Dooley believes Vols ready to deal with adversity

University of Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley addresses members of the media at Neyland Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. Fall practice for the Vols begins Friday and the team opens the season Aug. 31 against North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL STAFF)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS

University of Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley addresses members of the media at Neyland Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. Fall practice for the Vols begins Friday and the team opens the season Aug. 31 against North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL STAFF)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Derek Dooley insists this season is different, even though it already has begun in a distressingly familiar manner.

His job may depend on whether he's right.

Dooley's first two years at Tennessee produced the Volunteers' first consecutive losing seasons since 1909-11. The Vols have endured plenty of setbacks on and off the field.

The off-field losses already have continued this year with the indefinite suspension of all-Southeastern Conference wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers a week before the Vols' season opener Friday against North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome. Rogers' suspension represented the latest unwanted headline for a program that has grown accustomed to adversity.

Last season, Tennessee simply wasn't talented enough to contend in the SEC after injuries ravaged a roster that already lacked depth. This year, the Volunteers believe they're better equipped to deal with this type of situation.

"The lesson from last year was not being held hostage by an injury or two," Dooley said. "The deeper you are, the more talented you are at every position, that's when you can better handle all these contingencies. I'm not saying we're there. We still have a lot of young guys and inexperienced guys, but we're certainly prepared for it."

A look at Tennessee's depth chart helps explain Dooley's optimism. For the first time in his three-year tenure, Dooley isn't relying heavily on freshmen.

Tennessee has played 32 freshmen over the last two seasons to match Florida for the most in the nation during that period. In their 2011 opener, the Vols' first-team defense featured three freshmen: cornerback Justin Coleman and linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt. Tennessee's projected starting lineup for the North Carolina State game doesn't include a single freshman.

"We haven't had to force playing guys who really aren't ready," Dooley said. "I hope that doesn't happen. That's definitely the biggest difference right there. We feel settled and comfortable with who we're going into the game with. Now that doesn't mean we know exactly how they're going to perform. There's a ton of guys on there who really haven't performed at a high level in the SEC. It doesn't mean they can't. We're pretty comfortable based on what we saw that these guys can perform."

Tennessee hasn't performed well enough lately.

The Vols went 6-7 and reached the Music City Bowl in Dooley's debut year with a team that spent the season about 15 to 20 scholarship players below the 85-man limit. They followed that up by going 5-7 last season and ending the year with a 10-7 loss to Kentucky that snapped Tennessee's 26-game winning streak in that rivalry.

Star receiver Justin Hunter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third game of the season. Quarterback Tyler Bray missed five games with a fractured right thumb. Linebacker Herman Lathers sat out the entire season with a fractured left ankle and safety Brent Brewer missed four games with a torn ACL in his left knee. All four players are back this year.

Even from his spot on the sidelines last year, Lathers could sense what needed to change.

"I learned a lot about our team," Lathers said. "Some guys just didn't trust the coaches, didn't believe in other players. Our main objective during the offseason was just to build that trust, build that cohesiveness within each other and spend a little time with each other because if you don't trust each other on the field, you'll never accomplish what you want to accomplish. We did that, and we're on key now."

The Vols believe all the adversity has helped them mature. They can show how much they've grown up by rejuvenating a program that hasn't won more than seven games in a season since 2007.

Their eagerness to write a new chapter was evident from their music selection at a team practice last week. At Lathers' urging, the Vols went through their drills while listening to the Sam Cooke classic "A Change Is Gonna Come."

For Dooley's sake, it better come soon.

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Comments » 60

nocleats writes:

The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. Practice Practice Practice, ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!

GreerVol22 writes:

Slap that "I'll give my all" sign over the door and go Down The Field!!! I'm getting a bit misty...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pux7C5...

laraccoon writes:

My advice if going to the game dodge the Varsity .

SummittsCourt writes:

All you Dooley haters remember that when the winning starts you are not welcome on the bandwagon.

vols37 writes:

Talks cheap. We'll see what Dooley's saying after a few losses. I'm sure the bad mouthing and excuses will be plentiful then.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Baptism by fire for a lot of key guys on defense should pay off this year..Finally having backups that aren't a liability is a big plus..Keeping lineman fresh late in the game could be huge factor..Our depth on the OLine is the best Ive seen in years

BrassMonkey writes:

Dooley cannot keep his best players on the field or the team. His tenure is doomed before this season even starts.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

All you Dooley haters remember that when the winning starts you are not welcome on the bandwagon.

If he had no critics his job would be secure. He could win a couple of games and get a 2 year extension. The game is about winning. I like Coach but this is his year to show us critics he has made major progess.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Still only three years into rebuilding a haplessly diminished team. It takes longer than all you haters give. But then...all of you have taken a decimated college team and turned it around overnight; yeah right!

PUL4VOLS writes:

And all you haters have the power to pull the strings to fire Coach Dooley if he loses to NC State; double Yeah Right!

SevenT writes:

I wonder if he is going to wear those stupid orange pants again? Those clown pants are embarassing!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Question...........is anyone concerned about anything this punk kid, Seven writes?

He has this hangup with orange pants. Sounds a lot like a weird kid to me.

But, pretty much all the trolls are weird anyway, plus less concerned about their own bandwagon teams..........and overly consumed with the Vols.

Poor kid, the Vols control his mind.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

wow, so there are more haters than fans. typical.

Most are same old phooey, one that really stands out is Merlot. Didn't you purport to be a Christian in another thread? Please don't do that. You are truly embarrassing to anyone who calls themselves a VOL fan and you know nothing of Christianity.

dragon18 writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dooley's best halftime adjustment has come with his recruiting... He has depth! Now shut up and let the Vols take care of business.

62vol writes:

_____________________________________________________________

“ Out Goes The Call”

When the pigskin takes flight on a Saturday night
Down in Tennessee

And the hills are ablaze in an orange smoky haze
Oh, what a glorious sight to see

The mighty men in Orange and White will come to fight
And thousands will come to see

And Oh, what a feeling in that fortress named Nēyland
When they come running through the Tee

To test their mettle in the Big Orange kettle
Against those foes of the S.E.C.

The walking horse will prance and the majorettes will dance,
Then ole Smokey will start to bay

And that “Volunteer” and the cheerleaders so dear
Will come out to lead the way

And from that grandest of bands, “The Pride of the Southland”,
“Rocky Top” will start to play

Then out will go the call to one and to all
“It’s football time in Tennessee!”

By: Tom James

JimmyJoe writes:

Fair or not... If Tennessee loses this game Dooley will be gone by the end of the season... Fair or not. Coach... This game is winnable.... Leave the orange pants at home...put on your big boy pants...and coach every play... And win.

hikerdude writes:

"Last season, Tennessee simply wasn't talented enough to contend in the SEC after injuries ravaged a roster that already lacked depth." We weren't talented enough to contend in the SEC BEFORE the injuries. Dooley inherited a terrible mess. He has had only 2 1/2 years to correct. He has done a pretty good job. Its hard to recruit when the SEC has produced the national champion team several years running and we have averaged almost 6 losses per season during that time. If we start winning, recruiting will get better. Its easier to recruit when you have a winning record.

born2ride writes:

I hope this is the last season for De'rek Dooley. I am ready to bring in a good coach who can turn things around.

BigOrangeDan writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

Dooley cannot keep his best players on the field or the team. His tenure is doomed before this season even starts.

Get a life man. CDD took on an impossible task because of the past two coaches and an AD that didn't have a clue. Give the man time and this thing will turn around. Your the type that likes to critize someone for taking on tough tasks and willing to take it head on. It's obvious you have never played organized sports. Get off the couch and be a part of something that matters. In other words get a life. GBO

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to SevenT:

I wonder if he is going to wear those stupid orange pants again? Those clown pants are embarassing!!

Scroll up to the top of this thread to Dooley's picture at the top of the page. After you're done laughing at the lost expression on his face, you'll find your answer. OF COURSE he's wearing the orange pants!

This is the same look he had when the refs told him "uh, coach, you can stop celebrating now, you can't play with 13 players on the field." It's the same look he had when UK's WR/QB was baffling his entire team. It's the same look he had when North Carolina was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the bowl game. It's the same look he had when UF's Rainey and Demps were blazing past Vol defenders at warp speed last year.

Point is, he's not very football smart. Sure,
law degree away from football, but that man has clueless written all over him when it comes to football and coaching intelligence.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to SevenT:

I wonder if he is going to wear those stupid orange pants again? Those clown pants are embarassing!!

kinda like most of your posts

always negative always embarassing

usafvol writes:

in response to vols37:

Talks cheap. We'll see what Dooley's saying after a few losses. I'm sure the bad mouthing and excuses will be plentiful then.

He doesn't make up excuses or blame anyone but the fair weather fans and trolls are too stupid to know that..

usafvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

I wonder if he is going to wear those stupid orange pants again? Those clown pants are embarassing!!

You probably have the big shoes and red nose to go with them!

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to BigOrangeDan:

Get a life man. CDD took on an impossible task because of the past two coaches and an AD that didn't have a clue. Give the man time and this thing will turn around. Your the type that likes to critize someone for taking on tough tasks and willing to take it head on. It's obvious you have never played organized sports. Get off the couch and be a part of something that matters. In other words get a life. GBO

Caption the Dooley picture at the top of the page. I'll go first:

"Here's the rest of the SEC coaches, up here, real high... and then here's me, down here with the guy at Ole Miss."

usafvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Scroll up to the top of this thread to Dooley's picture at the top of the page. After you're done laughing at the lost expression on his face, you'll find your answer. OF COURSE he's wearing the orange pants!

This is the same look he had when the refs told him "uh, coach, you can stop celebrating now, you can't play with 13 players on the field." It's the same look he had when UK's WR/QB was baffling his entire team. It's the same look he had when North Carolina was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the bowl game. It's the same look he had when UF's Rainey and Demps were blazing past Vol defenders at warp speed last year.

Point is, he's not very football smart. Sure,
law degree away from football, but that man has clueless written all over him when it comes to football and coaching intelligence.

SevenT wants to know if he left his toothbrush at your house..

crappieking writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Scroll up to the top of this thread to Dooley's picture at the top of the page. After you're done laughing at the lost expression on his face, you'll find your answer. OF COURSE he's wearing the orange pants!

This is the same look he had when the refs told him "uh, coach, you can stop celebrating now, you can't play with 13 players on the field." It's the same look he had when UK's WR/QB was baffling his entire team. It's the same look he had when North Carolina was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the bowl game. It's the same look he had when UF's Rainey and Demps were blazing past Vol defenders at warp speed last year.

Point is, he's not very football smart. Sure,
law degree away from football, but that man has clueless written all over him when it comes to football and coaching intelligence.

DC3, Although you are a douche most of the time, you are right about Dooley. You guys better start looking too. Muschump is not the answer either.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to usafvol:

SevenT wants to know if he left his toothbrush at your house..

+1

lol I think Witch Doctor has some competition in the one liners lol

I am still laughin

BrassMonkey writes:

in response to BigOrangeDan:

Get a life man. CDD took on an impossible task because of the past two coaches and an AD that didn't have a clue. Give the man time and this thing will turn around. Your the type that likes to critize someone for taking on tough tasks and willing to take it head on. It's obvious you have never played organized sports. Get off the couch and be a part of something that matters. In other words get a life. GBO

He has been paid very well to face this task head on. So far the Dooley experiment has been a massive failure. I just find it hard to believe the 10-2, 9-3, 8-4 predictions from a team that could not score 7 against Kentucky in their last game. Your blind optimism is great. but just because you do not like my realism is no reason to bash me personally.

BigOrangeDan writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Caption the Dooley picture at the top of the page. I'll go first:

"Here's the rest of the SEC coaches, up here, real high... and then here's me, down here with the guy at Ole Miss."

I'll be brief...I have a job. I'll go real slow so you'll understand. We haven't played the first down of 2012 yet and you critize a coach who was handed a big bag of phooey and ask to turn it around in four years. CDD took on this task because he has guts and determination and is smart enough to get it done. Please stay on the sidelines and watch. You might just learn something....well maybe not! Happy job hunting..GBO

martinvol34 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

All you Dooley haters remember that when the winning starts you are not welcome on the bandwagon.

Especially that drunk Merlot whatever its name is - just negative nelly all the darn time. Doesn't "it" get tired of downing the head coach of the team its supposed to love.

Well listen people; the two come together. You can't hate the coach and love the VOLS.

I know you think you can but you can't. What you say about the coach impacts the program from current players and coaches to recruits. Now back the heck off!!

GerryOP writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Scroll up to the top of this thread to Dooley's picture at the top of the page. After you're done laughing at the lost expression on his face, you'll find your answer. OF COURSE he's wearing the orange pants!

This is the same look he had when the refs told him "uh, coach, you can stop celebrating now, you can't play with 13 players on the field." It's the same look he had when UK's WR/QB was baffling his entire team. It's the same look he had when North Carolina was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the bowl game. It's the same look he had when UF's Rainey and Demps were blazing past Vol defenders at warp speed last year.

Point is, he's not very football smart. Sure,
law degree away from football, but that man has clueless written all over him when it comes to football and coaching intelligence.

Yup, lil' DCGataBoy judging Coach Dooley as "not very football smart." He should know, he's seen a few "not very football smart" coaches in Benny Hill.
**********************************************
I have a confession

by DCflorida » Mon Nov 15, 2010

I recall some painful Ron Zook-era games, I even recall yelling at the top of my lungs directly at Jeremy Foley who always makes his way to behind the south goal post late in games (and he heard me because he turned around and looked right at me), to please make some changes.

But this was excruciating! We could round-up 11 dudes from GSMB, put them in an offensive formation, and we could muster up 2 1st downs and 60 yards through 3 quarters. You almost have to try and be that bad. That's like a weak HS offense.

Meyer will fix this, he gets paid to.
*******************************************

And yup, Meyer fixed it .... he left, he quit, he ran away, he got out of there. And then Jerry Folly hired Little Willy, a classic "not very football smart" coach! But Little Willy can be excused, he's not a head football coach. He's only a head-coach-in-waiting. What in hell was Folly thinking?

BigBadVol writes:

Posters that can't call CDD by his real name should be ignored. It shows a real lack of maturity. Little kids getting excited that somebody actually answers their posts. Pathetic.

DannyVol writes:

Dang, some of you are miserable human beings. The season is almost here and it's time to get excited. College football is supposed to be fun. But instead, some of you people sound like you need a really good laxative.

thevoice writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

All you Dooley haters remember that when the winning starts you are not welcome on the bandwagon.

One can love the country in which he lives, but lack fondness of the leader of it.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to BrassMonkey:

He has been paid very well to face this task head on. So far the Dooley experiment has been a massive failure. I just find it hard to believe the 10-2, 9-3, 8-4 predictions from a team that could not score 7 against Kentucky in their last game. Your blind optimism is great. but just because you do not like my realism is no reason to bash me personally.

It wasn't that they couldn't score. DaRick gave Ky that game. There isn't any BS about it. He never even ran his routes. Bray was still not ready and he didn't help. He was clueless on where to throw the ball without Da. Da should have been dropped like a hot rock. He has done nothing but hurt the team and My money says the team is more than happy he has X'fered. We have many good players and they aren't that far behind DaRick in talent. We'll do just fine and that young man is going to be very sorry he had such a big head.

laraccoon writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Posters that can't call CDD by his real name should be ignored. It shows a real lack of maturity. Little kids getting excited that somebody actually answers their posts. Pathetic.

its a new era , wimps who wouldnt open their pie hole in the real world can now act big because they wont suffer the consequences . most were probably to sissy to ever play football !

DalTexVol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Caption the Dooley picture at the top of the page. I'll go first:

"Here's the rest of the SEC coaches, up here, real high... and then here's me, down here with the guy at Ole Miss."

Instead of hanging out on a Vols board, your time would be better spent worrying about your game with the Ags at College Station. You Gator fans are going in with all of the cocky confidence of Genl. Custer, but you might just find yourself at the Little Big Horn. I am hoping the Wrecking Crew will make alligator shoes out of your boys.

pcorange writes:

This program has nowhere to go but up. There is more depth this year, more experience. A new coaching staff can't hurt as it will breathe new energy into the program. The other bunch was exasperated trying to play SEC football with MAC talent and depth. Let's get off Coach Dooley's behind and let the season play out. If there isn't marked improvement, I think Hart will take care of it without our input.

UTKin1992 writes:

After reading the posts this am, I've made a personal commitment to stop making fun of Alabama fans for being ignorant fanatics.

Pompey writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

All you Dooley haters remember that when the winning starts you are not welcome on the bandwagon.

.....Amen....!

GerryOP writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

After reading the posts this am, I've made a personal commitment to stop making fun of Alabama fans for being ignorant fanatics.

The trolls and naysaying negaVols will be taking their lasts shots this week. After the game on Friday, they won't have much to say.

Vols - 35
NCST - 17

We'll be 1-0 on the way to 12-0 baby ... 12-0.

Vol43 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

My advice if going to the game dodge the Varsity .

I love the Varsity. Chili dogs and onion rings. Yum, yum!

Vol43 writes:

in response to 62vol:

_____________________________________________________________

“ Out Goes The Call”

When the pigskin takes flight on a Saturday night
Down in Tennessee

And the hills are ablaze in an orange smoky haze
Oh, what a glorious sight to see

The mighty men in Orange and White will come to fight
And thousands will come to see

And Oh, what a feeling in that fortress named Nēyland
When they come running through the Tee

To test their mettle in the Big Orange kettle
Against those foes of the S.E.C.

The walking horse will prance and the majorettes will dance,
Then ole Smokey will start to bay

And that “Volunteer” and the cheerleaders so dear
Will come out to lead the way

And from that grandest of bands, “The Pride of the Southland”,
“Rocky Top” will start to play

Then out will go the call to one and to all
“It’s football time in Tennessee!”

By: Tom James

Superb! Chill bumps.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to GerryOP:

The trolls and naysaying negaVols will be taking their lasts shots this week. After the game on Friday, they won't have much to say.

Vols - 35
NCST - 17

We'll be 1-0 on the way to 12-0 baby ... 12-0.

Gerry I like you but you're dead wrong. You know darn well that NCS will miss that field goal.
Vols 35 NCS 14
Yep 10-2 sounds real good to me.

Vol43 writes:

in response to born2ride:

I hope this is the last season for De'rek Dooley. I am ready to bring in a good coach who can turn things around.

And we hope this is the last season for you. You're welcome.

illinoisvolfan writes:

Who cares what kind of pants Dooley wears? If he wins, which I hope he does, he can wear orange and white checkboard pants like John Daly for all I care. Clothes don't make the coach, wins do. Put me down for 8-4 in the regular season, 9-3 with some luck. GBO, Rack the Pack!

VolinCalif writes:

Just a PS Gerry I meant to say 12-0.
But I can live with a 10-2 plus a bowl

OrangePride writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am behind Dooley and these Vols 100% regardless of the NC State outcome (which will be a Vol win!). As for job security, wins will cure everything. But I do agree that half-time adjustments will be a key to making those wins a reality. Last year our 3rd quarter adjustments and performance was nothing short of dismal (go look at those stats). That said, adjustments aren't ONLY on the head coach. The OC and DC have a LOT to do with that (look at what Cut and the Chief did as opposed to Fulmer alone). We have a new DC, so we will see. As for OC, I will be honest; I have always thought that to be a weak link......but with the added experience and current talent perhaps this year will be different....it HAS to be. So GO VOLS AND BEAT STATE!

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to BigOrangeDan:

I'll be brief...I have a job. I'll go real slow so you'll understand. We haven't played the first down of 2012 yet and you critize a coach who was handed a big bag of phooey and ask to turn it around in four years. CDD took on this task because he has guts and determination and is smart enough to get it done. Please stay on the sidelines and watch. You might just learn something....well maybe not! Happy job hunting..GBO

He wears orange pants, ok? What more do you need to know?

GerryOP writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Gerry I like you but you're dead wrong. You know darn well that NCS will miss that field goal.
Vols 35 NCS 14
Yep 10-2 sounds real good to me.

I'm kool with that!

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