This team cannot handle adversity and they do not have a will to win. The lack of those two things can be squarely placed at Dooley's feet.

back, back, back....it's out of here ! walk off 6 run grand slam !!!!!!!

uh ...i agree..........TOTALLY !

how can anyone, even vince dooley, disagree ??

ctownvol writes:

Bowl Hopes? Bowl Hopes? (In my best Jim mora voice) We couldn't run the ball against Sister Mary's School for the Blind and Deaf. I do think we will eventually be ok, but this is not the year.

dvols writes:

no it will not, everyone that knows football knew TN would start 0-6 in the SEC...

Madkels writes:

in response to harveyupdyketreehugger:

Come on back in a couple of years when we're competitive again. Sounds like you don't have the stomach to support your team through the tough times. Have a great time at The Lady Vols game.

Stomach? Wallet? Who wants to sit through the beatings after paying good money for tickets? Who wants to watch a group of guys who are poorly coached not play hard, hit hard, or tackle correctly? I cannot even watch this garbage on TV anymore. Choosing to watch this team is like electing to have a root canal without novacane. Since you already now the results ahead of time, it's best not to raise your blood pressure by screaming and getting peeved.

zqvol writes:

Very telling when more than 50% of the poll respondents predict a Vandy win. How much lower can this program fall?

HtownVol writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

You Dooley homers have absolutely nothing to point to that proves that he will suddenly turn this team around. Right now all you have is the conviction that this entire season can be blamed on injuries and youth. All you have is blind faith.

And as my daddy used to say: Faith and a dollar will get you whatever you can buy with a dollar.

One other thing: supporting your team by ignorantly saying "we'll be better next year" over and over isn't being a good fan. That's being a sheep that convinces himself a turd sandwich is really a rack of lamb.

Go read The Emperor's New Clothes. You might learn something.

For Dooley supporters...

Has UT football improved over the season?

Dont make any excuses..

Classof72 writes:

"We're going to coach them like we do every week and prepare like we do every week."

-Derek Dooley

(And lose like we do every week.)

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The Vols don't really lose every week. Sometimes they have a non-SEC opponent.

GONAVY writes:

This is the week that for years most Vanderbilt fans hated simply because the other team was in orange and the outcome was decided before the opening kickoff. Maybe not this year. Still, the mental factor is key to a win for either team. Right now, on the short term, that overwhelmingly goes to Vanderbilt. However, when you look at the history of this series it is very one-sided in favor of UT. So I see an interesting mental game shaping up for Saturday. I did say mental for this reason- UT fans can pooh-pooh the level of talent normally put on display by Vanderbilt. No 4 and 5 stars to be found...but that can work in a team's favor given the right coach and the mental approach to a game. Oh, it does include preparation and execution- you'll never replace good blocking and tackling- but think about this perspective: with all the 4 and 5 star studs I continue to read about come their 4 and 5 star egos. Those egos can totally disrupt a team's makeup. At Vanderbilt with Franklin there is a new mental approach to doing their business. His greatest challenge he will tell you has been the one which is out to change the present culture- and the way the rest of the conference looks at Vanderbilt football. That will not be an easy task. Years of losing- close or lopsided- will do that. His first step, and one which appears to have worked, is getting these 0,1 and 2 star kids to believe in themselves and the team. They are like a family now under Franklin. Will they beat UT? Don't know. Can they beat UT? Yes.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Tex, I thought the same thing when I read the coach's statement about coaching them the same as every week. Obviously, the same approach is not working. At this point, I can't help but believe that Ky will be the last hope of avoiding a shutout in the SEC and even that cannot be taken for granted.

I hate to say it, but I agree 100%. I'll cheer on my Vols no matter what, but I don't have to like the coaching situation. There had to be some reason for leaving Chaney behind when surfer dude bolted for USC, now I know why.

RemembertheAlamo writes:

Did everyone catch the Lady Vols last night. We need PAT to talk to our Football team at half time. She can put some fire in their britches. Did you see how the Lady Vols were on fire at the start of the second half. They always are. I can only wish that Dooley would call on PAT to light the fire at half time against Vandy! Then show some of Pat's fireworks on the Tron at the start of the 2nd half to set the crowd on fire. I am still proud to be a Tennesse Vol. Don't forget to catch the Lady Vols against Maimi tomorrow night at 6:00pm. (#17)

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to Volunteer-Varmint:

I hate to say it, but I agree 100%. I'll cheer on my Vols no matter what, but I don't have to like the coaching situation. There had to be some reason for leaving Chaney behind when surfer dude bolted for USC, now I know why.

Chaney may have been the OC under Kiffin, but he didn't call the plays. Kiffin did. Now you know why. I am still proud to be a Tennessee Vol! (#18)

Tennfan4075 writes:

No coach, you already have a bad football team, it only remains to be seen just how bad it is. Most observers would define getting beat by 30 or 40 points on a regular bases as a bad football team, and ("this team coming in") Vandy is not a good football team but they may be better than yours. Only the lust for money created by the NCAA and bowl people have made a team with 6 wins out of 12 be defined as a good team.

TheFuj writes:

Even with a win over Vandy and KY, it has not been a good year. Yes, LSU,AL,Ark were tough games for anyone, but FL has turned out to not be very good. Losing a receiver to an injury should not have collapsed a team. Definitely could have used Neal more as well as Milton. GA at home should have been a win. SC is not all that good as well. This team went down instead of improved in year 2. A Vandy and/or KY will be the bottom.

volpreacher writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Contrary to popular opinion, sometimes one player can make a difference of as much as five spots in a recruiting class. Our recruiting is close to or on par with most SEC schools, including Alabama and LSU.

Per Rivals Florida is the fourth rated class. Bama's projected 2012 class currently is ranked fifth and LSU sixth. We are 12th. Both schools have one more recruit committed than we do. At this point, LSU has 10 four stars and no five stars in a 20-player class. Bama has no five stars and nine four stars in a 20 player class. We have no five stars and nine four stars in a 19 player class. Both LSU and Bama are averaging 3.45 stars a player. We are averaging 3.37 stars per player and that's with a 2-star kicker.

So in fact we are averaging 0.08 stars less per recruit right now than the teams that AP currently has ranked 1 and 3. If signing day were tomorrow and there were no changes in the class we would have the fourth ranked class in the SEC behind Florida, Alabama and LSU, and all three of those schools are in states that produce more high school players than Tennessee. And we would have the second best class in our division.

I don't know how you can judge what kind of coach Will Muschamp is when it comes to developing players as this is his first year as a head coach. I really don't think it's easy to judge Chizik either because he won the NC with a couple of JC guys that were impact players.

I would be interested to know what you think the Dooley's poor preparation has been considering he's had to use three different starting quarterbacks this year, lost the best wide receiver on the team, the best linebacker hasn't played because of injury and the top DB was kicked off the squad.

It's hard to make adjustments with kids that are still learning the playbook and how to play the college game. And, contrary to what some believe, true freshmen, and oftent sophomores too, as a rule do tend to wear down in the second half of games especially during the second half of the season.

Ditto. I've been saying this too, not as long of posts because I know some people don't read them, but I guarantee when things start turning these naysayers will love Dooley. People in today's society tend to have the "give it to me now" attitude and don't look at the underlying facts. Good post. Go Vols, beat Vandy.

rockytopinga writes:

What is happening in Knoxville. We are down to needing to beat Vandy and Kentucky to be bowl elgible. There are way too many bowls when we could qualify with the season we have had. if we can't fill our own stadium (not even close) then we can't carry enough fans to a bowl game to make us attractive.
Oh for the good ole days when Orlando was our winter home.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

in response to HOSSFLY:

back, back, back....it's out of here ! walk off 6 run grand slam !!!!!!!

uh ...i agree..........TOTALLY !

how can anyone, even vince dooley, disagree ??

Yep, Hossfly nailed it...totally. It is true that Vandy has some more seniors playing, but a lot of where they are at is coaching. They have took kids they did not recruit, and made a big difference in attitude. And with only 30,000 in the stands, and at least half of those are for the other team.

volpreacher writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

You Dooley homers have absolutely nothing to point to that proves that he will suddenly turn this team around. Right now all you have is the conviction that this entire season can be blamed on injuries and youth. All you have is blind faith.

And as my daddy used to say: Faith and a dollar will get you whatever you can buy with a dollar.

One other thing: supporting your team by ignorantly saying "we'll be better next year" over and over isn't being a good fan. That's being a sheep that convinces himself a turd sandwich is really a rack of lamb.

Go read The Emperor's New Clothes. You might learn something.

I don't believe I've read anywhere, where the people like myself who support Dooley think it is going to turn around suddenly. It's the naysayers like yourself who want instant success and it ain't going to happen, especially with what Fulmer and Dooley did to our recruiting. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 Supporting your team is just that supporting in good and bad times. Go read the Bible, you might learn something, patience. Go Vols.

CCLC writes:

Good luck Vols.

volpreacher writes:

in response to HtownVol:

For Dooley supporters...

Has UT football improved over the season?

Dont make any excuses..

yes.

VandyisGold writes:

Isn't that what Vanderbilt players used to say about utk? How things have changed.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

Somebody on one of these posts the last couple of days said concerning Dooley...that he tried to get the Memphis job 2 years ago, but was turned down. And then the UT job just fell in his lap. If that's really true, that Hamilton hired a coach that even MEMPHIS didn't want...well, that just makes us look awful. And might explain our record the last 2 years.

VandyisGold writes:

in response to Pipe_Down_Otis:

Somebody on one of these posts the last couple of days said concerning Dooley...that he tried to get the Memphis job 2 years ago, but was turned down. And then the UT job just fell in his lap. If that's really true, that Hamilton hired a coach that even MEMPHIS didn't want...well, that just makes us look awful. And might explain our record the last 2 years.

No, it wasn't Memphis, it was UT Martin that turned him down.

westknoxrepub writes:

Our team isn't getting better, if anything it's getting worse. That's coaching folks, but in the end it comes down to whether or not you think it's better to cut your losses and get rid of Dooley now or keep him on and hope things get better. The "next years schedule is going to be easier" argument doesn't fly since we really haven't seen the schedule. There are alot of good coaches available right now, if we wait one or two more years with Dooley, who are we going to be left with to choose from?

volpreacher writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe we beat Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and maybe even Arkansas. A good defense is a good offense many times. Had we those two playmakers it would have helped the defense.

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

Oh, by the way...for all the people on here that complain about people not willing to give Dooley a chance, remember something. It's not just Dooley, it's a 7-6 Kiffin year, it's several sub-par Fulmer years, before that. We have been waiting for 5 or 6 years now for a 9-10 win season and at least a decent bowl. I'm not even asking for a top 5 team here. Just 9-3 or 10-2. But now you're saying, be patient for ANOTHER 2 years....well, personally I don't like waiting 7 or 8 years for a decent football team. And I don't think that's being unreasonable. Especially not for an athletic program with a 110 million dollar yearly budget. And 100,000 fans supporting the program every home game....since when did 7-5 or 6-6 become acceptable for Tennessee football.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to VandyisGold:

No, it wasn't Memphis, it was UT Martin that turned him down.

Actually a friend of mine that plays at Slippery Rock said he was turned down by them 3 years ago

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Actually a friend of mine that plays at Slippery Rock said he was turned down by them 3 years ago

7-5 sounds great to me....the alternative of a possible 4-8 this year is not to good but next year fans will jump with joy at a 7-5

VandyisGold writes:

You guys need to keep everyone updated on here. Why didn't you tell us that Vanderbilt is favored in the game?

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Name one time when you were considered a human being! There...thought so..so now you are not a human being.

Your statements make as much sense as the above. You cant ask questions and answer them yourself and assume that you are correct. Very simple.

MOST people on this forum, and almost ALL real Vol fans, and MANY college football experts would easily say that the Vols would have won many more games had Bray and Hunter played the whole season. In fact, we would be leading the SEC East had our team been intact the entire season. Bray and Hunter were leading the SEC, and in some cases, the nation early in the season, with the passing yards, receiving yards, TDs, etc. Your assertion that their contributions would have made no difference is ludicrous at best.

And yes, we will have to say "next year," because the FACT is that we wont have Hunter back until at least then.

Keep trying, but your attempts are falling flat on your face.

snakeplissken writes:

in response to Pipe_Down_Otis:

Oh, by the way...for all the people on here that complain about people not willing to give Dooley a chance, remember something. It's not just Dooley, it's a 7-6 Kiffin year, it's several sub-par Fulmer years, before that. We have been waiting for 5 or 6 years now for a 9-10 win season and at least a decent bowl. I'm not even asking for a top 5 team here. Just 9-3 or 10-2. But now you're saying, be patient for ANOTHER 2 years....well, personally I don't like waiting 7 or 8 years for a decent football team. And I don't think that's being unreasonable. Especially not for an athletic program with a 110 million dollar yearly budget. And 100,000 fans supporting the program every home game....since when did 7-5 or 6-6 become acceptable for Tennessee football.

Wasn't it just 5 seasons ago (2007) we won the SEC east?

We shouldn't have to wait 2 more years to see tangible progress. The blueprint is there with MANY other SEC teams hiring good coaches who took over when the previous coach was fired for having bad teams - and these new coaches showed SIGNIFICANT progress their second season of coaching IN THE TOUGH SEC. A few of them even won a national championship by their second or third season IN THE TOUGH SEC. They didn't make excuses about youth or injuries, or complain how fragile the team was (talk about a wimpy statement), they coached up what they had and got it done!!!!

Pipe_Down_Otis writes:

Just curious, I decided to check on MTSU's game sat night....they played Louisiana-Monroe at their place. Louisiana- Monroe won 42-14...it was 21-0 after one quarter...Louisiana- Monroe is now 3-7, and beat MTSU a lot worse than we did. Take what you want from it...but it doesn't sound good.

Einstein writes:

We are playing Vandy in Knoxville and Vandy is a 1 point favorite. This is where we have gone to??? EMBARASSING!!!!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to volpreacher:

I believe we beat Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and maybe even Arkansas. A good defense is a good offense many times. Had we those two playmakers it would have helped the defense.

Of those I would only concede South Carolina. We had Bray for the Florida and a majority of the UGA game and there's no way we beat Arkanas.

volpreacher writes:

in response to Einstein:

We are playing Vandy in Knoxville and Vandy is a 1 point favorite. This is where we have gone to??? EMBARASSING!!!!

If you want to win some money, put it on the Vols. Vandy ain't beating UT.

VandyisGold writes:

in response to volpreacher:

If you want to win some money, put it on the Vols. Vandy ain't beating UT.

Now Pastor, you know better.

RealisticVol writes:

Not an excuse, they are better than us this year. They have shown it against the mutually played teams. On top of that we don't get excited at the thought of beating them. They drool at the thought of beating us. It is going to be ugly. I said 6 weeks ago I have bled Orange for 55 years and we have not been this bad since before Dicky came and turned around a similar slump in the early 1960s. Even then the players weren't quitters though like these guys. The guys that I see quitting when things go bad are not true Orange and should be sent home to watch on TV. I don't care if we only field walk-on players, they should passionately give their all on every down. One thing I have noticed about Vandy is that they were still playing hard at the end of the game even if we were thumping them.

DalTexVol writes:

For all those that want to fire Dooley now, just what quality coach do you think will want to come to Knoxville and be subject to the unreasonable expectations of our delusional fanbase? (Please don't even mention Mike Leach) If you really want to destroy a program start firing coaches every two years. Our only choice is to give Dooley at least two more years and see if he can build a program.

Until then toughen up and quit all the whining.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to DalTexVol:

For all those that want to fire Dooley now, just what quality coach do you think will want to come to Knoxville and be subject to the unreasonable expectations of our delusional fanbase? (Please don't even mention Mike Leach) If you really want to destroy a program start firing coaches every two years. Our only choice is to give Dooley at least two more years and see if he can build a program.

Until then toughen up and quit all the whining.

If Derek Dooley has two more 6-6 or worse seasons, is that really doing less damage than firing him now?

SFOrange writes:

here's what "defines the season" -- being routed in every SEC game, having no suggestion of a offense in SEC games, beating Cincinnati (highlight of the year), finally acknowledging a uniform trend (intro of checkerboard sleeves @ Arkansas), loosing key personnel, empty seats at hollowed Neyland, not being sure what was accomplished against the (a) "rebuilding" plan, loosing to Vandy and UK for first time in three decades.

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