John Adams: Derek Dooley could go from hot seat to hot commodity

John Adams
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on during practice at Haslam Field at the University of Tennessee Friday, Aug. 3, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on during practice at Haslam Field at the University of Tennessee Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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As you might have concluded from our 2012 football section, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley will begin the season on the "hot seat." As you also might have concluded, burning furniture has become a sidebar to UT football.

When former coach Lane Kiffin burned the Vols by abandoning them for Southern California in January of 2010, the heated response of fans was best captured by a flaming couch. It should be noted that no one has actually torched a chair over the possibility that Dooley's third season at UT could be his last. Our cover was just an artistic rendering.

It also should be noted that, in any given year, some coach has to be on the hot seat in the SEC. That's just the nature of an unforgiving league.

He doesn't have to stay there, though. He could go from the hot seat to sitting pretty.

In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if Dooley were named SEC coach of the year at the end of the season.

Go ahead and ask: "What about Nick Saban? Or Les Miles? Or Steve Spurrier?"

Answer: Think back to last season.

Saban is coming off a national championship season at Alabama. Kind of hard to improve on that, huh? And the coach of the year award is as much about improvement as it is championships.

Miles could win the SEC championship and still not win the award, because voters will remember what happened after so honoring him last season (see national championship game for details).

You could give the award to Spurrier almost any season for what he has accomplished at South Carolina. But after 11 victories and a top-10 finish last season, improvement will be hard to come by.

Improvement is practically a given for the Vols after a 5-7 season, which was preceded by a 6-7 season. Look what the Vols return in personnel (18 starters) and what they lost from their schedule (No. 5 Arkansas and No. 2 LSU).

And even an 8-5 season would be a significant step forward.

Then, Dooley wouldn't be known as the SEC coach with consecutive losing seasons. He would be regarded as the coach who had taken a once-prominent program at its lowest ebb and restored it to respectability.

That's the sort of accomplishment that earns you a coach of the year award.

Spurrier won the award in 2010 with a 9-5 record, which was an upgrade over South Carolina's 7-6 finish the previous year. The 2008 award was shared by three coaches, including Houston Nutt, who was 9-4 at Ole Miss and Bobby Johnson, who was 7-6 at Vanderbilt.

Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom won the award in 2007 with an 8-5 record after finishing 3-9 the year before. Nutt won it in 2006 by going 10-4 a year after the Razorbacks were 4-7.

The Vols might not improve that much. But they could improve enough to make the coach on the hot seat the coach of the year.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 116

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

John Adam's even sees the forest for the trees from time to time..Good article and I predicted this will happen last year after we left the field in Lexington KY..GBO!!

ClarksvilleVols42 writes:

Heres hoping for the best in 2012..GBO!!

VolinCalif writes:

Well said John. I also think that is just what is going to happen. Dooley has put together all the mat'l he needs to show he has a team. He will also be at UT for a long time, not a bouncer, it runs in his family.

Vol_in_GA writes:

Alright, seriously now. Is there the slightest chance in H. E. double hockey sticks that J.A.'s personality isn't the DSM IV classic definition of bi-polar disorder? Seriously?

That guy's gotta be helping some lucky East Tennessee psychiatrist finance the construction of a lavish lake house somewhere.

laraccoon writes:

Derek Lombardi , i had a feeling .

vol98champ writes:

I haven't liked any UT football team since since coach Cutt left. I do think we have more talent and more potential than we have had in years. Still, I have to be convinced the lethargy has been replaced with desire.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to Vol_in_GA:

Alright, seriously now. Is there the slightest chance in H. E. double hockey sticks that J.A.'s personality isn't the DSM IV classic definition of bi-polar disorder? Seriously?

That guy's gotta be helping some lucky East Tennessee psychiatrist finance the construction of a lavish lake house somewhere.

Actually, it may border on schizophrenia.

SummittsCourt writes:

I stoppped bothering to read adams articles, but the title intrigued me. He made some good points about Dooley, so it's nice to see JA be positive for a change.

CrankE writes:

I thought Richt should have been COY 2011. 0-2 to start the season, but wins 10 straight-needing every single one of them to get to the dome. Nice job. But they didn't play LSU, Arky, or Alabama. When they finally played LSU, they lost badly-just like nearly every other SEC team.

Forget individual awards. If James Kiffin at Vandy wins 7 games it's all his-regardless of how many Dooley wins.

Maybe John Adams could "turn it around" this year and become a "hot commodity" that someone else would hire. A man can always hope. Just take Bob Kesling with you on your way out, John.

budd#207344 writes:

John,
Love your work. appreciate the honesty but I cannot even come close to swallowing this one. This team should have a good year and should finish 9-3 or better. But that is not enough to give DD coach of the year or make him a hot commodity. Its what should happen. He did have to rebuild the talent. No question. But he has not done the job a coach with his experience should have done.And KY last year shows the issue. I hope we win the East , even the SEC but DD aint and will never be Lane. Or Phil

papavol writes:

Great way to look at things. I hope you are correct JA, i sure do hope you are.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CrankE:

I thought Richt should have been COY 2011. 0-2 to start the season, but wins 10 straight-needing every single one of them to get to the dome. Nice job. But they didn't play LSU, Arky, or Alabama. When they finally played LSU, they lost badly-just like nearly every other SEC team.

Forget individual awards. If James Kiffin at Vandy wins 7 games it's all his-regardless of how many Dooley wins.

Maybe John Adams could "turn it around" this year and become a "hot commodity" that someone else would hire. A man can always hope. Just take Bob Kesling with you on your way out, John.

Yeah, from Nelson to Mooney to Ward to $#!+..Where have all the sportscasters gone?? Long time pas-sion..

mdvol writes:

The 4-0 start should get everyone's attention. SEC will be wide open by the time October hits. Florida visits A&M, Georgia visits Mizzou, and Vandy could upset SC in Nashville.

Wide open for the Big Orange.

VOLS hang 100 in the first 2 games. Then drop 40 on the Gators. Start 4-0.

wharfrat writes:

OK, I like the positive thinking, in spite of losing seven coaches, DD went about the offseason in a business-like way. These players now need to go out and win one for a coach that really needs to start off with a win. I am guessing at the end of the year Justin Wilcox will wish he stayed on Rocky Top.

orangeman1 writes:

8-5 wont do it. Maybe 9-3 would get him consideration, but this is UT. Not S.C., Vandy, Ark, Miss, Miss st, or S.C. That is who Adams is comparing UT to. I dont think Adams believes for a second that Dooley will win coach of the year. He's just handing Dooley a backhanded compliment.

voloffaith writes:

Scary as mentioned in earlier JA article..He was wearing Tennessee hat...then this...is he having a melt down? Nice article...something is rotten in Denmark...conspiracy theorist unite JA is up to something....film at eleven...maybe

UTKin1992 writes:

Good gracious! This would be on par with giving trophies to kids when they lose!

COY should go the COY...being bad then being moderately bad doesn't qualify in my book.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Good article. I could see this happening. I for one think USCe is over rated. Not a bad team at all, just over rated. IMO the loss of Alshon Jeffrey and 4 year starter Stephon Gilmore are gonna sting. If I'm not mistaking they also lost that DE...Ingram I think. And Florida is hard to call until we actually see them play. They hired a really good OC, but we UT fans know that these coordinator hires can go either way. UF will either be REALLY good or 6-6 again. I don't see a middle ground for them. Point being, I think UGA is the favor coming into the season, but the east really could be wide open. A good showing this season could very well net Dooley the COY honors, which would be deserving. If he were to get it, let's hope it catapults him to the Saban/Miles level. Because if I'm not mistaking, the other coaches listed in this article didn't make it too long after winning COY honors and are now unemployed.

PUL4VOLS writes:

John, I hate to admit it but I'm with you on wishing this for Dooley. A lot of football has to be played but I do think we see a different team starting Friday. I am no predicter but hope they give a great team effort they are capable of and come out with a win. I'm sure Dooley could care less about COTY awards as long as they win win win.

GerryOP writes:

12-0 baby ... 12-0. Any questions?

pingkr62 writes:

I hope Mr. Adams is correct. G.B.O.!!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

5 weeks and we will know....5-0

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you for one know all about sucking..GO VOLS GO COACH DOOLEY !!!!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Good article. I could see this happening. I for one think USCe is over rated. Not a bad team at all, just over rated. IMO the loss of Alshon Jeffrey and 4 year starter Stephon Gilmore are gonna sting. If I'm not mistaking they also lost that DE...Ingram I think. And Florida is hard to call until we actually see them play. They hired a really good OC, but we UT fans know that these coordinator hires can go either way. UF will either be REALLY good or 6-6 again. I don't see a middle ground for them. Point being, I think UGA is the favor coming into the season, but the east really could be wide open. A good showing this season could very well net Dooley the COY honors, which would be deserving. If he were to get it, let's hope it catapults him to the Saban/Miles level. Because if I'm not mistaking, the other coaches listed in this article didn't make it too long after winning COY honors and are now unemployed.

I agree with your post. I also agree the the Cockers are over rated. Tennessee had a legitimate chance to beat them last year. I'm thinking of Worley's intercepted pass at the goal line. We had them beat! G.B.O.!!!

arkansasvol1975 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolinCalif writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

I stoppped bothering to read adams articles, but the title intrigued me. He made some good points about Dooley, so it's nice to see JA be positive for a change.

Actually I like John. I can't complain about him being correct these past 6 years. Can't really say he was neg, just accurate.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I hope Mr. Adams is correct. G.B.O.!!!

I hope Gerry is correct.GBO!!

TheExtremeVol writes:

I dont want to hear one excuse from Derek Dooley this year...if he doesnt win 8 or 9 games he needs to leave town. No excuses No regrets needs to be the Motto of this team for the year

Snapshot writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are the only one we think is a DA.....let me change that, you are the only one we know is a DA.

GerryOP writes:

in response to TheExtremeVol:

I dont want to hear one excuse from Derek Dooley this year...if he doesnt win 8 or 9 games he needs to leave town. No excuses No regrets needs to be the Motto of this team for the year

How's this for a deal? If Coach Dooley wins 8 or 9 or 12, will you agree to never again come on here to spew you naysaying negaVol trash? C'mon big guy! You're throwin down' the gauntlet for Coach Dooley, I'm throwing down the gauntlet for you. You gonna' pick it up or just kepp flappin' your jaws?

GerryOP writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I hope Gerry is correct.GBO!!

Thanks Bipolar. The Dooley bandwagon is picking up speed. All these naysaying negaVols better hop on board now or they'll be sitting in the backdoor seats.

We know their names. We know what they've said. Don't wanna hear no "I've believed all along and was just funnin' you guys" when Coach Dooley starts bringin' home the victories.

With Adams on board, we can't be too far from wrong.

GerryOP writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Thanks Bipolar. The Dooley bandwagon is picking up speed. All these naysaying negaVols better hop on board now or they'll be sitting in the backdoor seats.

We know their names. We know what they've said. Don't wanna hear no "I've believed all along and was just funnin' you guys" when Coach Dooley starts bringin' home the victories.

With Adams on board, we can't be too far from wrong.

Whoopsie! My eyes and fingers can't keep up with my excitement! Gettin' old really sucks. I'll try again.

"With Adams on board, we can't be too far from right!"

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Whoopsie! My eyes and fingers can't keep up with my excitement! Gettin' old really sucks. I'll try again.

"With Adams on board, we can't be too far from right!"

No doubt, I'm with you all the way..Solidarity Brother! GBO!!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I agree with your post. I also agree the the Cockers are over rated. Tennessee had a legitimate chance to beat them last year. I'm thinking of Worley's intercepted pass at the goal line. We had them beat! G.B.O.!!!

Yeah, the 5 wide on the goal line with a true freshman was interesting. Bunch package play action with run/pass option was what was needed. I'll never forget the DaRick TD drop against them in the 2nd quarter. If he catches that, I think we would have beaten them.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to GerryOP:

12-0 baby ... 12-0. Any questions?

Totally disagree Gerry.........

Actually, it will be 14-0. You left out the SECCG win plus the bowl game win. Is it REALLY game week?

jumby92 writes:

This is the goofiest pre-season I have seen in years...we have a billion Dooley haters out there who can't let go of the guy who flew the plane into a smoking hole in the ground, we have "analysts" who can't find the ground if they fell down. Look at the personnel on offense, look at the personnel on defense. Look at the defensive and offensive coordinators. Look at the attitude of the players. I think 10-2 is reasonable. FLA, SC, GA are all over-rated. ALA is ALA and that will be a blood-bath or a surprise. Also, I predict that someone on the offensive unit will come from nowhere and be a difference maker. We go 10-2. And, no, I am not smoking anything.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to jumby92:

This is the goofiest pre-season I have seen in years...we have a billion Dooley haters out there who can't let go of the guy who flew the plane into a smoking hole in the ground, we have "analysts" who can't find the ground if they fell down. Look at the personnel on offense, look at the personnel on defense. Look at the defensive and offensive coordinators. Look at the attitude of the players. I think 10-2 is reasonable. FLA, SC, GA are all over-rated. ALA is ALA and that will be a blood-bath or a surprise. Also, I predict that someone on the offensive unit will come from nowhere and be a difference maker. We go 10-2. And, no, I am not smoking anything.

I agree about the offense, gonna see some new names do well IMO. Actually I see three dudes on offense who will shine. Two freshman, Drae Bowles and Cody Blanc are gonna raise some eyebrows this year. The third is Devrin Young. I still don't think people know how good he is. They can't get over 1) his size, 2) the fact that he's from Knoxville. It's hard for some to imagine a kid from the Ville to have some skills. Well dude is gonna ball out of control. As I posted on another thread. He was third on the team with over 700 all purpose yards last year. He was second on the team averaging 88 all purpose yds per game last yr. and that was after missing 4 games, without significant touches on offense, and let's not forget he was just a true freshman. Very Darren Sproles like with his overall skillset and what all he brings to the team. You wait and see.

crappieking writes:

Derek Dooley a hot commodity? I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard. Time to get a proven coach, not some loser that was 17-20 at La. Tech. Do you Dooley loving zombies realize that this guy is a miserable 4-12 in SEC play? WAKE UP!!!!!!

jumby92 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

I agree about the offense, gonna see some new names do well IMO. Actually I see three dudes on offense who will shine. Two freshman, Drae Bowles and Cody Blanc are gonna raise some eyebrows this year. The third is Devrin Young. I still don't think people know how good he is. They can't get over 1) his size, 2) the fact that he's from Knoxville. It's hard for some to imagine a kid from the Ville to have some skills. Well dude is gonna ball out of control. As I posted on another thread. He was third on the team with over 700 all purpose yards last year. He was second on the team averaging 88 all purpose yds per game last yr. and that was after missing 4 games, without significant touches on offense, and let's not forget he was just a true freshman. Very Darren Sproles like with his overall skillset and what all he brings to the team. You wait and see.

Secondary and special teams do provide some cause for concern but the D line and linebackers look like they could be tough. Friday night will reveal a lot but being the first game, it will also have some sloppiness and mistakes that will not be characteristic after they do GA State. If the O line is punching holes, I'd rotate Young in and out with Neal to give them two totally different threats.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to crappieking:

Derek Dooley a hot commodity? I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard. Time to get a proven coach, not some loser that was 17-20 at La. Tech. Do you Dooley loving zombies realize that this guy is a miserable 4-12 in SEC play? WAKE UP!!!!!!

I'm not sure even Saban the great could have one 6 games with the team on the field last season. You gotta have some kind of talent to compete in this league and even though we have more experience this season the talent if healthy only wins us 2-3 more games.

GerryOP writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

Totally disagree Gerry.........

Actually, it will be 14-0. You left out the SECCG win plus the bowl game win. Is it REALLY game week?

BOF, wouldn't 14-0 be an awesome closure for everything that's happened to our Big Orange football over the past few years? And as the finale, meet up with and beat USC in the championship game! If we're gonna dream, we might as well dream BIG! Nothing is impossible...

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Good article. I could see this happening. I for one think USCe is over rated. Not a bad team at all, just over rated. IMO the loss of Alshon Jeffrey and 4 year starter Stephon Gilmore are gonna sting. If I'm not mistaking they also lost that DE...Ingram I think. And Florida is hard to call until we actually see them play. They hired a really good OC, but we UT fans know that these coordinator hires can go either way. UF will either be REALLY good or 6-6 again. I don't see a middle ground for them. Point being, I think UGA is the favor coming into the season, but the east really could be wide open. A good showing this season could very well net Dooley the COY honors, which would be deserving. If he were to get it, let's hope it catapults him to the Saban/Miles level. Because if I'm not mistaking, the other coaches listed in this article didn't make it too long after winning COY honors and are now unemployed.

I think this could be a very interesting year in the SEC East race. UGA and USC are, and should be, the favorites at this stage given their performance last season and returning talent. However, as you pointed out… USC could very well be over-rated and you never know which UGA team is going to show up. UF, UT, and even Vandy could be all unknowns who could throw a major monkey wrench in the path to the SEC Championship game. Should be a very interesting year indeed! Looking forward to some great games!

RockyMtnVol writes:

Those who think CDD is a loser, are in fact losers themselves, they only like it when things go well, and put down those who make their lives feel less. It’s called association effect, they only want to be associated with those who they perceive to be winners, and regardless of the station in life they possess themselves. These types of people are followers, they are sayers and not doers, they point fingers at people in their work area that are hard workers and call them suck ups. Yes, NEGVOLS are losers who think they are winners. They feel they have some kind of intuitive insight to what is wrong with UT Football and try to convince others they know something about coaching and the sport. They live sad lives and we can only pray for their salvation or that they go to another team.
GBO!!

GerryOP writes:

If he doesn't already have it, Coach Dooley should have a big sign on his office wall ... "The Difficult I Can Get Done Right Away ... The Impossible Will Take A Little Longer!"

GerryOP writes:

in response to crappieking:

Derek Dooley a hot commodity? I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard. Time to get a proven coach, not some loser that was 17-20 at La. Tech. Do you Dooley loving zombies realize that this guy is a miserable 4-12 in SEC play? WAKE UP!!!!!!

Ignorance is bliss ... and your very blissful.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

I think this could be a very interesting year in the SEC East race. UGA and USC are, and should be, the favorites at this stage given their performance last season and returning talent. However, as you pointed out… USC could very well be over-rated and you never know which UGA team is going to show up. UF, UT, and even Vandy could be all unknowns who could throw a major monkey wrench in the path to the SEC Championship game. Should be a very interesting year indeed! Looking forward to some great games!

Well my feeling is that Ga will falter and I think it will be against UT first. S. car and Steve are the team to beat this year in the East. Steve always plays great Off. and puts up numbers, that just isn't going to change. As for So. Cal, they are not over rated they are a great team in the making. Have never liked SC it is something like a Vol fan liking Al. My kids are UCLA Grad's So there is no love for SC.But they have a load of talent. Fact is Calif is loaded with talent top to bottom. Look at the Population and the great weather. They have more High school students than some states have population.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hebrews 11:1 was not intended for sports "faith" but the UT fanbase will grasp at
anything for some hope I guess.

notorange writes:

I'm going to state the odvious here, either he's a hero (7 wins or more) or a zero (less than 7) after this season...the media and fans will see to that.

crappieking writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed.

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