Derek Dooley clears the air; asks for patience in hirings

Dooley tells media, fanbase that program is stable

Losing games, losing coaches, losing players, losing recruits. Derek Dooley wants to reassure Tennessee football fans he isn't losing focus.

In his first visit with the media in the 37 days since the 10-7 loss at Kentucky, Dooley on Tuesday addressed a number of troubling topics — and reiterated what he considers some positive ones.

The latest stress for UT fans is the departure of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, who left for similar positions at the University of Washington.

Eric Russell's vacancy also has yet to be filled.

"Like any coaching change, we'll use it as an opportunity to get better,'' Dooley said.

"We're in the early stages of the search to get the right fit.''

The 2012 recruiting class lost two junior-college commitments before Christmas and two prep commitments since the new year.

Freshman receiver DeAnthony Arnett, one of the prizes of the 2011 class, has been released to transfer closer to home in Michigan.

Another receiver on everyone's mind, All-SEC sophomore Da'Rick Rogers, has not been suspended and "is fine," Dooley said.

As for the public angst since the disheartening loss to Kentucky ended the season, Dooley said it was "fair" for passionate fans to have questions.

"It's understandable why there could be a perception that it's not good right now,'' Dooley said. "But I'm not concerned at all about what's real.

"Because what's real is this program has been put in the last 22 months on as good a foundation as we could ever do.

"I can only control what goes on inside the building. I think if you talk to Justin and Peter and Eric and DeAnthony, they'll all feel the same way, that we're doing the right things, we're heading in the right direction and success is going to come and the worst is behind us.''

What's immediately ahead is hiring coaches and solidifying recruits.

Dooley said he has had "a lot of conversations with a lot of people,'' but that he won't rush a hire.

He praised the contributions of the four departed assistants and said bringing former Vol Jay Graham aboard as running backs coach was a "no-brainer.''

The new defensive coordinator should be aware of the challenges of the SEC, but Dooley otherwise didn't want to limit his options. Among names mentioned by various media outlets are Kevin Steele, the Clemson coordinator who is a former UT player and assistant coach, and former Miami head coach Randy Shannon.

"It's Tennessee,'' Dooley said. "It's unbelievable the amount of interest coaches have in wanting to come here.

"They understand it's a great time to come to Tennessee, certainly a much better time than it was two years ago when we came to Tennessee.

"All the coaches know that, especially on the defensive side. We finished 28th in the country on defense, we've got nine starters returning, we got a great midyear signee (tackle Darrington Sentimore) to boot. That's appealing.''

Dooley said he has never been more excited about an offseason and that conversations with players indicate leadership and team chemistry should be on the uptick as the roster becomes more mature.

Included in those conversations is quarterback Tyler Bray, who has taken considerable public heat since the Kentucky loss for a perceived lack of total commitment.

"He was crushed after the game,'' Dooley said. "We had probably a two-hour talk a few days after, just reflecting, and it was an awesome dialogue.

"Adversity sharpens your focus and allows you to acknowledge some things you need to work on.

"It's going to help us as coaches, it's going to help Tyler and it's going to help a lot of our players.''

With national signing day about a month away, locking down some of Bray's future teammates is paramount. Coaching transitions make it more difficult, but are an annual event.

Dooley has been personally delivering that message to recruits.

"The important thing is Tennessee hasn't changed,'' he said.

"The things they fell in love with when they got here and saw it, how we're running the program, what we've done the last 22 months, the new facility, the support, the game-day excitement, none of that has changed.

"We have the resources and the attraction that's going to get some high quality coaches. ... Just stay patient.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 222

Ironcity writes:

I noticed he didn't say ask Charlie. I hope coach is right because searching for another coach around this time of year gets old.

CincyOhVol writes:

The worst will be behind us once Dooley is fired.

Olcrow writes:

Stay tuned Volfans the trolls will be here in 3,2,1

CincyOhVol writes:

in response to Olcrow:

Stay tuned Volfans the trolls will be here in 3,2,1

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

torchbearer writes:

So what coaching hires do we need to make?

DC
LB
What else? QB, TE, SPT? I am confused on what Chaney is taking over and what we still need.

D60 writes:

Just one big ugly joke,Hamiton is still laughing at what he left us with in Football and Basketball

pingkr62 writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

If that is the case, then if Tennessee were to resurrect Bear Bryant, Bob Neyland, Knute Rockne, Vince Lombardi, Pop Warner, Amos Alonzo Staggs, Wallace Wade, and any other legendary coach, Cry babies like you and all the other TT Babies would whine and bi@#h that Tennessee hired a bunch of losers. G.B.O.!!!

drum56 writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

I guess i'm one of those guys too! GBO!!! Do you really like being in the Legion of Miserables?

jandjhome#228397 writes:

What kind of a coach would like to for Dooley.Answer - Not much of one.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

Im not worried, Dooley will get it done, the problem is I don't think we won't give him enough time. I don't know what vol fans want? If you want to blame someone, blame kiffin and hamilton. They are the ones that have royally screwed this program. Dooley is one of the guys trying to fix it. It is going to take time vol fans. The problem is we have become such a liberal society that we want everything now, and results take time. The last thing this program needs is more instability. So changing coaches will only make things worse. Dooley isn't the best coach out there, but maybe one day he can grow and turn into one. He is still young versus saban, spurrier, miles; they are 20 years older than dooley. The most important thing is that we have a coach that is 100 percent committed to this program.

NashvillePreds writes:

1.) The best foundation you could "possibly lay" in 22 months equates to 11 wins. Therein lies the major problem.
2.) If hiring a running back coach was a "no brainer," then why was one not hired when Tauren Poole could not acquire a first down, and close out the Music City Bowl?
3.) You do realize Darin Hinshaw coached under Andy McCollum, correct?
I can't imagine why he hasn't been hired away...

pingkr62 writes:

in response to jandjhome#228397:

What kind of a coach would like to for Dooley.Answer - Not much of one.

Say WHAAATTT!!

vol18108 writes:

I've supported Dooley from the beginning and still do but its time for some RESULTS . So if "It's unbelievable the amount of interest coaches have in wanting to come here.

Get us a HOMERUN DC PLEASE !

pingkr62 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Im not worried, Dooley will get it done, the problem is I don't think we won't give him enough time. I don't know what vol fans want? If you want to blame someone, blame kiffin and hamilton. They are the ones that have royally screwed this program. Dooley is one of the guys trying to fix it. It is going to take time vol fans. The problem is we have become such a liberal society that we want everything now, and results take time. The last thing this program needs is more instability. So changing coaches will only make things worse. Dooley isn't the best coach out there, but maybe one day he can grow and turn into one. He is still young versus saban, spurrier, miles; they are 20 years older than dooley. The most important thing is that we have a coach that is 100 percent committed to this program.

Good post. I would have to add Phil Fulmer to the mix of Kiffin and Hamilton. As for the liberal society, I like to refer to them (the hopelessly negative) as the Jerry Springer generation. They have no idea what patience is, and want it all RIGHT NOW!!

LibertyVolance writes:

I've known for some long time that patience is a real virtue. We have some opponents who troll this site under various "vol" usernames that undoubtedly are praying that Dooley fails and UT fails. Don't be discouraged or fooled by these detractors. The future outlook is positive, much more positive than prior to his arrival. Dooley is a steadying influence and has represented the university well. Fans want immediate success and it requires more time than 2 recruiting seasons. If recruiting of the 2012 class is another good one, we will see more depth than we've had in recent memory and make the next football season much less painful and much more promising. I remain positive and I think genuine Vol fans remain positive as well. No genuine Volunteer wants Dooley to fail because it means we all fail. Stay positive in your outlook and positive results follow.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

Don't worry about us, junior, just keep the bib tied securely around your neck. You whiners drool a lot.

JCBakes writes:

I would like to ask all the Dooley haters if they truly believe he has underachieved the last two years, based on what he was given. Because he was handed a complete mess.

Again, I will remind everyone that this upcoming year is the year everyone was pointing to. Everyone knew year one and two would be very rough.

acknowledgment writes:

How is it "clearing the air" when you end the press conference with more questions than answers?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

I've known for some long time that patience is a real virtue. We have some opponents who troll this site under various "vol" usernames that undoubtedly are praying that Dooley fails and UT fails. Don't be discouraged or fooled by these detractors. The future outlook is positive, much more positive than prior to his arrival. Dooley is a steadying influence and has represented the university well. Fans want immediate success and it requires more time than 2 recruiting seasons. If recruiting of the 2012 class is another good one, we will see more depth than we've had in recent memory and make the next football season much less painful and much more promising. I remain positive and I think genuine Vol fans remain positive as well. No genuine Volunteer wants Dooley to fail because it means we all fail. Stay positive in your outlook and positive results follow.

Great post! Thank you! G.B.O.!!!

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Good post. I would have to add Phil Fulmer to the mix of Kiffin and Hamilton. As for the liberal society, I like to refer to them (the hopelessly negative) as the Jerry Springer generation. They have no idea what patience is, and want it all RIGHT NOW!!

William Safire referred to them as the "nattering nabobs of negativity".

pingkr62 writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

William Safire referred to them as the "nattering nabobs of negativity".

I guess that makes them the N.N.N. There are a lot of very descriptive words that start with "N" NINCOMPOOP, NEANDERTHAL, NAUSEOUS, NINNY. Maybe others can add to this list.

Halls3 writes:

in response to JCBakes:

I would like to ask all the Dooley haters if they truly believe he has underachieved the last two years, based on what he was given. Because he was handed a complete mess.

Again, I will remind everyone that this upcoming year is the year everyone was pointing to. Everyone knew year one and two would be very rough.

Losing to UK without a QB is the definition of underachievement.

nomietn#281095 writes:

in response to JCBakes:

I would like to ask all the Dooley haters if they truly believe he has underachieved the last two years, based on what he was given. Because he was handed a complete mess.

Again, I will remind everyone that this upcoming year is the year everyone was pointing to. Everyone knew year one and two would be very rough.

Once I was flying with four friends on a private twin engine plane. The pilot became ill mid-flight and passed out. None of us really knew the details of flying the plane, but Jerry's father had been a pilot making him our choice to try to land us safely. Unfortunately we crashed. Years later, when reliving the horror of that occasion, I was asked if Jerry underachieved, and I said "no, in fact he overachieved. He did his best, but he just didn't know how to fly an airplane".

Vols20 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Im not worried, Dooley will get it done, the problem is I don't think we won't give him enough time. I don't know what vol fans want? If you want to blame someone, blame kiffin and hamilton. They are the ones that have royally screwed this program. Dooley is one of the guys trying to fix it. It is going to take time vol fans. The problem is we have become such a liberal society that we want everything now, and results take time. The last thing this program needs is more instability. So changing coaches will only make things worse. Dooley isn't the best coach out there, but maybe one day he can grow and turn into one. He is still young versus saban, spurrier, miles; they are 20 years older than dooley. The most important thing is that we have a coach that is 100 percent committed to this program.

Nice post. I agree with you 100% my friend.

silicon28 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Im not worried, Dooley will get it done, the problem is I don't think we won't give him enough time. I don't know what vol fans want? If you want to blame someone, blame kiffin and hamilton. They are the ones that have royally screwed this program. Dooley is one of the guys trying to fix it. It is going to take time vol fans. The problem is we have become such a liberal society that we want everything now, and results take time. The last thing this program needs is more instability. So changing coaches will only make things worse. Dooley isn't the best coach out there, but maybe one day he can grow and turn into one. He is still young versus saban, spurrier, miles; they are 20 years older than dooley. The most important thing is that we have a coach that is 100 percent committed to this program.

I couldn't agree more: Both with your thoughts on Dooley getting there, and with the truth that too many hanging out here won't given him the time he needs. Those totally committed to killing Dooley, talk to me in two years; we didn't get here from 1998 overnight.

usnavyvol writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

Let me chime in here...It's called loyalty, to the University, the players and coaches. So spit ur negative comments some place else.

BolivrBob writes:

Didn't they already print this article?

born2ride writes:

Are we still in YEAR ZERO?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Halls3:

Losing to UK without a QB is the definition of underachievement.

It appears you, and the rest of the cry babies are focusing all of your infinite wisdom on what Dooley has done the last two years, and what the great Pumpkin did 13 years ago. For those of you who don't know, Tennessee has fielded football teams since the early 1890's and believe it or not, there have been lean years before 2008-2011. And like always, Tennessee has come back and shown the entire world of college football, that Tennessee is, has, and will always be a program that wins far more games than they lose. All anyone has to do is look beyond the end of their nose. G.B.O.!!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Are we still in YEAR ZERO?

Yes, YEAR ZERO, MORON! Did you fall off your mo-ped without your helmet?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you rent or loan your all seeing, all knowing crystal ball?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Go Big Orange. Go Vols. Stay on track Dooley.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

While you do your best Barack H. Obama impersonation in the White House. ALL IS LOST!!! ALL IS LOST!!!

Prostar writes:

In response to Halls3 I'd say losing to Wyoming when we did have a quarterback was underachieving. Remember Phil playing not to lose? How did that play out for Georgia the other day? They blew a 7 point lead and lost in OT. Yes, we're going to lose some commits, that's just the nature of the beast. Especially since you can only sign 25, and just signing that many doesn't insure that all 25 qualify so you better do your due diligence and get it right or else you'll be woefully understaffed. Do things always go my way, no, but I still support my school. Are there things I don't like, yes, but I can't change them and neither can any of you so instead of always posting negative comments try to be supportive because you can't change them any more than I can.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Haahahhhaaaahhha Bbbuuuwahhhhhyhahahahahuh? Thou doest Trolleth well and art much the funny man. I laugh at thee oh funny one as thou art good at making not sense.

Surely thou knowest that loyalty and thine patience is required for this matter?
Thou art surely a Troll as thou spelled everything with capital letters with the exception of the t in Tennessee. A fan in truth would make surety that he hath used a capital t in Tennessee.
Go Biggeth Orange.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to born2ride:

Are we still in YEAR ZERO?

No but you are a zero

jobrando#216494 writes:

Dang, I thought this article was about hiring coaches and not just bashing Dooley. We need a big name DC to keep from dropping below sunk. Is that going to be Kevin Steele or Shannon? I guess if it's Steele we want know until Thursday after Clemson's bowl game.

GloryDays writes:

in response to D60:

Just one big ugly joke,Hamiton is still laughing at what he left us with in Football and Basketball

Wrong. He is still too busy counting the money he stole from the Univ. of Tennessee.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"the Dooley ship has all but sunken"
And English you've all but flunken.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

What has gotten into the water in East Tennessee? In summation, many non-fans want 1) get rid of Dooley and 2) invite a "big name" coach (who will get a ticket speeding to Knoxville) to take us to Glory Land.

Let's look at a couple of examples: Coach Belicheat, of the Patriots would have mumbled ten words at such a press conference...and told those gathered to shove it. That, and he was a loser before he got to New England. The (perceived) great John Majors had 9 of his 16 years with 7 wins...or less. Neyland had lean years...and the natives rumbled. Oh yeah; Doug Dickey was a young assistant at Arkansas..when he was given a chance.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion but not their facts. No BCS winning bowl coach would come to Tennessee now and those wanting some mythical "big name" could not name a big name that would be interested.

Further, what coach in his right mind would want to represent a school, supposedly "supported" by the likes of many posting here. Look in the mirror; would you work for you?

Dooley will be fine, as will our program, if given a reasonable chance. Two years out of one hundred plus...is nothing; sadly, few know or care what has happened over those years...and how success comes about. It has never been a guarantee nor occurs every year.

Classof72 writes:

"The important thing is Tennessee hasn't changed," (Dooley) said.

(Insert punch line here.)

YSC writes:

Who negotiated Dooleys Contract ?

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Honestly, Dooley could hire a ballerina to coach our wide receivers and guys like you would support him.

Hart could hire Nick Saban and guys like you would want Hume fired after the first loss or coaching loss.

blackoutcuffem1592 writes:

I believe in Derek Dooley. Not a coach in this nation could have done anything about the terrible luck the Vols had this year with injury and the toughest schedule in the nation. This is a rebuilding project. We get an easier schedule, our key players back healthy, and still a good recruiting class next year. Just have faith

volaholic45 writes:

All in all, a positive presser that should help calm things down a bit, and may help stop the bleeding as signing day looms.

Mostly lies, of course, but still helpful.

BTW, Coach, I've been here longer than you have. Maybe nothing's changed since you got here, but things have definitely changed at Tennessee.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to skyhawk836:

"the Dooley ship has all but sunken"
And English you've all but flunken.

Now that's funny..I don't care what anybody says. The dude of many names constantly posts on here and you can tell that he's barely literate though he can spell Phil well enough. We will get the right hire and finish with a good recruiting class. Next year we will go 8-4 or even 9-3 and get a nice bowl invitation. Meanwhile this moron will claim we should have won 10. Anyway..good to see a lot of the loyal Vol fans giving CDD the support he needs. VFL!

deputy658 writes:

Does anyone know anything for sure about Santos? Someone on here posted that he was gone but he was in a picture today with other UT committs at the UA game practice and he said he still loves UT ,no matter what. Does anyone know for sure? Who are the two JUCO committs that the article says backed out , as I have not been able to find anything on them ?
On another more positive note, if you get the chance go to the UTsports.com website and take a virtual tour of the new football traing complex, it is awesome and when it is finished it will greatly enhance the ability of UT to recruit top talent. GO VOLS!!!!!

RemembertheAlamo writes:

Isn't it about time we bought Kevin Steele home to the Vols as DC?

jschariter#367312 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Good post. I would have to add Phil Fulmer to the mix of Kiffin and Hamilton. As for the liberal society, I like to refer to them (the hopelessly negative) as the Jerry Springer generation. They have no idea what patience is, and want it all RIGHT NOW!!

See what Brady Hoke has done in only one year at Michigan. A BCS bowl bid. MI was 7 and 6 last year. 3 and 9 Three years ago. All kinds of issues with Rich Rodriquez. The program was in trouble big time. Shows you what a coach can do with the right skills.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to jschariter#367312:

See what Brady Hoke has done in only one year at Michigan. A BCS bowl bid. MI was 7 and 6 last year. 3 and 9 Three years ago. All kinds of issues with Rich Rodriquez. The program was in trouble big time. Shows you what a coach can do with the right skills.

Good grief, you hyperventilaters are precious.
That Michigan program is in year 4 of a rebuilding project.
Lloyd Carr got complacent like our coach did, talent level got so low they lost to Appy State. Carr left, Rich Rod got fired, and Hoke is coaching his kids.
Nothing is done in a year.

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