Mike Strange: Patience no longer a virtue in rebuilding

Mike Strange
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on during the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks on during the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Despite his thin mid-major resume, a big-name football school in a BCS league took a chance on him.

After back-to-back six-win seasons he was feeling pressure going into his third year.

Well, 7-5 wasn't much of an improvement, but the big-name school showed patience.

Year four: 6-6. Still, the big-name school showed patience.

Finally, in his fifth year at Michigan State, Nick Saban got it turned around, going 9-2.

Alabama coach Nick Saban directs his players during the first day of the team's NCAA college football spring practice Friday, March 9, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Alabama coach Nick Saban directs his players during the first day of the team's NCAA college football spring practice Friday, March 9, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Patience wasn't an issue in Saban's subsequent collegiate rebuilds. He won immediately at LSU. Alabama was 12-2 in his second season and BCS champion his third.

Rebuilding and patience are never far from the conversation at Tennessee in these troubled times. Did I say patience? I meant to say hot seat.

Derek Dooley is staring Year Three in the eye. He's 11-14 after two seasons of Extreme Vol Makeover.

I'm not sure what Michigan State's expectation level was when it hired Saban from Toledo before the 1995 season. I do know he wasn't the Spartans' third coach in three years.

Let me make it clear I'm not projecting UT's coach as the next Saban. But Dooley's rebuild is as tough as you'll find.

It wasn't that Tennessee lacked resources. Attrition from the almost-unprecedented coaching turnover was his biggest hurdle. Only now does he have a

roster that looks like an SEC roster.

Barring critical injuries, the Vols should field their most competitive team since the 2007 SEC East champions. It has the tools to cool off its coach's seat.

But that's yet to play out. Leading up to the 2012 kickoff, Dooley is the vogue hot-seat pick in pretty much any preseason magazine on the rack.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but patience, like the single wing or Legion Field, has seen better days.

Most of the names we recognize as the great coaches won quickly. It's difficult to grasp how bad Alabama was when Bear Bryant arrived in 1958. He was 7-2-2 his second year, 8-1-2 his third, a national champion in his fourth.

Another Dooley — Vince — took over a losing Georgia program in 1964 and was 10-1 by 1966. Pat Dye won the Sugar Bowl his third year at Auburn. Urban Meyer won a BCS title his second year at Florida.

There are notable exceptions. Woody Hayes started his Ohio State tenure 16-9-2. His fourth team went 10-0.

Barry Alvarez was 11-22 after three seasons at Wisconsin. His fourth team went 10-1-1 and won the Rose Bowl.

Steve Spurrier — the South Carolina version — was 21-16 after three seasons, including 6-6 in his third year. It took six years to get to nine wins. But Spurrier had more credibility than Dooley and the Gamecocks had lower expectations than the Vols.

Tennessee has seen both ends of the spectrum.

The Vols were 13-11-2 the three years before they hired Robert Neyland and 25-1-2 the three after.

Doug Dickey arrived in 1964 to a program that had been 15-15 in three years with two coaches. His second team went 8-1-2.

No UT coach was ever hired with greater expectations than Johnny Majors, fresh off a national title at Pittsburgh in 1976. But after six years, Majors was 35-32-2 with a high mark of 8-4 in 1981.

He would, of course, eventually coach three SEC champions and deliver several of UT's most cherished wins. But that was in a different era, a more patient one.

Anybody think Dooley would ever get six years to go 35-32-2?

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 213

lyafarre writes:

Thanks for writing this article. I've been screaming this to anyone who would listen for a couple of years now, but there remains a loud contingent of fans who aren't willing to listen. I suppose that's largely due to the fact that, when it comes to football, we haven't had to deal with an extended rebuilding effort under a new coach for several decades.
I have this nightmare scenario in my head, and it's happened to many other teams, that we fire Coach Dooley after a so-so year this year, the next coach goes on to experience instant success with Dooley's recruits, and then things go downhill for several years. Ala Notre Dame the past decade or so.
Anyway, for Coach Dooley to be in the hot seat after two seasons is more a reflection of some of our fans than his coaching ability.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Offering some good perspective, Mike. Thanks.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to lyafarre:

Thanks for writing this article. I've been screaming this to anyone who would listen for a couple of years now, but there remains a loud contingent of fans who aren't willing to listen. I suppose that's largely due to the fact that, when it comes to football, we haven't had to deal with an extended rebuilding effort under a new coach for several decades.
I have this nightmare scenario in my head, and it's happened to many other teams, that we fire Coach Dooley after a so-so year this year, the next coach goes on to experience instant success with Dooley's recruits, and then things go downhill for several years. Ala Notre Dame the past decade or so.
Anyway, for Coach Dooley to be in the hot seat after two seasons is more a reflection of some of our fans than his coaching ability.

Honestly, I think the hot seat is more of a media creation. They do it every year to a few coaches. It sells. Right now, Dooley is the guy they're using to sell their magazines.

TheGVXKing writes:

It looks like at least one KNS scribe is willing to admit that Coach Dooley has faced challenges never seen before in college football. Now, If the fans would just understand that...

nocleats writes:

Great recruiting can solve many of Tenns issues, but it is going to require EVERY asst coach and player to give there all every day. RECRUIT RECRUIT RECRUIT.. Everything done should be done with a recruiting focus.

GerryOP writes:

It took a while but it seems like the reality about what Coach Dooley has been facing the last two years has finally seeped into the KNS sports room! Some of us have been preaching the same thing ever since Dooley got here ... and we've been bludgeoned for saying it!

55 days ... 12-0 baby ... 12-0!

ivyvol writes:

Good read Mike. Every situation is unique and Dooley still needs time.

GerryOP writes:

in response to nocleats:

Great recruiting can solve many of Tenns issues, but it is going to require EVERY asst coach and player to give there all every day. RECRUIT RECRUIT RECRUIT.. Everything done should be done with a recruiting focus.

Right Capt. Obvious, recruiting is the key and Dooley is doing a hell of job recruiting ... even with the albatross's he's had hanging around his neck.

DCHess writes:

What if we have another 5-7 season?

arkyvol writes:

i've read somewhere that nick saban is a nephew of lou saban, the well traveled afl coach of many years ago. although i think that fact had zip to do with his getting the job at msu, i'll concede that both he and d.d. had well known last names. but, you'd have to look hard for any other similarity. saban turned a mediocre toledo team into a conference champion before msu. d.d. did squat in the bush leagues. but, there are similarities. did i mention that both of them have two arms and wear pants with zippers on the front?

arkyvol writes:

in response to ivyvol:

Good read Mike. Every situation is unique and Dooley still needs time.

"ask me for men, supplies, even money, but never ask me for time."

napoleon bonaparte

arkyvol writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Right Capt. Obvious, recruiting is the key and Dooley is doing a hell of job recruiting ... even with the albatross's he's had hanging around his neck.

yeah, he's doin' great. just go to mrsec.com and check out the conference standings. we're up to 10th place. in two more years, we might make it to 7 or 8.

don't bogart that joint my friend.

orangeman1 writes:

Patience is NOT in most UT fans vocabulary. Dooley's time is now. He has the talent and depth to compete for the East and win 9 games. All the reasons why he couldnt win are gone now. Its time to move on and forget the last 2 years and look forward to a brighter future. One where UT is in the mix for the East again. Of course, just winning the East wont be good enough to keep your job at UT. He has to show soon that he can win an SEC championship. Dooley doesnt have a National title and 2 SEC titles on his resume, so for the sake of the Vols, I hope he can get it done soon.

Vols20 writes:

in response to arkyvol:

i've read somewhere that nick saban is a nephew of lou saban, the well traveled afl coach of many years ago. although i think that fact had zip to do with his getting the job at msu, i'll concede that both he and d.d. had well known last names. but, you'd have to look hard for any other similarity. saban turned a mediocre toledo team into a conference champion before msu. d.d. did squat in the bush leagues. but, there are similarities. did i mention that both of them have two arms and wear pants with zippers on the front?

It is encouraging to see so many reasonable posts. My feeling has been and still is that CDD is doing things the right way, and that if given adequate time, will get it done. As for the "what if Tennessee goes 5-7 again"...I would say it would be totally unacceptable because the program now has some depth which can absorb even some big injuries. Last year, there was not adequate depth, and injuries hit us big time.

As far as realistic expectations go, I think 7-5 is a must, 8-4 is realistic and my prediction, 9-3 is extraordinary, and 10-2 or better is a miracle.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to GerryOP:

It took a while but it seems like the reality about what Coach Dooley has been facing the last two years has finally seeped into the KNS sports room! Some of us have been preaching the same thing ever since Dooley got here ... and we've been bludgeoned for saying it!

55 days ... 12-0 baby ... 12-0!

My 2 cents,G. A good friend and Vol booster told me before Dooley was hired it would take the next coach at least 5 years to recover from Lane Kiffin. I personally can't think of another coach who could do much better with that kind of attrition.

ivyvol writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

My 2 cents,G. A good friend and Vol booster told me before Dooley was hired it would take the next coach at least 5 years to recover from Lane Kiffin. I personally can't think of another coach who could do much better with that kind of attrition.

Yep.

Munsterlander writes:

Excellent article, about time.

Dooley's 1st two seasons: 11-14, .440
Majors' 1st two seasons: 9-12-1, .409 and only 2 seasons above .800 in 15 years. The first 10 years of the Majors' era was pure misery.

I don't know if CDD is the man or not, but his recruiting has been excellent, especially in light of the chaos, and if 8-4 is the gold standard, he deserves at least the same 5 years Majors got to reach it.

TimmyTwoTone writes:

FINALLY...Sanity prevails in the name of Mike Strange. Do you nattering nabobs of negativity not realize that your impatience is KILLING us in recruiting? Have you forgotten the absolute MESS CDD inherited? Have you? Please know CDD and family that the overwhemling majority of UT fans support your efforts in restoring this once-storied program to prominence.

SevenT writes:

Rebuilding, Rebuilding, Rebuilding.....this will go on for 10 years at Tennessee under orange.pants. The best thing that could happen long term is to cut ties to the proven loser and find a SEC level coach willing to take on a 10 year rebuilding project which is currently in Phase 1 of rebuilding.

ps11824 writes:

ivyvol writes:
Good read Mike. Every situation is unique and Dooley still needs time.

Way to jump in there with some pessimism...

ivyvol writes:

in response to arkyvol:

"ask me for men, supplies, even money, but never ask me for time."

napoleon bonaparte

And what happened to him?

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to DCHess:

What if we have another 5-7 season?

I'd bet my month's pay that want happen. Going to 9-3 or better. We are going to see Bray getting his first big wins. Dang maybe 10-2

SummittsCourt writes:

Just remember dooley haters, when the winning starts never mind jumping on the bandwagon...just stay out of the way.

9 wins this year
SEC Championship next year!

FWBVol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Rebuilding, Rebuilding, Rebuilding.....this will go on for 10 years at Tennessee under orange.pants. The best thing that could happen long term is to cut ties to the proven loser and find a SEC level coach willing to take on a 10 year rebuilding project which is currently in Phase 1 of rebuilding.

Rebuilding for the Kentucky football team has been going on for 60 years since Bear Bryant left Lexington because it was a basketball school. Folks in glass football houses shouldn't throw bricks.

hueypilot writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Rebuilding for the Kentucky football team has been going on for 60 years since Bear Bryant left Lexington because it was a basketball school. Folks in glass football houses shouldn't throw bricks.

I think this guy is a UK fan, but to address his comment, don't you guys (I am such a sexist pig to think mostly guys are on here commenting and in fact I even knew a few hueypilot girls so there) think that even if Dooley doesn't turn out to be the guy it is necessary to let him have 4 or even 5 years to prove or disprove his worth so that we can retain him if he's the guy or if he's not, attract someone of quality here who wouldn't be fearful of a two or three year work miracles or your fired deal? Don't we need to have a little stability even if we can't win the East, at least to show some level of calm and stability to attract a major player. I've even heard some mention Petrino. Yeah, right. Just what we need. And isn't it always about who we can get to upgrade? Not just to fire the incumbent but to get someone who is better.

arkyvol writes:

i sure wish one of doolaide drinkers would clue me in on the source of their "dooley is doing a great job recruiting" delusions. the sources i've looked at have the vols neck and neck with vandy and kentucky.

arkyvol writes:

what's the vegas line on the vols breaking .500 in the conference this year? in five years (under this stiff)?

it was pretty obvious after major's first five years that all he offered was a higher level of mediocrity. if the past is indicative of the future, mediocrity would be an achievement for dooley.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

I think this guy is a UK fan, but to address his comment, don't you guys (I am such a sexist pig to think mostly guys are on here commenting and in fact I even knew a few hueypilot girls so there) think that even if Dooley doesn't turn out to be the guy it is necessary to let him have 4 or even 5 years to prove or disprove his worth so that we can retain him if he's the guy or if he's not, attract someone of quality here who wouldn't be fearful of a two or three year work miracles or your fired deal? Don't we need to have a little stability even if we can't win the East, at least to show some level of calm and stability to attract a major player. I've even heard some mention Petrino. Yeah, right. Just what we need. And isn't it always about who we can get to upgrade? Not just to fire the incumbent but to get someone who is better.

I think that the problem of retaining Dooley 4or5 years no matter the results just for stability would hurt the program. If Dooley only goes6-6 this year, how can he recruit top players when they will be afraid that the Dooley and staff will be fired the next year? I think recruiting is already suffering this year because of the threat of Dooley being fired if he doesnt do well this year. So, if Dooley is retained after going 6-6, I dont see being able to recruit like we need to win the SEC.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to arkyvol:

i sure wish one of doolaide drinkers would clue me in on the source of their "dooley is doing a great job recruiting" delusions. the sources i've looked at have the vols neck and neck with vandy and kentucky.

Every now and then you post something intelligent. Not this time, however.

Let's see.....
2010: UT #9, VU >#50, UK #50
2011: UT #13, VU >#50, UK >#50
2012: UT #17, VU #29, UK >#50

For 2013, and it's way too early to use that class for a comparison, Vandy is doing far better than Vandy is used to. However, when they crawl through their 4-8 season, that will change. There's no way Vandy's class will be higher ranked than Dooley's come signing day, unless the Vols have a horrible year and Dooley gets the axe. That's something you can put your money on. Even players who are going to college for the education, not to win football games, still want to win. That's not something they'll ever be able to do at Vandy.

arkyvol writes:

in response to Enrico_Palazzo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

excuse me? are you saying that stud athletes are blowing off the opportunity to play for tennessee because of what happened three years ago? those ratings are for guys who will graduate in 2013, not 2009. you're the one who needs to buy a clue.

GerryOP writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

My 2 cents,G. A good friend and Vol booster told me before Dooley was hired it would take the next coach at least 5 years to recover from Lane Kiffin. I personally can't think of another coach who could do much better with that kind of attrition.

I agree viper, I can't think of another coach who could do much better either. I recall one of the ESPN talking heads at the time made a statement something like, "Derek Dooley is the guy who can clean up this mess, but it's a 3-5 year effort. The only question is will the rabid UT fans have that kind of patience?"

As far as I'm concerned, Dooley is right on schedule ... and the rabid UT fans started losing patience in year 1! Let's just say that Chris Fowler was right!

The question I ponder is what would have happened if Kiffin had hung around for a few years ... assuming he didn't land us in NCAA jail? Haden is "managing" him and look what he's done. Our problem was that Hamilton let him run wild and he caused trouble.

arkyvol writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Every now and then you post something intelligent. Not this time, however.

Let's see.....
2010: UT #9, VU >#50, UK #50
2011: UT #13, VU >#50, UK >#50
2012: UT #17, VU #29, UK >#50

For 2013, and it's way too early to use that class for a comparison, Vandy is doing far better than Vandy is used to. However, when they crawl through their 4-8 season, that will change. There's no way Vandy's class will be higher ranked than Dooley's come signing day, unless the Vols have a horrible year and Dooley gets the axe. That's something you can put your money on. Even players who are going to college for the education, not to win football games, still want to win. That's not something they'll ever be able to do at Vandy.

mea culpa. i was using hyperbole (look it up). o.k., we are ahead of vandy and the cats. now, how are we doing compared with the rest of the conference?

SevenT writes:

in response to hueypilot:

I think this guy is a UK fan, but to address his comment, don't you guys (I am such a sexist pig to think mostly guys are on here commenting and in fact I even knew a few hueypilot girls so there) think that even if Dooley doesn't turn out to be the guy it is necessary to let him have 4 or even 5 years to prove or disprove his worth so that we can retain him if he's the guy or if he's not, attract someone of quality here who wouldn't be fearful of a two or three year work miracles or your fired deal? Don't we need to have a little stability even if we can't win the East, at least to show some level of calm and stability to attract a major player. I've even heard some mention Petrino. Yeah, right. Just what we need. And isn't it always about who we can get to upgrade? Not just to fire the incumbent but to get someone who is better.

I am a Kentucky Alum so I really don't have a dog in this. I am smart enough to understand that Derrick Dooley is a very good lawyer. Dooley negotiated a $5 M buyout plus the balance of his salary if he is fired. Perhaps that is the reason they are keeping him around.

One of the most hilarious stats is Tennessee managed to keep more assistant coaches when Kiffin left town then they did last season under Dooley.

GerryOP writes:

in response to arkyvol:

yeah, he's doin' great. just go to mrsec.com and check out the conference standings. we're up to 10th place. in two more years, we might make it to 7 or 8.

don't bogart that joint my friend.

If you want to believe what John Pennington reports, then you have too low an IQ to even be posting on here. Pennington is a student of the Tony Basilio school of thinking .... "If I make enough off-the-wall-predictions, sooner or later one of them will come true."

frblalack writes:

in response to TimmyTwoTone:

FINALLY...Sanity prevails in the name of Mike Strange. Do you nattering nabobs of negativity not realize that your impatience is KILLING us in recruiting? Have you forgotten the absolute MESS CDD inherited? Have you? Please know CDD and family that the overwhemling majority of UT fans support your efforts in restoring this once-storied program to prominence.

+1

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to arkyvol:

mea culpa. i was using hyperbole (look it up). o.k., we are ahead of vandy and the cats. now, how are we doing compared with the rest of the conference?

So far, Dooley has not signed a class worse than 6th in the SEC. The 2012 class took a late hit when Sirmon and Wilcox left very close to signing day, but still was 6th in the conference, which is damn good for a program struggling like UT has for the past 4 years.

BTW, next time you want to use hyperbole, you should consider that hyperbole is an obvious exaggeration. For example, "My dork is as big as a telephone pole." If you said Dooley's recruiting was on par with say, Memphis or Eastern Michigan or something, that would qualify. Making that same comparison with any SEC school isn't an obvious exaggeration, and could easily be taken as a statement of fact, specially with the current state of the UT program.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to SevenT:

I am a Kentucky Alum so I really don't have a dog in this. I am smart enough to understand that Derrick Dooley is a very good lawyer. Dooley negotiated a $5 M buyout plus the balance of his salary if he is fired. Perhaps that is the reason they are keeping him around.

One of the most hilarious stats is Tennessee managed to keep more assistant coaches when Kiffin left town then they did last season under Dooley.

Since you "don't have a dog in this" fight, why are you here?

The next question is, "Are you smart enough to spell Derek?"

Seriously, if you're going to waste your time and ours coming on here and bashing Dooley, when you don't have any reason to, you could at least have the courtesy to spell his name correctly.

GerryOP writes:

in response to SevenT:

I am a Kentucky Alum so I really don't have a dog in this. I am smart enough to understand that Derrick Dooley is a very good lawyer. Dooley negotiated a $5 M buyout plus the balance of his salary if he is fired. Perhaps that is the reason they are keeping him around.

One of the most hilarious stats is Tennessee managed to keep more assistant coaches when Kiffin left town then they did last season under Dooley.

You're right dude, with UK's record of 1 win in 27 games against UT, you don't have a dog in this fight. And your continuous babbling about something you know nothing about is boring.

BTW, if you know an attorney named Derrick Dooley, ask him if he is related to our head football coach Derek Dooley.

SevenT writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Since you "don't have a dog in this" fight, why are you here?

The next question is, "Are you smart enough to spell Derek?"

Seriously, if you're going to waste your time and ours coming on here and bashing Dooley, when you don't have any reason to, you could at least have the courtesy to spell his name correctly.

Sorry about that Barbara D.

I got it: D-E-R-E-K.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

Sorry about that Barbara D.

I got it: D-E-R-E-K.

Or sign with your name: D-O-R-K!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to GerryOP:

If you want to believe what John Pennington reports, then you have too low an IQ to even be posting on here. Pennington is a student of the Tony Basilio school of thinking .... "If I make enough off-the-wall-predictions, sooner or later one of them will come true."

Getum' Gerry, they're infesting this site with opinion that has no merit..GBO!

Volalumnus writes:

So the article is about patience then almost every example given for other coaches they had very sucessful seasons by year 3?
Good.

FWBVol writes:

Mike Strange is on target with this column. Fans, not just Tennessee fans, have no patience at all today. We live in a world that is always on the move at warp speed. Our smart phones offer faster internet speeds than our old dail up internet connections and if we have to wait more than a few seconds for our information we get upset.

That same impatience carries over into every walk in life even the way we deal with our college sports teams.

As Mike said, Derek Dooley walked into a program that had more attrition than almost any in UT history. Even Kiffin admitted that 2010 would have been more difficult than 2009.

I will support the Tennessee coach no matter who he is. I want Derek Dooley to succeced, not because I've been drinking Doolaide or whatever some people might call it, but because another coaching change will prolong the return to glory.

I believe if we are a competitive 7-5 or better this year then Derek Dooley should be given next year. By competitive I mean not getting blown out of any games.

The thing is in today's game with so many skill players at receiver and quarterback often declaring for the draft after their junior years it amps up the time schedules that coaches are given in which they are expected to win.

manniesghost1903 writes:

As times change comparisons with the past may not always hold up. Since the coaching days of Bear Byant, Vince Dooley, and Doug Dickey, the SEC has grown bigger and more competitive. Expenses for athletic programs have increased dramatically. The media has influenced high school recruits to concentrate more on being part of a winning team. Consequently, football programs can no longer depend on families ties and loyalty like they use to in the old days to be an aid in recruiting.

While UT has had good recruiting classes under Derek Dooley, other SEC schools have equal or better recruiting success. Therefore, in order to start the football program on an upward swing Derek Dooley and his assistants must also "out coach" the opposition.

Since the Football Program at UT is the largest of its teams and is the most expensive to run, five years is probably the absolute limit Derek Dooley will have to show he can battle with the top SEC coaches. He needs an 8-4 regular season record this year and have an equal or greater number of wins next year. Consistently winning will cure a lot of Coach Dooley's problems but it appears the Head Football Coach position at UT always will be a hot seat for some of the UT "faithful."

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to manniesghost1903:

As times change comparisons with the past may not always hold up. Since the coaching days of Bear Byant, Vince Dooley, and Doug Dickey, the SEC has grown bigger and more competitive. Expenses for athletic programs have increased dramatically. The media has influenced high school recruits to concentrate more on being part of a winning team. Consequently, football programs can no longer depend on families ties and loyalty like they use to in the old days to be an aid in recruiting.

While UT has had good recruiting classes under Derek Dooley, other SEC schools have equal or better recruiting success. Therefore, in order to start the football program on an upward swing Derek Dooley and his assistants must also "out coach" the opposition.

Since the Football Program at UT is the largest of its teams and is the most expensive to run, five years is probably the absolute limit Derek Dooley will have to show he can battle with the top SEC coaches. He needs an 8-4 regular season record this year and have an equal or greater number of wins next year. Consistently winning will cure a lot of Coach Dooley's problems but it appears the Head Football Coach position at UT always will be a hot seat for some of the UT "faithful."

Very well stated, ghost..

BVDlovesORANGE writes:

I thought this was "YEAR 2" according to the Dooley timeline.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to ivyvol:

And what happened to him?

Well, he slaughtered half the young men in Europe before the French - ever the bright ones - figured out he hijacked their revolution. And did they lop off his head after that? No. They let him live out his life. Of course the French, like most Europeans, are historic idiots.

GerryOP writes:

in response to manniesghost1903:

As times change comparisons with the past may not always hold up. Since the coaching days of Bear Byant, Vince Dooley, and Doug Dickey, the SEC has grown bigger and more competitive. Expenses for athletic programs have increased dramatically. The media has influenced high school recruits to concentrate more on being part of a winning team. Consequently, football programs can no longer depend on families ties and loyalty like they use to in the old days to be an aid in recruiting.

While UT has had good recruiting classes under Derek Dooley, other SEC schools have equal or better recruiting success. Therefore, in order to start the football program on an upward swing Derek Dooley and his assistants must also "out coach" the opposition.

Since the Football Program at UT is the largest of its teams and is the most expensive to run, five years is probably the absolute limit Derek Dooley will have to show he can battle with the top SEC coaches. He needs an 8-4 regular season record this year and have an equal or greater number of wins next year. Consistently winning will cure a lot of Coach Dooley's problems but it appears the Head Football Coach position at UT always will be a hot seat for some of the UT "faithful."

Well said ghost! As has been posted many times, Coach Dooley is starting year 3 of a 3-5 year rebuilding program. This should be a pivotal year, the year when we start seeing signs of recovery.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Volalumnus:

So the article is about patience then almost every example given for other coaches they had very sucessful seasons by year 3?
Good.

Actually, only 4 of the 10 examples had their success prior to their 4th season. If those examples weren't given, the first thing that would have happened in the comments section would have been people giving them to contradict the article.

TallHillBillyVol writes:

If Strange is right, and UT's rebuilding is as tough as they come, shouldn't we have the most impressive coach available for this rebuilding? If yes, do we? And regardless of the circumstances, if we don't know 2 years in if he's the right guy for the job, doesn't that mean he's not? Surely SOMETHING in those 2 years would indicate he has what it takes.

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