Tennessee football in 2012: Derek Dooley is at a loss; Butch Jones focuses on future

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Butch Jones addresses members of the media after he is introduced as the new football coach at Tennessee on Dec. 7 in the Peyton Manning Locker Room at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Butch Jones addresses members of the media after he is introduced as the new football coach at Tennessee on Dec. 7 in the Peyton Manning Locker Room at Neyland Stadium.

On a particularly busy afternoon before Christmas, Tennessee's football offices have the feel of a futuristic telemarketing center.

Coaches and administrators pace the hallways past glass-walled offices, cell phones to their ears. A steady stream of visitors enter and then leave Butch Jones password-protected office suite by punching numbers into a keypad.

Any phone call from a recruit is a reason to interrupt the new coach, particularly during an NCAA dead period, when coaches get only one call a week to prospects, but recruits can call anytime.

Amid this hive of activity, Jones and his new staff have focused on the future, and especially the 2013 recruiting class that must be salvaged in the next five weeks leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 6.

"You win with players," Jones said. "We have to go out and bring in high-caliber players."

New coaches don't like to dwell on the past, and their arrival promises a fresh start for Tennessee players who have endured three consecutive losing seasons. But as the calendar turns over to 2013, it's worth reviewing the tumultuous final season of former coach Derek Dooley.

The year that started with so much optimism may offer lessons for the new staff as it tries to reverse one of the worst stretches in modern Tennessee football history.

An offseason of change

Dooley's outlook for 2012 season is positive

Tennessee entered Dooley's third season at the helm with new assistant coaches at seven of nine positions. Only offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and assistant Darin Hinshaw, who shifted from quarterbacks to receivers, returned from the 2011 squad that went 5-7 and ended the year with an embarrassing loss at Kentucky.

Some of the coaches were nudged aside. But many others sought safer opportunities elsewhere, knowing the Dooley regime was entering a critical — and possibly final — third year.

In retrospect, none of the losses was bigger than defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who left for Washington after presiding over a defense ranked 28th in the country in 2011.

For his replacement, Dooley turned to Sal Sunseri, an Alabama assistant whose hiring was widely regarded as a coup. To lure Sunseri from a stable post with Nick Saban, Tennessee offered a three-year, $2.4 million contract.

Sunseri would last only one season, and his defense would be among the worst in the nation and perhaps the worst in Tennessee history.

An optimistic August

Despite all the offseason changes, it was difficult to sense much concern in August. In fact, there was a sense that after two years of taking its lumps under Dooley, the Vols were finally ready to return to the top of the SEC in 2012.

Much of the excitement was focused on the offense, which had struggled a year earlier after injuries to quarterback Tyler Bray and receiver Justin Hunter.

But now Bray and Hunter were healthy. With talented but mercurial receiver Da'Rick Rogers and new junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson also on the roster, many believed the Tennessee offense had four potential first-round picks leading the offense.

The only question was whether that explosive passing game could be complemented by an improved offensive line and rushing attack. But those units seemed to be making progress under new coaches Sam Pittman and Jay Graham.

Even Dooley, known as a difficult coach for which to work, was mellowing a bit during the August camp. He seemed to be enjoying the new faces on his rebuilt staff, a mixture of young coaches like defensive assistants Derrick Ansley and Josh Conklin and salty veterans like line coaches Pittman and John Palermo.

As the team trekked to small-town Milligan College for a week of practices that doubled as a team-bonding experience, it was impossible to ignore the positive vibes flowing from Camp Dooley.

Then the first cracks started to appear.

Key loss, followed by a big win

By now the Da'Rick Rogers rumor mill had a familiar refrain: Rogers misses practice. Rumors swirl. Dooley puts them to rest.

Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers talks with the media during media day at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers talks with the media during media day at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Only on this morning, one week before the start of the 2012 season, Dooley had no good news to offer. The junior receiver was gone and he was not coming back.

"There's not one player on the team that we're not prepared to go play without," Dooley said.

It may have been for the best that there was no time to dwell on Rogers' departure or worry about what his absence would do to the offense before the season opener against North Carolina State in the Chick-fil-A Classic at the Georgia Dome.

The N.C. State game proved the loss of Rogers might not be as dramatic as some feared. The Vols won 35-21, an important win made even more impressive by the way in which UT won it.

Bray was nearly flawless. Hunter caught nine passes. Senior receiver Zach Rogers caught a 72-yard touchdown pass. Patterson burst onto the scene with 165 total yards and two touchdowns.

Even Sunseri's revamped 3-4 defense showed promise. The Vols had four interceptions against veteran quarterback Mike Glennon. The aggressiveness Sunseri had tried to instill in his team seemed to be paying off.

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley wears the trophy helmet while celebrating with his players at the conclusion of winning the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley wears the trophy helmet while celebrating with his players at the conclusion of winning the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

After the game, stadium workers quickly roped off a section of midfield and players mounted a makeshift stage for the trophy presentation. One of the players took the trophy — a replica leather helmet — and placed it on Dooley's head as confetti rained down from the Dome ceiling.

Amid the celebration, Dooley repeatedly sounded a note of caution.

"It's really early," Dooley said. "I definitely feel like I have a better handle, but we really don't know much about this team."

Is Tennessee back?

With the benefit of three months of hindsight, the hoopla that surrounded Tennessee's game against Florida in Week 3 at Neyland Stadium may seem silly. But at the time, there was genuine excitement that perhaps Tennessee was at a turning point.

And maybe the Vols were. But the program didn't turn in the direction that anyone had hoped.

After beating Georgia State to improve to 2-0, Tennessee climbed into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2008. A few moments after the poll was released, ESPN confirmed that College GameDay was coming to Knoxville for the first time since 2004. With Georgia and South Carolina off to shaky starts, some believed that the Florida-Tennessee winner would be in the driver's seat for the SEC East.

For nearly three quarters, the game lived up to the hype. But in the final 20 minutes, the Vols' offense wilted and the defense allowed the sort of big plays that would characterize the entire season.

After the game, Dooley was asked pointedly whether the Vols were able to match Florida in talent.

"We thought we could go toe-to-toe with them for four quarters, yes," Dooley replied.

That answer became more pertinent as the season wore on. Florida kept winning, finishing the season third in the BCS standings. Meanwhile, Tennessee's losing had just begun.

UT head coach Derek Dooley slams his cane to the ground in reaction to play against Troy at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

UT head coach Derek Dooley slams his cane to the ground in reaction to play against Troy at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

The second season

The bad luck that had plagued Dooley in SEC games during his first two seasons continued through 2012. In three of the next four conference games after the Florida loss, Tennessee was in a position to win or tie in the fourth quarter. (Only the loss to then-No. 1 Alabama was lopsided). The Vols went 0-4 during the stretch.

After a particularly devastating loss at then-No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 27, Dooley declared the final four games of 2012 as a sort of "second season."

Some fans disliked the phrase, but it carried a ring of truth. The final games — all quite winnable — would be a referendum on Dooley's future and determine whether the Vols would qualify for a bowl game.

The first game of the second season was nearly a disaster. The Vols outlasted Troy 55-48, but were outgained by the Trojans 721 to 718, the most yards of combined offense ever in a Tennessee football game.

The next game had fewer yards but a similar script. Missouri rallied from a halftime deficit to beat the Vols 51-48 in four overtimes.

The final act of the Dooley era came a week later, a 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt that was likely the low point of a season in which there were many.

A few hours later, early on Nov. 18, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart met with Dooley to tell him the news he had already likely accepted. He would not be back for a fourth year at Tennessee.

"He handled it as you would expect," Hart said. "He handled it in a mature, respectful and appreciative manner."

The team Jones inherits

Did Dooley leave the program in better shape than he inherited it when Lane Kiffin left abruptly after one season in January 2010? Hart believes he did.

Raw video: Dave Hart press conference on Dooley's firing

"He inherited a very, difficult environment," Hart said. "Quite honestly, he was given a pretty short stick to take into that battle. Given those facts, he did a good job in a lot of areas in putting a solid foundation under our football program."

If Bray, Hunter and Patterson had opted to return for their senior seasons, the offense alone would be reason for significant optimism entering 2013. As it stands, the roster offers some reasons to be hopeful and other reasons for serious concern.

On offense, an experienced offensive line and a revitalized running game should help the new quarterback and a very young receiving corps ease into SEC play.

Defensively, there's nowhere go but up. The linebackers didn't live up to their promise in 2012 and the secondary will get a chance at a fresh start after being haunted by big plays. The biggest chance for improvement might be at coordinator. Sunseri was the wrong coach at the wrong time for Tennessee. New defensive coordinator John Jancek will return to the 4-3 and promises to be more pragmatic in fitting the defense to the Vols' personnel.

The roster is relatively balanced, and the healthy size of the senior class — 24 players, barring offseason attrition — is a credit to Dooley's stewardship.

Even with the high-profile departures, many talented players remain.

The bulk of the roster — 37 players — were either in the 2010 class that was ranked ninth nationally by Rivals or the 2011 class that was 14th nationally in the 247 Sports Composite index. Twenty players on the roster were consensus four-star selections, according to the 247 Composite, while one player (offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James) was a five-star.

But while the roster does have some veterans, a surprising number have contributed little during their career. Only five players have started 20 or more games; only 16 have started at least 10.

Beyond the lack of experience, virtually every position has potential depth issues. Even those spots without an urgent need could be vulnerable to injuries.

Looking ahead with a new coach

If that seems like a gloomy outlook for 2013, consider that the schedule Jones will face in Year 1 includes back-to-back road games against Oregon and Florida. After a non-conference breather, the Vols play Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama in consecutive weeks.

But in his first weeks on the job, Jones has combated that gloom with optimism and energy.

"The Gatorade of coaches," Jones joked as he took a swig of yet another cup of coffee during a long day at the office early in December.

Jones has described his plan that worked at previous stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati as "infallible." When asked if that seemed overly confident, even boastful, Jones had a ready answer.

"You forgot the second part of that quote. The plan is infallible if the players buy in," he said.

Players will begin trickling back from Christmas break later this week. The new semester starts Jan. 9. The buy-in process is about to get under way.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 58

OrangePsyched writes:

I think that everyone would agree that the players do need to buy in for CBJ to be successful. If the players buy in then so should we fans. I'm sold and will expect the best and be supportive.

dubyson writes:

This was great... I am all in and I hope everyone is as well.

CCLC writes:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

redskinvol1 writes:

A top ten class this year will get most fans to buy in.Wins will get the rest.Some fans need to see progress before they blindly follow anyone.After the last few years I can't blame them.I think that''The best staff in the country''should land a top ten class this year.I would settle for a top fifteen class with next years legacy class being the year that Tn could bust into the top five.I hope coach Butch is who he says he is because I like most real Tn fans are ready to see the Vols win!!GO VOLS AND HTTR!!!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to CCLC:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

If you're referring to the wideout from Harding....JUST A WEE BIT GENEROUS ON ASSESSING HIS CAREER WOULDN'T YOU THINK......funny

tennrich1 writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

A top ten class this year will get most fans to buy in.Wins will get the rest.Some fans need to see progress before they blindly follow anyone.After the last few years I can't blame them.I think that''The best staff in the country''should land a top ten class this year.I would settle for a top fifteen class with next years legacy class being the year that Tn could bust into the top five.I hope coach Butch is who he says he is because I like most real Tn fans are ready to see the Vols win!!GO VOLS AND HTTR!!!

Shoot man let's go for broke and say top 5 class. Hey if he has a class RANKED in top 25 I would think that would be a great accomplishment don't you realistically speaking!!!

redskinvol1 writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Shoot man let's go for broke and say top 5 class. Hey if he has a class RANKED in top 25 I would think that would be a great accomplishment don't you realistically speaking!!!

It would be a really great accomplishment at cincy.At Tn that would be just ok!!If the legacy class ends up being what it could be.Next years class will be one of the best in the whole country!!

mountainbrook writes:

in response to CCLC:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

No one does LESS with more talent than Mark Right.

CCLC writes:

in response to mountainbrook:

No one does LESS with more talent than Mark Right.

Been to the SEC Championship 5 times in 12 years. I guess I can live with doing less with more. How's that back to back 1-7 in the SEC working out for ya? Gee whiz how do you even get the nerve to post your phooey..... amazing.
No mattresses were burned during CMR tenure at the Beast of the East.
just sayin'

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to mountainbrook:

No one does LESS with more talent than Mark Right.

Georgia has a top 15 recruiting year every year.
But who is Mark Right?

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Congratulations to Lane Kiffin and USC. They just got destroyed by a team that was destroyed by MTSU. In fact, the team that beat USC had to petition the NCAA to be allowed to play in the bowl game because they had a losing record (6-7, now 7-7). Way to go Lane. Keep it classy, as always.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to CCLC:

Been to the SEC Championship 5 times in 12 years. I guess I can live with doing less with more. How's that back to back 1-7 in the SEC working out for ya? Gee whiz how do you even get the nerve to post your phooey..... amazing.
No mattresses were burned during CMR tenure at the Beast of the East.
just sayin'

How many of those 5 did you win? If you ain't first then you're last...someone famous said that you know.

jeffnktown writes:

Spurrier said one time during a press conferance when he was still a Florida coach before a TN game " I can make allstars out of any player, and the Vols can make no names out of allstars"

orangecountyvols writes:

CC,

Usually, I cut you a little slack. This is a Vols site. Be a smidgeon classy.

CCLC writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ironcity writes:

in response to CCLC:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

Who was the player from Memphis? I hope you did not mean Brown. Every UGA fan I know considers him the biggest bust since Jasper Sanks. The guy had a few catches this year but otherwise had a undistinguished career. maybe next year he will do OK but he has no pro prospects and its doubtful he will even start. Kiffin missed on Brown but UT was the benefactor their.

CCLC writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

CC,

Usually, I cut you a little slack. This is a Vols site. Be a smidgeon classy.

Yes you do. I will try to respond appropriately. Thanks for the polite rebuke.

gillblog writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Congratulations to Lane Kiffin and USC. They just got destroyed by a team that was destroyed by MTSU. In fact, the team that beat USC had to petition the NCAA to be allowed to play in the bowl game because they had a losing record (6-7, now 7-7). Way to go Lane. Keep it classy, as always.

Amazing that Tee Martin chose to hitch his wagon to a childish looser like Kiffin. My guess is Martin as well as the child will be looking for work come April and fortunately, UT will not be a prospective employer for either.

CCLC writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Who was the player from Memphis? I hope you did not mean Brown. Every UGA fan I know considers him the biggest bust since Jasper Sanks. The guy had a few catches this year but otherwise had a undistinguished career. maybe next year he will do OK but he has no pro prospects and its doubtful he will even start. Kiffin missed on Brown but UT was the benefactor their.

I don't think we are talking about the same player.. ..... Brown is projected to go in the 4th round. Averaged 17 yards per catch and was tied with the most ypc at Georgia before his injury. Never in trouble always a team player and represented the State of Tennessee very well. But don't let the facts stand in your way.That ignorant fan is what annoys me OCV. Just sayin'
"1/05/12 - Georgia receiver Marlon Brown, who is tied for the team lead in catches, will miss the remainder of the season after hurting his left knee in Saturday night's win over Mississippi. Coach Mark Richt said Sunday Brown tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. The injury will end the senior's college career, but Brown is expected to make a full recovery following surgery. ''We know he'll be able to continue with his pro career because I think he was well on his way to have that happen for him,'' Richt said. Brown and another senior, Tavarres King, share the lead with 27 catches. Brown has four touchdown catches. ''I'm very sorry for him and for Georgia, too,'' Richt said. ''It's just a hard thing to swallow right now.'' The injury comes one month after another top receiver, Michael Bennett, hurt his right knee in practice, ending his season. Brown had three catches for 113 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, in Georgia's 37-10 win over Ole Miss. Georgia plays at Auburn on Saturday night. Richt says Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley could see more playing time behind King, Malcolm Mitchell, Rantavious Wooten and Chris Conley. King and Brown started against Ole Miss. ''We still have some play-makers,'' Richt said. ''We'll miss him, but other guys will have to step up and get after it.'' Richt said offensive guard Chris Burnette, who left the Ole Miss game with a left shoulder injury, is day to day. - AP Sports "

VOLVFL55 writes:

in response to CCLC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How about no national championship in over 30 yrs - geez...UGA is one motorcycle accident away from Ar-Kansas...not even elite, just a pain in everyone else's side. Again, nobody does less w/more than Mark Richt & that little program you call UGA...just sayin'.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

A top ten class this year will get most fans to buy in.Wins will get the rest.Some fans need to see progress before they blindly follow anyone.After the last few years I can't blame them.I think that''The best staff in the country''should land a top ten class this year.I would settle for a top fifteen class with next years legacy class being the year that Tn could bust into the top five.I hope coach Butch is who he says he is because I like most real Tn fans are ready to see the Vols win!!GO VOLS AND HTTR!!!

How? UT is ranked just inside the top 50 at the present..If UT some how sneaks into the top 20 that will be an excellent class considering.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CCLC:

Yes you do. I will try to respond appropriately. Thanks for the polite rebuke.

CC, GFYAD!!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to CCLC:

Been to the SEC Championship 5 times in 12 years. I guess I can live with doing less with more. How's that back to back 1-7 in the SEC working out for ya? Gee whiz how do you even get the nerve to post your phooey..... amazing.
No mattresses were burned during CMR tenure at the Beast of the East.
just sayin'

another jerk like comment from a jerk
just sayin'
maybe that waitress in Knoxville wouldn't have harrassed you if you weren't such a jerk
just sayin'

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to OrangeAndBlueWaffles88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Disgusted..I would clean house; fire Garrett, Slob Ryan and draft a QB..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to OrangeAndBlueWaffles88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No doubt, Romo played great fb for six straight games and lays an egg at the worst possible time. As far as Garrett, he is the second coming of Dooley, he's terrible..

murrayvol writes:

in response to CCLC:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

Surely you're not talking about Marlon Brown. I gave you more credit.

DR will have an NFL career. MB will have....well, he'll always have Georgia.

CCLC writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Surely you're not talking about Marlon Brown. I gave you more credit.

DR will have an NFL career. MB will have....well, he'll always have Georgia.

I take it you are proud of having Dah 'Rick on your team. Works for me. But, really? Didn't he get kicked off the team? And that qb you signed with him???? Where is he at? Stay classy. Do ya think this is why you are where you are.... back to back 1-7 in the SEC. I don't think you bounce back. Not this decade.

Now the question is whether NFL teams will view the 6-foot-2, 215-pound playmaker as a first-round talent, or whether Rogers’ draft stock will plunge because teams are more concerned about what he does off the field than what he does on the field.

orangecountyvols writes:

CC,

Give me your opinion...........about Murray. Is he turning pro or coming back?

I always pull for the Dawgs when they are playing the troll infested Gators.

Most people agree the defense ruined any chances the Vols had to do anything special this year. One thing to me is important for the Vols' football future, especially on offense...........and that's to have more of a mobile QB. Too many times we saw 3rd and 2 and a long pass down field to nobody.

Georgia Tech was impressive today.......again, against a team that didn't want to be there ( USC.)

pingkr62 writes:

I think the next teams will be much better disciplined than in the past. Expecting big changes, and hope to see improvement regardless of how tough the schedule is. G.B.O.!!!

volforeverandever writes:

What about the Jackets?The most wasted talent in America is at usc.The proof was on the field.Preseason number one and you are beat by a team who got destroyed by MTSU.They have more 4 and 5 star players than anyone in America and they get their butts handed to them in the Sun bowl.They were bottom tier in the Pac.Could not have not happened to a nicer guy.Yes there is justice in this world.I have a cousin in Cal.and he said the fans are calling for Kiffins head.What a waste of talent.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

clown

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wilted Flowers,

What we are fantasizing about is whether you have the 'guts' to go face Glenn Ford in person with your obsession. That would be very interesting.

With your jealousy regarding Karl Kremser and Glenn Ford, you are showing everyone what a wimp you are here. Add to those 2, your sick obsession also with Dooley........who is gone, yet you with your perverted agenda are one sick soul.

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

What about the Jackets?The most wasted talent in America is at usc.The proof was on the field.Preseason number one and you are beat by a team who got destroyed by MTSU.They have more 4 and 5 star players than anyone in America and they get their butts handed to them in the Sun bowl.They were bottom tier in the Pac.Could not have not happened to a nicer guy.Yes there is justice in this world.I have a cousin in Cal.and he said the fans are calling for Kiffins head.What a waste of talent.

This statement is so true about USC.
Wake up USC fans and let your Athletic Director know that if he doesn't fire KIFFEN and his good old boys that he needs to look for a job too! What a disgrace for a Coach. Also thanks wonder boy for setting our program back and for letting Mr. Boyd get away

lafollette37766 writes:

Happy New Year Knoxville. I am in L A on business this week. Read a very interesting article in the L A Times. It looks like Ole Lame Brain Kiffen and his "dream job" may be in hot water. Some of the people I am working with out here say that the USC AD in spite of what he has said in public is not very happy with Kiffy and niether are the USC money people. From the way they talked some of the stunts Ole Kiffy pulled in Knoxville he tried out here. They know more about USC than I ever will so only time will tell.

VolsFanInAfghanistan writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

GFF, Man to man, why if you're a VFL do you have such hatred for our Tennessee Vols? I mean you haven't even seen the roster yet, you haven't even seen the players practice. All you seem to know is that every hire so far was a bad one and that Hart sucks. Big deal. Why can't we be going thru the period that every college goes thru. SMU nearly had their program taken away, but look at them now. Yes, June Jones is a big named coach, but the program had to be piece back together. Yes, it sucks our Volunteers are going thru this rough patch, but God you truly seem to hate everything VOL right now. Relax, take a breath and slow down on the negative post for a bit. I for one as well as some other Volunteer fans just want to come on here and see some positive post for once from the TRUE Volunteer faithful. Yes, you have the right to post whatever you want, but jc, you and some others can surly take it over the top, and no I'm not one of the doolaid drinkers or Hart lovers you keep talking so much about.

Geofffourmyle writes:

What a strange article. There was -zero- reason for optimism at the start of the 2012 season.

Walt

UT '81

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to tennrich1:

Shoot man let's go for broke and say top 5 class. Hey if he has a class RANKED in top 25 I would think that would be a great accomplishment don't you realistically speaking!!!

I agree..No chance Jones does any better than 25..Just to late in the game and any uncommitted prospect with Bama;Ga or Fla on his list has no desire to join a rebuilding program with losing records..Our latest commit is the #22 in state prospect that only got noticed because he has a little speed..If by some miracle we land Green or flip Lawson I will be happy.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

New year, same old BS on here. Can't have a decent discussion without the same ones getting into a peeing match & taking over the thread. Hard to even remember what it was about to start with.
Some of you turds need to get a life.
See ya!

SevenT writes:

Tennessee Football is going to completely blow again next season. Take a look at the returning roster. They might win 4.

Get used to it Vol Fans Fulmer is gone.

laraccoon writes:

in response to CCLC:

There was a lot of chest bumping and laughing when uT landed DaRick in a two for one deal ..... stealing a prized recruit. Meanwhile Georgia landed the best player out of Memphis that went on to a great career Between the Hedges. No one laughing now.
just sayin'
there were no police foot stomped while posting this blog.
still sayin'

dude D.Rogers had more recieving yards in one season than Brown has in his career .Guess i dont get your point !

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

in response to OrangeAndBlueWaffles88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it went well.My Redskins kicked their butt.Couldn't have happened to a more deserving team as them Cowboys.

formervol1950s writes:

Shades of Tom Siler and Ben Byrd...great article .

VOL1972 writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

A top ten class this year will get most fans to buy in.Wins will get the rest.Some fans need to see progress before they blindly follow anyone.After the last few years I can't blame them.I think that''The best staff in the country''should land a top ten class this year.I would settle for a top fifteen class with next years legacy class being the year that Tn could bust into the top five.I hope coach Butch is who he says he is because I like most real Tn fans are ready to see the Vols win!!GO VOLS AND HTTR!!!

A top 10 class after three straight losing seasons? Really?

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to andforhisnexttune:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

then why read it pos

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you should get over your man crush you have with GFF

FanNotSheep writes:

Time to stop rehashing the Dooley era and move forward. No more articles about the disappointing losses that KNS apparently intends to remind us of until the end of time. It is not realistic to expect Jones to make a difference in this recruiting class. At Cincinnati he could not have been in on very many 4 and 5-star players so all we can realistically hope is for better coaching next year and a fundamentally sound team.

I was talking to a coworker the other day about how Nebraska wore Tennessee out when the Vols had far more talent than the Cornhuskers. I loved seeing the great players Fulmer recruited perform but I would really love to see a coach with Tom Osborne's or Frank Solich's ability come in here and put players on the field who would give that type of effort. I think UT fans would be ready to erect statues pretty quickly if it ever happens.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to CCLC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny, I have always referred to Georgia as our fat and ugly girlfriend too.

AllVol1 writes:

This is classic Adams. Stir up the phooey and make a big stink. Then the flies come and swarm around it with their buzz. It gets the thread ratings by opening old wounds. Truly, John Adams plays a lot of Tennessee fans like a cheap violin.

I am hopeful that CBJ and staff can do three things that Dooley and Co. did not. Recruit and sign ELITE talent. Instill a winning mindset into the players. Coach the team in ways that bring out their very best at all times, including during actual games. If they can accomplish these, then everything, including the Vols' record will dramatically improve.
Vols!

6972 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Congratulations to Lane Kiffin and USC. They just got destroyed by a team that was destroyed by MTSU. In fact, the team that beat USC had to petition the NCAA to be allowed to play in the bowl game because they had a losing record (6-7, now 7-7). Way to go Lane. Keep it classy, as always.

Kiffin and USC lost.....brings a tear to your eye doesn't it? I am emotional distraught. I may never recover.

6972 writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

What about the Jackets?The most wasted talent in America is at usc.The proof was on the field.Preseason number one and you are beat by a team who got destroyed by MTSU.They have more 4 and 5 star players than anyone in America and they get their butts handed to them in the Sun bowl.They were bottom tier in the Pac.Could not have not happened to a nicer guy.Yes there is justice in this world.I have a cousin in Cal.and he said the fans are calling for Kiffins head.What a waste of talent.

Give all the USC fans a joint and Kiffin will get to stay. Give them all a line of coke and they will make him governor.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features