Team-building process includes video games for Vols

The technology has changed, and to Derek Dooley, that's part of the problem.

With cell phones, social media and the Internet constantly available, the way players communicate now is obviously different than when Tennessee's football coach was in school.

But the technological advances also can be part of the solution for Dooley, starting with the improvements from a basic Nintendo to the complex gaming systems the Vols plugged in last month for a team event in Neyland Stadium.

"When I was in college, I used to grind out Super Mario Bros. against my teammates," a smiling Dooley said in his office Thursday afternoon. "But we played together because we didn't have access to all this other stuff. We didn't have the Internet, we just rode around together, we got in trouble together, played games together. To find girls and talk to them you had to go out together, you didn't just text them. We didn't have cell phones.

"We didn't have coaches set things up, because we didn't have all these other distractions competing for our time together. It's a different world."

The coaching staff is adapting to it with activities like the recent bonding night centered around a Madden NFL '12 tournament, just one step in the process of building a closer team heading into Dooley's third season with the program.

His second year ended with a disappointing loss to Kentucky that illustrated what appeared to be a disconnect between the upperclassmen and the rest of a largely youthful roster, particularly when the former took a few shots at the latter in their post-game press conferences.

Dooley has consistently stressed the need to identify leaders as his first two recruiting classes become the focal point and prepare to welcome the new group just officially signed on Wednesday. And while there are far more important factors in that effort than picking up some joysticks, even that can be applied to the crucial areas of improvement Dooley identified in December.

"I did a lot of soul-searching on what is going to be the key to this team's success next year, aside from the obvious," he said. "Aside from the systems, what do we need to do schematically, which we put a lot of thought into. Aside from how we train as far as getting bigger, faster and stronger.

"The three biggest issues to me were, No. 1, we've got to do a better job of promoting and fostering and engaging in teamwork. No. 2 was having more competitive opportunities, to get guys to compete and not be afraid to compete, to not be afraid to lose and learn when you lose that you go to the next one and you compete again. No. 3 is just promoting a little more leadership training within the team."

And even when the football is just being simulated on a television screen, the Vols can still make a bit of progress on that checklist.

The team is getting together for something other than practice, for starters. And there also was little doubt based on the live Twitter updates from the players that they were taking full advantage of the competition.

"I just think when I played, which was not long ago, after practice you were just in the locker room and you spent time with your teammates," Dooley said. "I think teamwork is different now. Team dynamics are so different.

"The time they spend interacting with their team is minuscule compared to when I played. All the time that we interacted and got to know each other and how to work together, we take that for granted now as coaches. There's not a lot of time that these guys spend together outside of on the practice field."

But if it's the new technology that has been driving them apart, Dooley clearly isn't opposed to using it to bring the Vols back together.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward

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Comments » 42

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

Do video games have quit buttons?

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

Instead of playing video games , he needs to make them watch the KY game each day and then run them until they slobber blood.

seadaddy writes:

Read you two post again NegaVol and see if you think what you wrote was very smart.
Maybe the University should hired you to coach them up?
Get over the lost to Ky,one lost to them every 26 years is not all that bad.
Don't like how things are done on the hill go to some other team,you will not be missed.
And another thing get rid of the dumb user name

GetSimmsandTeagueout writes:

in response to seadaddy:

Read you two post again NegaVol and see if you think what you wrote was very smart.
Maybe the University should hired you to coach them up?
Get over the lost to Ky,one lost to them every 26 years is not all that bad.
Don't like how things are done on the hill go to some other team,you will not be missed.
And another thing get rid of the dumb user name

Fans like you are why TN suks and likes it now.

papavol writes:

Does the Kentucky loss have to be mentioned in ever article? EVERY FREAKIN ARTICLE!! SERIOUSLY!?!?

Or is there some particular reason why these writers have to mention it every time that I'm not getting? Have you guys been briefed that it is required to be inserted into your every article?

How do you go from simple enthusiastic team building madden tournament article, to another "after the disappointing season ending loss to Kentucky" article. Please, for the love of anything...STOP IT!

alvol writes:

in response to papavol:

Does the Kentucky loss have to be mentioned in ever article? EVERY FREAKIN ARTICLE!! SERIOUSLY!?!?

Or is there some particular reason why these writers have to mention it every time that I'm not getting? Have you guys been briefed that it is required to be inserted into your every article?

How do you go from simple enthusiastic team building madden tournament article, to another "after the disappointing season ending loss to Kentucky" article. Please, for the love of anything...STOP IT!

They landed a man on the moon! They landed a man on the moon!

MidTennVol writes:

in response to papavol:

Does the Kentucky loss have to be mentioned in ever article? EVERY FREAKIN ARTICLE!! SERIOUSLY!?!?

Or is there some particular reason why these writers have to mention it every time that I'm not getting? Have you guys been briefed that it is required to be inserted into your every article?

How do you go from simple enthusiastic team building madden tournament article, to another "after the disappointing season ending loss to Kentucky" article. Please, for the love of anything...STOP IT!

Yes, it does. Don't think you guys realize just how huge that was. Not necessarily losing but HOW we lost - ugly, listless, uncompetitive, teamless. Like nobody wearing orange cared. That is unacceptable at Tennessee.

I think Dooley may have himself learned how unacceptable that kind of performance is.

KY has come very, very close to beating us several times over the years. Taken us to overtime a few times. Any one of those could have been a loss. But it wouldn't have been as bad because we saw our team competing its heart out.

We did not see a team this last game against KY. We certainly did not see a competitive team. We did not see much heart. Unacceptable for any Tennessee football team to do that against any opponent.

I hope they don't stop talking about that game until the team gives us a reason to forget it.

Let that game serve as motivation for every player who strapped up for it. Play it for them again and again.

I want the team get sick of hearing about it and watching it. Maybe then they'll play like they want us to erase it from our minds -- like they have "never again" tattooed on their chests in KY blue.

born2ride writes:

First time in almost 3 decades a UT coach lost to Kentucky. It was a "disappointing season ending loss".

seadaddy writes:

in response to papavol:

Does the Kentucky loss have to be mentioned in ever article? EVERY FREAKIN ARTICLE!! SERIOUSLY!?!?

Or is there some particular reason why these writers have to mention it every time that I'm not getting? Have you guys been briefed that it is required to be inserted into your every article?

How do you go from simple enthusiastic team building madden tournament article, to another "after the disappointing season ending loss to Kentucky" article. Please, for the love of anything...STOP IT!

Hey Papa,
All you have to do is look at the NEGAVOLS usuer names,that tells you why they are on this site...to bad we don't have an ingore button.
When a so call vol fan calls out a young person who is playing sports for the Vols on a site like this for all the world to see,it tells you a lot about that person.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

Fans like you are why TN suks and likes it now.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

seadaddy writes:

in response to bvol1inSC:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

bvol1inSC,
That should shut him up,maybe he will just go away

RaineyVol writes:

I am watching the Vols greatest plays.. Good gosh where did these teams go? get us another Jamal Lewis already and stop playing around with RBs

givehim6 writes:

In CDD 3 points he want the Vols to learn point #1 and #3 I agree with but #2 no, it is never ok to lose.

Orangeblood13 writes:

sigh

fearthehound writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

Fans like you are why TN suks and likes it now.

Fans like you scare me. You actually create a screen name that calls out a couple of young men who are just trying their best. Maybe you're not too happy with your own life. It's one thing to pull for your team, and you might even get a little upset when things aren't going well...but some people just get a little too 'invested' in this whole thing, you know?

givehim6 writes:

My Oh My, a bunch of folks been drinking tonight and been passing the angry stick around or what? Try talking adout the artice not pissing and moaning about the past ok, If I wanted to cry trust me I could cry a river.

papavol writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

Yes, it does. Don't think you guys realize just how huge that was. Not necessarily losing but HOW we lost - ugly, listless, uncompetitive, teamless. Like nobody wearing orange cared. That is unacceptable at Tennessee.

I think Dooley may have himself learned how unacceptable that kind of performance is.

KY has come very, very close to beating us several times over the years. Taken us to overtime a few times. Any one of those could have been a loss. But it wouldn't have been as bad because we saw our team competing its heart out.

We did not see a team this last game against KY. We certainly did not see a competitive team. We did not see much heart. Unacceptable for any Tennessee football team to do that against any opponent.

I hope they don't stop talking about that game until the team gives us a reason to forget it.

Let that game serve as motivation for every player who strapped up for it. Play it for them again and again.

I want the team get sick of hearing about it and watching it. Maybe then they'll play like they want us to erase it from our minds -- like they have "never again" tattooed on their chests in KY blue.

Tell it to the team, tell it to the players, tattoo it on their forehead. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. I understand we lost miserably, made me sick, i hope it makes them sick too. I just don't want to hear about it in every article I freakin read. Trust me, i'm in saudi arabia, i didn't get to watch the game but i will never forget a loss like that for a while. It was bound to happen, just like america is past due for a mid-air collision. American news doesn't report on large scale disasters/fatalities as much as KNS writes about the loss to kentucky. I know we lost, can't do anything about it. I guess the only solution would be to stop reading their phooey articles. UT's loss to kentucky my mean everything to you, but not me.

Orange_Power_T writes:

in response to givehim6:

In CDD 3 points he want the Vols to learn point #1 and #3 I agree with but #2 no, it is never ok to lose.

Have you ever seen or been around a team that's afraid to lose? I have, in fact coached a team like that. They will make mistakes all the while attempting to be cautious as not to make mistakes. Often they have so much swirling around their head, they're not in the moment. They're tense, meek, timid, all because they are afraid to lose. The Kentucky game was a culmination of an entire season of performing tense and they just quit. The way they lost to KY was unacceptable so I'm not defending them or Dooley. I'm just saying that I think Dooley knows he has to change his approach with these kids. Bear Bryant tactics worked well forty years ago, but times and kids AND culture have changed. I see where Dooley is going with this one and I think it might be a good approach. Time will tell.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to Orange_Power_T:

Have you ever seen or been around a team that's afraid to lose? I have, in fact coached a team like that. They will make mistakes all the while attempting to be cautious as not to make mistakes. Often they have so much swirling around their head, they're not in the moment. They're tense, meek, timid, all because they are afraid to lose. The Kentucky game was a culmination of an entire season of performing tense and they just quit. The way they lost to KY was unacceptable so I'm not defending them or Dooley. I'm just saying that I think Dooley knows he has to change his approach with these kids. Bear Bryant tactics worked well forty years ago, but times and kids AND culture have changed. I see where Dooley is going with this one and I think it might be a good approach. Time will tell.

Agreed. "Now get out there and lets have some fun" is a common phrase in successful prorgams of every sport. Everyone respects Tylers talent but a big part of that is not living in fear of an interception. Confidence and a clear mind can go a long way.

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to seadaddy:

bvol1inSC,
That should shut him up,maybe he will just go away

Maybe!...I've always been outspoken enough to be labeled a troll from time to time...but some of these obvious Vol haters really need to get a life. Would be great if we really knew that all of us (on here) were dyed-in-the-wool, 100% U.T. supporters that have different perspectives vs. knowing that probably 25-50% of the posts are coming from trolls that have never been Vol fans one day in their unfortunate lives!

bvol1inSC writes:

in response to givehim6:

In CDD 3 points he want the Vols to learn point #1 and #3 I agree with but #2 no, it is never ok to lose.

I think he should've said "it's the way you lose." If you lose like we lost against KY...there are many lessons to be learned by me, the coaching staff and the players to insure it never, NEVER happens that way again. On the other hand, if the coaches have worked overtime to prepare, and the players have given 110% effort and "leave it all on the field," and the team simply loses to a better team on that given day, then you still learn what you can from that but you move on to the next game quickly...but the stuff CDD put out there about "ok to lose" was not what I/we needed to see coming from someone that is learning to HC in the SEC "on the fly." Hope Hart schools him again on this.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to givehim6:

In CDD 3 points he want the Vols to learn point #1 and #3 I agree with but #2 no, it is never ok to lose.

Maybe I missed something, but I don't equate "Don't be afraid to lose" with "It's ok to lose".

BleednUrnge81 writes:

Ya know, it would be nice to have a fanbase that as a whole is finally over its spoiled nature from the 1990s. Wins and losses do run in cycles. Tennessee had an albeit small but good recuiting class. We have the pieces in place, our young team is not that young anymore. we have depth and experience. the excuses are over. Another losing season means Derek Dooley will be looking for another job. Even you dooley haters please stick it out with the rest of us. Support our team and stop being negative. I think we beat Florida at our house this year and i think we sweep non conference and give mizzou a rude awakening to neyland stadium. DGB or no DGB. GO VOLS!!!!!!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to BleednUrnge81:

Ya know, it would be nice to have a fanbase that as a whole is finally over its spoiled nature from the 1990s. Wins and losses do run in cycles. Tennessee had an albeit small but good recuiting class. We have the pieces in place, our young team is not that young anymore. we have depth and experience. the excuses are over. Another losing season means Derek Dooley will be looking for another job. Even you dooley haters please stick it out with the rest of us. Support our team and stop being negative. I think we beat Florida at our house this year and i think we sweep non conference and give mizzou a rude awakening to neyland stadium. DGB or no DGB. GO VOLS!!!!!!

Bingo. We will know CDDs abilities by seasons' end. Trolls are trolls but for Vols that just don't like Dooley, now is not the time for your rants. Before it was known for sure at the end of last season- understandable., If we suffer an unacceptable loss this season- understandable. For now, Dooley is "the man" and all the negativity serves no purpose. If you dislike him so much, fine but at least focus on supporting the players. I have my concerns also but there is 0 gain from bashing him at this moment.

rockytopinga writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

Instead of playing video games , he needs to make them watch the KY game each day and then run them until they slobber blood.

Maybe the university should hire you to coach.
I am sure that you would do it for far less money and the results would not or could not be any worse than they are now. If Dooley's answer to the problems of the football team are to play video games together, he has a lot to learn.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to rockytopinga:

Maybe the university should hire you to coach.
I am sure that you would do it for far less money and the results would not or could not be any worse than they are now. If Dooley's answer to the problems of the football team are to play video games together, he has a lot to learn.

This is a team building exercise and has been used by many good programs. I understand that you don't like Dooley but the idea has a sound basis.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to GetSimmsandTeagueout:

Instead of playing video games , he needs to make them watch the KY game each day and then run them until they slobber blood.

Instead of playing Madden, maybe they should be playing the Tennessee vs. Kentucky game over and over again on NCAA 12?

NottaVol writes:

They're going on a field trip to the fire station and slide down the pole and climb on the fire truck on Monday.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to NottaVol:

They're going on a field trip to the fire station and slide down the pole and climb on the fire truck on Monday.

Still, probably more productive than your day. :)

givehim6 writes:

in response to atributetoLombardiwasbanned:

Maybe I missed something, but I don't equate "Don't be afraid to lose" with "It's ok to lose".

Maybe we read it differently and perceive the phrase differenty but when CDD says don't be afraid to lose, it sounds to me like he is saying loseing is OK. but I spent 8 years in severs an am disabled due to it, so loesing to me is not an option.

NottaVol writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Bingo. We will know CDDs abilities by seasons' end. Trolls are trolls but for Vols that just don't like Dooley, now is not the time for your rants. Before it was known for sure at the end of last season- understandable., If we suffer an unacceptable loss this season- understandable. For now, Dooley is "the man" and all the negativity serves no purpose. If you dislike him so much, fine but at least focus on supporting the players. I have my concerns also but there is 0 gain from bashing him at this moment.

I too hope he beats Florida and gets a nice raise and contract extension with a hefty buyout clause, I sure would hate to see him get away.

rockytopinga writes:

in response to NottaVol:

They're going on a field trip to the fire station and slide down the pole and climb on the fire truck on Monday.

Sorry, Monday is tiddly winks day

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to givehim6:

Maybe we read it differently and perceive the phrase differenty but when CDD says don't be afraid to lose, it sounds to me like he is saying loseing is OK. but I spent 8 years in severs an am disabled due to it, so loesing to me is not an option.

Fair enough.
I took it to mean more don't be afraid to compete.
The same way a qb can't let throwing an interception bother him. He needs to learn what (if anything) he did wrong to cause the interception and not repeat the mistake. But he cannot afford to let it make him afraid to throw.

Losing may not be an option, but it is a fact.

Knowing how to deal with it so that the fear of it is not what causes it to happen again is vital.
Every qb will get picked.
Every cb will get burned.
In other words, I think he just meant learn from it and go on to the next play.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to NottaVol:

I too hope he beats Florida and gets a nice raise and contract extension with a hefty buyout clause, I sure would hate to see him get away.

Uh, did you mean to post this as a reply to me? This has absoltely nothing to do with what I said.
If you are just a "nega vol" I understand that you were just replying for the simple need of spewing negativity. If you are something else, I have no idea what your post could have possibly had to do with mine.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to atributetoLombardiwasbanned:

Fair enough.
I took it to mean more don't be afraid to compete.
The same way a qb can't let throwing an interception bother him. He needs to learn what (if anything) he did wrong to cause the interception and not repeat the mistake. But he cannot afford to let it make him afraid to throw.

Losing may not be an option, but it is a fact.

Knowing how to deal with it so that the fear of it is not what causes it to happen again is vital.
Every qb will get picked.
Every cb will get burned.
In other words, I think he just meant learn from it and go on to the next play.

You took it exactly as it was meant, Anyone who reads it differently, they are letting their own negativity cloud their reading abilities.

givehim6 writes:

in response to atributetoLombardiwasbanned:

Fair enough.
I took it to mean more don't be afraid to compete.
The same way a qb can't let throwing an interception bother him. He needs to learn what (if anything) he did wrong to cause the interception and not repeat the mistake. But he cannot afford to let it make him afraid to throw.

Losing may not be an option, but it is a fact.

Knowing how to deal with it so that the fear of it is not what causes it to happen again is vital.
Every qb will get picked.
Every cb will get burned.
In other words, I think he just meant learn from it and go on to the next play.

I guess the sevice does not give people the option to be afraid, the job is there just do it. But we are talking 20-21 year olds, did not mean to sound so cold, I see your point.

Colliervol writes:

If Lame and his recruits were still in town, the video game of choice would be "Grand Theft Auto".

budd#207344 writes:

I'm sorry. Can someone explain to me how this will help the Oline run block better or the D to tackle?

Vol_USArmy_Soldier writes:

How about the weight room instead of the joystick?

tennesseetyler writes:

Do you think on Playstation Da'rick gets punishment for being a head case...Maybe this team should play with the 1998 team..Jamaal Lewis was unstoppable on that game. Maybe they could learn to run the ball

GONAVY writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

sigh

Kind of sums it up

GONAVY writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Fans like you scare me. You actually create a screen name that calls out a couple of young men who are just trying their best. Maybe you're not too happy with your own life. It's one thing to pull for your team, and you might even get a little upset when things aren't going well...but some people just get a little too 'invested' in this whole thing, you know?

Swap out your fear and replace it with pity.

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