John Adams: Past recruiting disasters still plague Vols

John Adams

Vols struggle to overcome 2008, 2009 recruiting

Tennessee’s season-ending football loss to Kentucky ranks as one of the worst games in recent school history.

The defeat cost the Vols bowl eligibility and a chance at a winning record. It also left many fans questioning whether second-year coach Derek Dooley was capable of turning around a program that has suffered three losing seasons in the last four years.

The defeat to an opponent UT had beaten 26 consecutive times was generally blamed on uninspired play and questionable game management. In fact, it was a couple of years in the making.

UT’s 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes reflect what Dooley and his staff are up against. The player attrition — resulting, in part, from two head-coaching changes — has been stunning.

The 2008 class was signed by former coach Phillip Fulmer. The 2009 class was signed by his successor, former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin.

So far, the two classes have produced two second-team All-SEC players but no first-teamers. Tennessee fans can at least be grateful a handful of fifth-year seniors from the 2008 class are still available to bolster the 2012 depth chart.

Of the 22 signees in 2009, only eight remain on the team.

2008

E.J. Abrams-Ward — Rated as the No. 1 college prospect in North Carolina, he never played at UT. The four-star wide receiver was redshirted as a freshman, then dismissed for disciplinary reasons.

Carson Anderson — A first-team Alabama all-state offensive lineman, he has played sparingly but still has a year of eligibility remaining.

Preston Bailey — The No. 6 prospect on the News Sentinel’s top-25 list didn’t play in his only year at UT. The offensive lineman left the team after his freshman season.

Ben Bartholomew — The News Sentinel’s No. 12 prospect, he became a starter at fullback in 2011 and will be back as a fifth-year senior.

Willie Bohannon — An honorable mention all-stater from Alabama, he cracked the starting lineup at defensive end in 2011 and will return next season as a fifth-year senior.

Aaron Douglas One of the top signees in the class, the all-state tight end from Maryville switched to offensive tackle at UT and started as a redshirt freshman. He later transferred to junior college before enrolling at Alabama.

Douglas died of a drug overdose last spring.

Steven Fowlkes — An all-state wide receiver from Georgia, he was moved to the defensive line, where he played sparingly. He was academically ineligible last season but is listed on the UT 2012 roster as a fifth-year senior.

Montori Hughes — A lightly regarded signee from Murfreesboro, he didn’t enroll at UT until 2009. He showed flashes of potential as a starting defensive tackle in 2010 but was criticized by his coaches for a lack of consistency.

He was dismissed from the team last summer.

Austin Johnson — An all-stater from North Carolina, he started out as a fullback under Kiffin before switching to linebacker, where he became UT’s leading tackler last season as a senior. He also led the Vols in interceptions.

Casey Kelly — The Vols lost out on the quarterback signee from Sarasota, Fla., when the right-handed pitcher was taken in the first round of the major league baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox. Kelly was later traded to San Diego in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox before the 2011 season.

Kelly had an 11-6 record in Class AA last season and is considered one of the Padres’ top pitching prospects.

Herman Lathers — An all-stater from Baton Rouge, La., he started 12 games for the Vols as a sophomore linebacker in 2010 but missed last season with a fractured ankle. If healthy, he could start in 2012 as a fifth-year senior.

Tauren Poole — The former Georgia high school running back led the Vols in rushing the last two seasons. He has been invited to next month’s NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Stephaun Raines — The all-state wide receiver from Dalton, Ga., originally signed with the Vols in 2006 before enrolling at Coffeyville Community College. He played as a backup defensive back in 2009 and 2010 but was dismissed from the team before the 2011 season.

Dallas Thomas — The Baton Rouge recruit likely will start more games than anyone in the class. The Louisiana all-stater has started the last two seasons at offensive tackle and will return in 2012 as a redshirt senior.

Prentiss Waggner — Another Louisiana recruit who has contributed significantly to the Vols. He made second-team All-SEC as a redshirt sophomore in 2010 and has played cornerback, safety and nickel back.

He will return for his third season as a starter in 2012.

Rod Wilks — A two-time all-state wide receiver at Smyrna, he has played both wide receiver and defensive back at UT. He had his most productive season in 2011 with 26 tackles, including two for losses.

The two-time letterman will be a fifth-year senior in 2012.

Gerald Williams — A junior college transfer who originally signed with the Vols in 2005, he switched from linebacker to defense end. He led the team with 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss as a senior in 2010.

2009

Jerod Askew — Rated as the nation’s sixth-best linebacker by one recruiting service, he was redshirted in 2009 and didn’t play in 2010. He was dismissed from the program after the 2010 season.

Bryce Brown — The crown jewel of Kiffin’s class, the consensus high school All-American running back was rated as the No. 1 overall prospect in the country. The Vols got more publicity than yardage out of him.

He rushed for 460 yards as a freshman, then quit the team. He later transferred to Kansas State but quit that program as well.

He has since declared for the 2012 NFL draft.

Mike Edwards — The Ohio cornerback had an impressive preseason camp as a freshman but was dismissed from the team a few months later after his alleged involvement in an attempted armed robbery.

Eric Gordon — An all-state cornerback from Nashville, he started six games in 2010 after being redshirted in 2009. Last season as a backup, he established himself as a playmaker with five tackles for loss and two interceptions, which he returned for 107 yards.

He will be a candidate for the nickel-back position in 2012.

James Green — The wide receiver from Tallahassee, Fla., signed with Tennessee but never enrolled because of an academic issue.

Daniel Hood — The all-stater from Knoxville Catholic started out as an undersized offensive linemen before switching to defense. He bulked up to over 290 pounds and became a valued contributor on UT’s defensive front.

He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Janzen Jackson — The consensus high school All-American defensive back from Lake Charles, La., became a starting safety as a freshman and made second-team All-SEC as a sophomore. Plagued by off-the-field issues, he was dismissed from the team before last season and subsequently transferred to McNeese State.

Like Brown, he has declared for the NFL draft.

Arthur Jeffery — A second-team Florida all-state defensive tackle, he seldom played at UT and will not return for the 2012 season.

Greg King — The Memphis linebacker was the No. 9 prospect on the News Sentinel’s in-state list. He started two games in 2009 but suffered a season-ending knee injury four games into his sophomore year.

He underwent minor knee surgery after last season and will return for his senior season in 2012.

Nigel Mitchell-Thornton — A linebacker from Georgia, he has lettered three seasons. He will be a senior in 2012.

Darren Myles — A consensus top-10 defensive back from Atlanta, he showed promise as a freshman safety but was dismissed from the team before the 2010 season after his second arrest.

Robert Nelson — An all-state linebacker from Georgia, he couldn’t get on the field for the Vols. He was one of six players who left the team before the spring semester.

David Oku — Rated the No. 1 overall all-purpose back by Rivals.com, the Oklahoma running back rushed for 268 yards in two seasons. He quit the team after his sophomore year.

Naz Oliver — A third-team all-state running back in New Jersey, he was redshirted his first year and has been injured the last two seasons.

Converted to defensive back at UT, he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Kevin Revis — A top-20 in-state prospect, he redshirted in his first season and played in one game in 2010. He transferred to Chattanooga before the 2011 season.

Nu’Keese Richardson — The high school quarterback from Pahokee, Fla., played as a freshman wide receiver before he was dismissed in November for his alleged involvement in an attempted armed robbery.

Zach Rogers — The 2008 Mr. Football for Class 3A at David Lipscomb High School, he has had 14 pass receptions each of the last two seasons. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

JerQuari Schofield — Rated as the No. 11 prospect in South Carolina, he started five games at offensive guard as a redshirt freshman in 2010. He lost his starting job in 2011 and is no longer on the team because of academic issues but still enrolled in school.

Rae Sykes — A junior college transfer, he was a three-time all-stater at Alcoa. He played both defensive end and tackle at UT, where he had eight tackles in 2010.

Marsalis Teague — Tennessee’s No. 4 prospect and 4A Mr. Football, he played quarterback for Henry County High School but moved to wide receiver as a freshman at UT. He will enter the 2012 season with 21 career starts — five as a freshman wide receiver and 16 as a cornerback — the last two seasons.

Marlon Walls — A first-team all-state linebacker from Mississippi, he grew into a defensive lineman in college. Walls played in seven games as a freshman, missed the 2010 season with an Achilles injury but started four games last season. Walls, who had a sack and four tackles for loss, has two years of eligibility remaining.

Toney Williams — Rated as the No. 4 fullback in the 2009 recruiting class, he was an all-state running back in Georgia. He suffered multiple injuries in two seasons at UT, where he carried the ball just five times. He transferred to Ball State before the 2011 season.

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 » 85

Clarkrm0706 writes:

Well, when you put it like that.

FWBVol writes:

Very imformative column, if only John hadn't mentioned the Kentucky game.

It still shows all the nay sayers what CDD inherited and the uphill battle he faced. It's interesting that we will have almost as many Fulmer recruits/players on the 2012 team as we do the guys Kiffin brought in.

This year will reveal a lot about the future CDD has at UT. An 8-4 year and a mid level bowl should buy him another year or two, and I think that's very possible.

asleep#212036 writes:

And those are the two classes that Dooley has had to anchor his team on! A Chattanooga-Times article earlier in the year stated that of the 31 4- and 5-star athletes signed by Fulmer and Kiffin from 2007 through 2009, only 3 - that's right, 3! - ever started and produced consistently. Wow! That might work in other places but not in the SEC. Dooley should get hazardous duty pay for taking the HC job to start with, given the upper-class talent (or stunning lack thereof) he had to work with. It's no surprise that Hamilton wasn't able to get his A-list coaching choices to sign the dotted line. The only surprise is how many people who post here, even after they read this article, will blame the past two seasons on Dooley and his staff. Mind-boggling. Go Vols!!!

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

And those are the two classes that Dooley has had to anchor his team on! A Chattanooga-Times article earlier in the year stated that of the 31 4- and 5-star athletes signed by Fulmer and Kiffin from 2007 through 2009, only 3 - that's right, 3! - ever started and produced consistently. Wow! That might work in other places but not in the SEC. Dooley should get hazardous duty pay for taking the HC job to start with, given the upper-class talent (or stunning lack thereof) he had to work with. It's no surprise that Hamilton wasn't able to get his A-list coaching choices to sign the dotted line. The only surprise is how many people who post here, even after they read this article, will blame the past two seasons on Dooley and his staff. Mind-boggling. Go Vols!!!

Ok asleep, let me start with saying that I am no Dooley hater (check my posts if you wish) but I have seen one question from the haters that the Dooley supporters haven't answered. You seem to be an honest person, so if you don't mind...
I don't blame/hate/disrespect Dooley. I understand what he has had to work with and hope he turns out to be the guy that returns UT to a top tier program BUT(sorry but here is the tough question) What has Dooley done or shown that makes so many completely confident that he is that good?. Don't get me wrong, I hope he is but as for now, I can't say for sure. I know the haters reasoning, they wanted to win now!(impossible but I know why they feel the way they do). Complete believers however, have never told anyone how they know for sure DD is so good. Thanks in advance. :)

VolinCalif writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Very imformative column, if only John hadn't mentioned the Kentucky game.

It still shows all the nay sayers what CDD inherited and the uphill battle he faced. It's interesting that we will have almost as many Fulmer recruits/players on the 2012 team as we do the guys Kiffin brought in.

This year will reveal a lot about the future CDD has at UT. An 8-4 year and a mid level bowl should buy him another year or two, and I think that's very possible.

9 - 3 + a bowl.
Bank on it

wildmed writes:

Sounds like the "perfect storm" to me, hardly a basis for blaming Fulmer for the Vols' current fortunes, which many still do.

Tacamo01 writes:

The Vol's IMO with the new staff will have a winning season. 9-3, or 8-4. CDD inherited a mess and a lot of folks expected a fast turn around. Just can't happen that fast. He comes from a family of winners in football. His father at Georgia and uncle at NC. I think he should be given a chance to at least compete with players he and staff recruit.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to wildmed:

Sounds like the "perfect storm" to me, hardly a basis for blaming Fulmer for the Vols' current fortunes, which many still do.

"A Series of Unfortunate Events" LOL. Still, kinda the truth.

wildmed writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Ok asleep, let me start with saying that I am no Dooley hater (check my posts if you wish) but I have seen one question from the haters that the Dooley supporters haven't answered. You seem to be an honest person, so if you don't mind...
I don't blame/hate/disrespect Dooley. I understand what he has had to work with and hope he turns out to be the guy that returns UT to a top tier program BUT(sorry but here is the tough question) What has Dooley done or shown that makes so many completely confident that he is that good?. Don't get me wrong, I hope he is but as for now, I can't say for sure. I know the haters reasoning, they wanted to win now!(impossible but I know why they feel the way they do). Complete believers however, have never told anyone how they know for sure DD is so good. Thanks in advance. :)

Spot-on post - Dooley may be the nicest guy who ever showed up in Knoxville, but his track record at two schools where he's been the head man has been zilch. Other than his glib dialogue, what is it about this fellow that inspiresd so much confidence?

dvols writes:

dang, zach didn't graduate?

oldster writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Ok asleep, let me start with saying that I am no Dooley hater (check my posts if you wish) but I have seen one question from the haters that the Dooley supporters haven't answered. You seem to be an honest person, so if you don't mind...
I don't blame/hate/disrespect Dooley. I understand what he has had to work with and hope he turns out to be the guy that returns UT to a top tier program BUT(sorry but here is the tough question) What has Dooley done or shown that makes so many completely confident that he is that good?. Don't get me wrong, I hope he is but as for now, I can't say for sure. I know the haters reasoning, they wanted to win now!(impossible but I know why they feel the way they do). Complete believers however, have never told anyone how they know for sure DD is so good. Thanks in advance. :)

I would like to respond by using an analogy. Can one tell how good an architech is by looking at the foundation he designs and builds? I do not think so. Dooley has been doing this by brining in solid players who will stay and be steady, if not always, brilliant contributors. One cannot judge an architech until the finishing touches are done. The same with Dooley. One must have patience to judge either.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

johnboy your a disaster waiting to happen...

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to oldster:

I would like to respond by using an analogy. Can one tell how good an architech is by looking at the foundation he designs and builds? I do not think so. Dooley has been doing this by brining in solid players who will stay and be steady, if not always, brilliant contributors. One cannot judge an architech until the finishing touches are done. The same with Dooley. One must have patience to judge either.

You posted that as if I had said Dooley wasn't a great coach. That is not what I said at all. I HOPE he is and am looking for confirmation. Many on here post as if they know something about him that the rest of us do not. While I will support ALL UT coaches, I just wish to know the secret of those that say " Dooley is the man".

fairwaysngreens writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Ok asleep, let me start with saying that I am no Dooley hater (check my posts if you wish) but I have seen one question from the haters that the Dooley supporters haven't answered. You seem to be an honest person, so if you don't mind...
I don't blame/hate/disrespect Dooley. I understand what he has had to work with and hope he turns out to be the guy that returns UT to a top tier program BUT(sorry but here is the tough question) What has Dooley done or shown that makes so many completely confident that he is that good?. Don't get me wrong, I hope he is but as for now, I can't say for sure. I know the haters reasoning, they wanted to win now!(impossible but I know why they feel the way they do). Complete believers however, have never told anyone how they know for sure DD is so good. Thanks in advance. :)

Great question. I am a Dooley supporter based soley at the moment on this fact; He has brought some order back to a program that seemed to be running head first to sanctions and being the laughing stock of the country. The NCAA problems have subsided pretty substantially so far. There also seems to be a new "respect" for the program based on Dooley himself to an extent, but probably mostly because he is the anti-(insert previous coach's name here). That being said I agree with you on wanting to see some "on-the-field" results. Obviously he has had very little to work with, and I am hoping this is the cause for the results we have seen. The next 2 years, (if allowed 2 more years) will show if he is the man for the job long term or not. There must begin to be improvement in the players signed, the play on the field, and the results in the win/loss column. Will it be instant, absolutely not. Does it need to begin starting this year, definately. Based on the column above, it is unfair to judge Dooley and his staff based on these two years, but I believe beginning this coming season we will better see the direction and be able to make judgements, one way or another.

wigmeister writes:

Recruiting over that time was a disaster. Seem to be bringing in more solid players. Like the new coaches added. I like to look at the positives, and I see more now than three and four years ago. Change takes time.

torchbearer writes:

It is amazing to me that we can even field a complete team and win any games in the SEC. When I think on this and realize that we should have beat LSU and UNC 2 yrs ago and should have beat UK this year and gone to a bowl, I am impressed by what Dooley is doing. He has recruited nicely and we should start seeing better teams over the next 3 yrs.

"One that beareth a torch standeth in shadow to give light to others"

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to fairwaysngreens:

Great question. I am a Dooley supporter based soley at the moment on this fact; He has brought some order back to a program that seemed to be running head first to sanctions and being the laughing stock of the country. The NCAA problems have subsided pretty substantially so far. There also seems to be a new "respect" for the program based on Dooley himself to an extent, but probably mostly because he is the anti-(insert previous coach's name here). That being said I agree with you on wanting to see some "on-the-field" results. Obviously he has had very little to work with, and I am hoping this is the cause for the results we have seen. The next 2 years, (if allowed 2 more years) will show if he is the man for the job long term or not. There must begin to be improvement in the players signed, the play on the field, and the results in the win/loss column. Will it be instant, absolutely not. Does it need to begin starting this year, definately. Based on the column above, it is unfair to judge Dooley and his staff based on these two years, but I believe beginning this coming season we will better see the direction and be able to make judgements, one way or another.

Thank you for a honest and real judgement. I love the integrity DD has brought and hope results on the field will follow. I am not going to lie, I thought we should have beaten KY and curse the day of "Too many men on the field" against LSU. I can pass these off as a young coach with a bright future. I really just want to know why those with 110% confidence,feel so.?

twicevolalum writes:

Yet another article by John Adams to stick it to Phillip Fulmer one more time. So, exactly what is it, John, with the Vol football program? You (the media) let Dooley get away with hiding behind "this a young team" rhetoric for the entire season when the reality is by the end of Dooley's second season with a largely freshman and sophomore team, his players had started as much as juniors and seniors on most other squads! Is Dooley's seat getting a little too hot for your comfort, John, so you had to go write a chill piece for Dooley? Most young men don't like making a major coaching change from one coach to the next, they especially don't like to do it twice! The coaches hate dealing with players that aren't their own, as we saw with so many players leaving or getting kicked off the team. So, are you writing yet another piece judging the productivity of a coach who was fired 3.25 years ago based on a small group of athletes who stayed at Tennessee and played under 3 different coaches?

Tacamo01 writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it is because he recruited the players winning right now. He got a chance to coach in the SEC like his father and jumped on it. He left behind a good program which is what you want in a new coach. (Is the program in better shape than when he took over? That is what AD's are looking for in good coaches)

CroKev writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

Thank you for a honest and real judgement. I love the integrity DD has brought and hope results on the field will follow. I am not going to lie, I thought we should have beaten KY and curse the day of "Too many men on the field" against LSU. I can pass these off as a young coach with a bright future. I really just want to know why those with 110% confidence,feel so.?

Clark, I don't know who the people are whom you consider 110% confident that Dooley is the guy. You might consider me one of them based on past posts. I don't see anybody expressing this kind of confidence. What I and others see, though, is the trainwreck Dooley inherited and what he has done to turn it around.

First, his recruiting has been phenomenal despite beginning with a joke of a dilapidated roster, brand new coaches, new coaches again, losing record, etc., etc. I think the guy has worked his tail off to recruit great coaches and players and DESERVES (that will garner a comment or two!) the chance to see the fruit of his effort.

Second, he has changed the mentality of UT football from a bunch of punks to men who are to represent their University well on and off the field (e.g., VFL, running the stadium where the fans who pay to watch them will sit, community involvement, etc.).

Third, yes, we could have been a little luckier and beaten LSU and UNC a couple of years ago but we didn't. This year would have been a lot different with all our pre-season starters staying healthy. Enough has been written on that. Instead of 8-5 against the toughest schedule in the land, we finish 5-7.

Fourth, there's just no way we finish with less than 8 or 9 wins next year. I think we'll get 10 if none of our specialists get hurt. We FINALLY have some depth (not great depth but good depth).

Fifth, Dooley and his AC's had good game plans against Cinci and the first half against Bama & LSU. They had terrible plans in the second halves of those last two and the whole game against Arkansas. The Kentucky game was a disaster.

Finally, I'm not 110% CDD is the guy but I'm 80% sure he's doing the right things now and I'm not sure ANYONE could do better. Heck, I'm not 110% Saban will win the SEC West next year (LSU is loaded and Ark. will have Niles back). Like the architectural example given above, Dooley has a great foundation in place and people will expect the first of two floors finished by the time NC State rolls around. I actually think 2013 will be the year the house is completed and we'll be able to beat any top-10 team (assuming we can put decent ST's together). Sorry for the tome...

CroKev writes:

John, thanks for doing some good research. Keep it up and you might develop a loyal following...

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sir

I am going to address each of your points one by one:

Bray is a fantastic QB but at the time was 6’6” and were 190 18 years old. QB most than any other position has to build confidence. We had a very young inexperienced line. So bottom-line he would have been killed in the SEC play, Dooley did the right thing and developed him and waited to the teams were a little easier prior to putting him in. it allowed Bray to learn the system and see what SEC play was all about and gain experience without killing his confidence.

We had No special teams coach and for the last two year has really hurt our team in ALL aspects of kicking, returns and kick offs, Dooley tried for two year to get a special teams coach and finally got one so expect improvement this year, in this area.

Running attack we moved O Linemen around all year long and by doing this we never got into sync, same could be said about our defensive back field.

The KY game Bray was sick, Hunter was out and we were just worn out, Dooley admitted that he kept Bray in too long and should have pulled him, but I understand him keeping him in when none of the other QB’s had demonstrated they could move the team.

Look at the games last year and by half time we were completely worn down because as this article stated we lost most of our backups due to Academics and disciplinary reasons and coaching changes.

The Head Coach manages the other coaches whom in turn manages players, Dooley has build a very strong classes and now have skill across the board, he this year dramatically upgraded the coaching staff, we now have a special teams coach and a running backs coach and upgraded the other position coaches.

Dooley is building his recruiting classes with players that can play in the system, will pass disciplinary and run a low risk of having disciplinary issue’s unlike the two classes mentioned In this article.

The last thing we need is a new head coach and we need to support coaches, players and the team/school not bash because we had issues last year.

Razor784 writes:

It seems like top 10 recruiting classes equal top 10 teams everywhere except at UT for some reason.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to wildmed:

Sounds like the "perfect storm" to me, hardly a basis for blaming Fulmer for the Vols' current fortunes, which many still do.

With good reason. Fulmer got lazy. There is NO doubt about it. Loosing to Wyoming and Vandy with the talent he had proves it.

flatrock writes:

in response to wildmed:

Spot-on post - Dooley may be the nicest guy who ever showed up in Knoxville, but his track record at two schools where he's been the head man has been zilch. Other than his glib dialogue, what is it about this fellow that inspiresd so much confidence?

1.) he is very bright;
2.) he is a man of class;
3.) he has learned from some of the very best in college football- V. Dooley, B. Dooley, G. Welsh and N. Saban (the mess he inherited was so horrendous that I believe this foursome would have been only ONE WIN better than CDD after 2 seasons);
4.) like the 4 above, he is very detail-oriented;
5.) he took LaTech to a bowl game in only his 2nd season- and this year's team- consisting primarily of Dooley recruits- made it to another bowl;
6.) he can recruit and evaluate talent;
7.) he has managed to keep our program from filling up ESPN's crime headline trailer;
8.) unlike his 4 role-models, he took on the UT mess- something not a single one of them would have done!
Go Vols!

budd#207344 writes:

John,
How dare you lie about Coach Fulmer's last recruiting class. I know he had 74-4 stars and 12-5 stars in that class. I have read it several times here and you would know that. Pretending that he had a bad class in 2008 is just not true. I forgot who the others are but they were there and really, really good.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to flatrock:

1.) he is very bright;
2.) he is a man of class;
3.) he has learned from some of the very best in college football- V. Dooley, B. Dooley, G. Welsh and N. Saban (the mess he inherited was so horrendous that I believe this foursome would have been only ONE WIN better than CDD after 2 seasons);
4.) like the 4 above, he is very detail-oriented;
5.) he took LaTech to a bowl game in only his 2nd season- and this year's team- consisting primarily of Dooley recruits- made it to another bowl;
6.) he can recruit and evaluate talent;
7.) he has managed to keep our program from filling up ESPN's crime headline trailer;
8.) unlike his 4 role-models, he took on the UT mess- something not a single one of them would have done!
Go Vols!

DEAD ON! All points were correct. The last is why I back CDD all the way. He took a job that virtually no one wanted. He didn't come here just for a bigger gig. He could have waited like Muschamp and with his connections gone to a better situation. He wanted TENNESSEE because of what he saw during his dad's Georgia tenure. This is his destination job I believe. He's not a hired gun. I hope next year bears fruit and that he will be our coach for the next decade.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

For you guys that still remain at UT, good for you. I hope you achieve great things. Good times are coming again and it will be soon. Get in there and work hard. Keep your nose clean and show everyone what you've got. 2012 is a new year and the sky is the limit.

Go Vols!

Digital5000 writes:

in response to Razor784:

It seems like top 10 recruiting classes equal top 10 teams everywhere except at UT for some reason.

TX, FSU

-Enjoy Yoselves

Digital5000 writes:

in response to Digital5000:

TX, FSU

-Enjoy Yoselves

MIA, FLA

-Enjoy Yoselves

FWBVol writes:

in response to Razor784:

It seems like top 10 recruiting classes equal top 10 teams everywhere except at UT for some reason.

Your not so sharp for a razor. If you were you would know that a couple of top 10-15 classes that Dooley has brought in were freshmen and sophomores last year. Most of the big name guys from Kiffin's big time class are gone.

Give Tennessee another year or two with their top 10 recruiting classes and we will be back in the top 10.

WE ARE TENNESSEE!!! VFL

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Lots of rehashing all the old pros and cons regarding all things Vol football. All too few ask the question: what purpose in the world does this article serve? It just repeats the given(s) that we have heard for the last four years. Why now; why again; why such repetitive non-news that serves no purpose other than illustrating what an un-original, sorry scribe JA is?

Let's say he is correct on every point; so???

grobin4300 writes:

in response to toddyboy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, i understand because look @ La Tech's record while he was there and after he left they won i think either 8 or 9 games

Exiled writes:

in response to wildmed:

Sounds like the "perfect storm" to me, hardly a basis for blaming Fulmer for the Vols' current fortunes, which many still do.

I don't know, I hear plenty blaming Dooley for not winning an NC his second year as head coach.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

And those are the two classes that Dooley has had to anchor his team on! A Chattanooga-Times article earlier in the year stated that of the 31 4- and 5-star athletes signed by Fulmer and Kiffin from 2007 through 2009, only 3 - that's right, 3! - ever started and produced consistently. Wow! That might work in other places but not in the SEC. Dooley should get hazardous duty pay for taking the HC job to start with, given the upper-class talent (or stunning lack thereof) he had to work with. It's no surprise that Hamilton wasn't able to get his A-list coaching choices to sign the dotted line. The only surprise is how many people who post here, even after they read this article, will blame the past two seasons on Dooley and his staff. Mind-boggling. Go Vols!!!

Well put! In fact, I would add that the fact that Dooley won 11 games (should have been 13 with LSU/UNC ref blunders) shows he has this program heading in the right direction.

Tennessee could easily have been 4-8 and 3-9 the last two years, I wonder how bad the critics would have been crying if that were the case.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Walt, lets look at the won loss record given the situation Coach Dooley inherited. The article is proof positive he inherited a mess.

6-7 but should have been 8-5 if not for ref screw ups in both the LSU/UNC games. Yes, ref screw ups - neither play that caused penalties should have ever happened had the ref done his job properly - confirmed by the SEC head referee. Look it up if you don't believe me.

5-7 - injuries man, injuries! explains why this team didn't do better. From losing Justin Hunter and Tyler bray, losing Herman Lathers and 2 starting defensive linemen before the season even started and then you throw in losing Janzen Jackson and Brent Brewer as well and then throw in the argubaly the toughest schedule in the country and it all adds up. Granted the KU game was a fiasco, but that is the only game in 2 years the team didn't play hard in.

People need to fully grasp the situation. Dooley has had to start 16 freshmen the last two years. What few juniors and seniors he had on his teams were not that good and barely played before Dooley arrrived.

I fully expect 8/9 wins this season, especially with the new coaches brought on this season. In each position there was an upgrade in coaching skills and recruiting skills.

We will forget about the KU game soon enough once the winning starts.

derainey36#303427 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Chaney is a good QB coach look at Bray and Worley and recruited Peterman Why would a kid who was any good come to a team that has 2 QB with that kind of potential? Calling a game he hasn't shown me anything.

yankintenn#395643 writes:

Bring in more thugs like Goodrich and Little. The kind of guys are either in prison or should be. Need no more choir boys..

yankintenn#395643 writes:

I hope you guys realize that last post was a joke. DD is trying to bring in solid citizens as he should

volbob writes:

Good stuff...except for the rehash of the Kentucky game. I'm sure I can speak for most readers in saying we don't want to read anything about the last game of 2011. Kinda interesting to see where these kids ended up - and why they didn't/don't contribute, with a couple of notable exceptions.

arkyvol writes:

anybody who thinks that bad recruiting is a believable excuse for losing to a horrible kentucky team that didn't even have a quarterback that day needs to have his head examined. that fiasco belongs solely to the hammy hireling in the orange pants.

volnvette03 writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

You posted that as if I had said Dooley wasn't a great coach. That is not what I said at all. I HOPE he is and am looking for confirmation. Many on here post as if they know something about him that the rest of us do not. While I will support ALL UT coaches, I just wish to know the secret of those that say " Dooley is the man".

Good question. I would say that "Dooley is the Man" because of the foundation he is layng. In addition, anyone who follows any CFB program would tell you that the mess DD inherited would take 3-4 years to reverse. If I am not mistaking, DD has won every game he was suppose to except the last one (hate to mention it).

Prostar writes:

in response to budd#207344:

John,
How dare you lie about Coach Fulmer's last recruiting class. I know he had 74-4 stars and 12-5 stars in that class. I have read it several times here and you would know that. Pretending that he had a bad class in 2008 is just not true. I forgot who the others are but they were there and really, really good.

Read the Chattanooga Times-Free Press article on our coach before Dooley. Read how his only class of signees panned out, then see that a recruiting analyst ranked Fulmer's last class at 35th nationally. I hate to defend John but he didn't lie about Coach Fulmer. Two recruiting classes back-to-back coupled with two coaching changes spell disaster for almost any program.

FanNotSheep writes:

A big part of the problem was that Kiffin ran off several Fulmer guys -- coaches, players and recruits. Then when he left, several kids he and his bipolar cajun recruiting dude brainwashed suddenly woke up and quickly jumped ship. Some who stayed showed their true colors in the classroom or the jailhouse. The classes didn't pan out well and the roster was depleted.

I don't know if Dooley has the coaching ability to compete in the SEC but I do think he has done a remarkable job rebuilding the roster in the face of some pretty incredible setbacks. It might be that a new coach will eventually inherit the program and hopefully coach up the guys and get back into the race. Or maybe Dooley will. Or maybe it will take 15 years like it did when Majors took over a similar mess from Bill Battle. Time will tell.

Ayres_Hall writes:

The SEC leaders win with 3rd and 4th year players (regardless of class status). Next year we will still be a year behind playing with third and second year guys (true Jrs and sophs).

The angry fanbase dosen't like facts.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Prostar:

Read the Chattanooga Times-Free Press article on our coach before Dooley. Read how his only class of signees panned out, then see that a recruiting analyst ranked Fulmer's last class at 35th nationally. I hate to defend John but he didn't lie about Coach Fulmer. Two recruiting classes back-to-back coupled with two coaching changes spell disaster for almost any program.

I was poking fun at the posters. You will read on here that Fulmer had a top five class that year. They can never name any of them, but they were top five

orangeman1 writes:

I see this as a positive. There was definitely alot of talented players that were lost, but there are also several key contributors from the 08 and 09 class coming back as Jrs and Srs this year. Add to that the talented Sophomores we have coming back that got experience last year and this could be a really good team. Its time for the coaches to earn a raise.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Clarkrm0706:

You posted that as if I had said Dooley wasn't a great coach. That is not what I said at all. I HOPE he is and am looking for confirmation. Many on here post as if they know something about him that the rest of us do not. While I will support ALL UT coaches, I just wish to know the secret of those that say " Dooley is the man".

About the best I recall hardly anyone saying recently is that Dooley may or not be a great coach, but he is the coach we HAVE, and his recruiting has at least restored the numbers the Vols HAD TO HAVE if ANY coach was going to have a chance to win in the SEC. Whether or not he and his staff can develop those players into major winners in the SEC is still unproven, in either direction. All Vol fans are tired of the losing and not being competitive with the top teams in the league, but some people have a hard time with the idea that the situation just WASN'T going to be fixed overnight, whoever the coach might have been.

GloryDays writes:

Perhaps Kiffin wasn't as good of a recruiter that everyone seems to think he was?

LJS1984 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

9 - 3 + a bowl.
Bank on it

6 - 6 a toilet bowl.
Bank on it

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