HOOVER Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban watered a branch of his coaching tree Thursday.
" Derek Dooley has done a really good job," Saban said to a Wynfrey Hotel ballroom sitting at full attention for SEC Media Days. "I think he inherited a very difficult situation. A lot of things, a lot of lack of continuity, probably created a difficult situation in terms of quality of personnel depth. I think Derek has done a lot of things to create a lot of program stability there."
Saban hired Dooley in 2000 as his recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach at LSU. The two spent the next six years side-by-side, going from Baton Rouge to the Miami Dolphins, before Dooley was named coach at Louisiana Tech.
Last season, Saban's Tide posted a 37-6 win over the Vols in Tuscaloosa. In 2012, the two will meet on Oct. 20 at Neyland Stadium.
"I look for them to have a much better team this year," Saban said. "I think that Derek is going to be just fine and do a wonderful job in the future at Tennessee."
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn