Tennessee Stat Book
That tells you something about one of the smoothest coaching transitions in the history of SEC football. And it also contrasts sharply with the program Dooley is trying to rebuild at Tennessee.
You know all about the turmoil caused by two coaching transitions in the last three years at UT. But the LSU transition from Nick Saban in 2004 to Les Miles in 2005 was so seamless, you would have thought Miles had been promoted from Saban's staff.
The disparity in talent contributed to the contrast.
UT football was at its lowest point since the late 1970s when Lane Kiffin succeeded Phillip Fulmer as coach after the 2008 season. It wasn't much better off after Kiffin left for Southern California a year later, and Dooley was hired to clean up the mess two coaches left behind.
LSU was near the top of its game when Saban and part of his staff, including Dooley, left for the Miami
Dolphins following the 2004 season. Three years later, Miles won a national championship, as Saban did in 2003.
"It's fair to say that since about '03 (LSU) has looked the same," Dooley said as his team prepared for Saturday's game with the No. 1-ranked Tigers. "When I say that, it's not necessarily schematically. But deep, fast, aggressive, incredibly talented."
All of which speaks to Miles' recruiting, which has been just as consistent and successful as Saban's. Miles has won big with Saban's players and won big with his own.
"Everybody says, 'Well, anybody could have stepped in,' " Dooley said. "That's not true. A guy could go in and screw it up pretty easily. (Miles) deserves a lot of credit.
"Sometimes, (sustaining it), that's a lot harder than building it. He got a lot of criticism like all coaches do. The next thing you know, he's wearing everybody out. They believe in what they do, and they've never deviated from it."
Despite LSU's coaching turnover, the support staff has remained virtually intact, according to Dooley.
"I look at the media guide, and it's all the same people that I know," he said. "They've had tremendous continuity."
LSU's rebuilding job under Saban didn't take long.
The Tigers went 4-7 in 1998 and 3-8 in 1999 under Gerry DiNardo. A year later, Saban's first team finished 8-4. In the last eight years, the Tigers have averaged 10.5 wins per season.
LSU's in-state recruiting base obviously gives it an advantage over UT, which has succeeded through the years by recruiting well regionally and nationally. The coaching changes and mediocre records have made that more difficult.
Dooley knew that going in.
"We don't have 15 to 18 guys who are calling us up wanting to come (like LSU)," Dooley said. "It's tougher."
And it doesn't allow him to duplicate the LSU blueprint for rebuilding a program. But his goal is the same.
"We're going to shape what we do around the guys that we've got," he said. "That's what we're trying to do right now, because we're not so deep and talented.
"I expect to get to that (LSU's level) — to where we've got enough to compete against anybody every week."
The next two games — against No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama — at least will give Dooley an idea of how far he has to go.