Sal Sunseri fine with Derek Dooley being more active with defense

Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri signals to his players during the first half against Troy on Saturday in Neyland Stadium. 

(MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri signals to his players during the first half against Troy on Saturday in Neyland Stadium. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

What's wrong with Tennessee's defense?

See the results »

View previous polls »

Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri said he fully supports head coach Derek Dooley’s plan to take a more active role in the defense after the Vols allowed 721 yards in a victory against Troy last week.

“He’s the boss. I think it will be good,” Sunseri said. “I’m disappointed in myself because I know what (the players) have the capability of doing, I just got to get it out of them.”

Tennessee (4-5, 0-5 SEC) plays Missouri (4-5, 1-5) on Saturday at Neyland Stadium (TV: SEC Network, 12:21 p.m.)

Sunseri wouldn’t confirm that he will coach Saturday’s game from the press box, but his answers implied that the move was likely. Sunseri said he had coached from upstairs for the last seven seasons.

“I like being up there because you get better eyes up there and can see more of what’s going on,” he said.

Sunseri said he didn’t blame the players for the defense’s failings and he praised the team’s effort in practice.

“You always have pride,” Sunseri said of the criticism he has taken. “We’re not playing as good as we need to play on defense. And I’m responsible. I’m the guy that’s calling it.”

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 127

pcorange writes:

Well, at least he owns it.

VolunteerLifer writes:

"Sal Sunseri fine with Derek Dooley being more active with defense."

He had better be.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

I think we have to be careful. People became impatient with Fulmer and the Clawfense back in 2008. The offense's performance during a season that he (and all of us) knew was going to be a struggle learning a new system, lead him to take over the offense from Clawson and simplify it. That didn't work at all, and may have even made things worse, and got him fired. Of course, one difference was that there wasn't a rebuilding going on.

I worry that we could make the same mistake on the defensive side right now, and derail the train completely. If we do, then the pain we've all felt so far will have been for nothing. Do what is needed to win the remaining games, but allow the system to set in.

Changing the defensive scheme this year may not have been the best idea, but another total scheme change isn't going to make things better.

MikeNPS writes:

Of course Sunseri is fine. He continues to collect a big paycheck. If he worked for a private company and was performing at this level, he would have been fired quite some time ago.

pcshowtime writes:

This is nothing but trying to make him self look good. He waited until we come up on the worse 3 offenses on the schedule.

"I'm coming out of the offensive room and putting all my attention on defense,"

Dooley is such a horse a##. Where was his Defensive coaching in the heart of our sec schedule. He has been being asked about how much involvement he had in the defense for the last 5 weeks.
"No no I am an offensive coach."
Does not take any responsibility for defensive coaching before Troy because he knows Troys offense is in the top 20 in the country.
But now here comes Dooley our hero to save us because we are 112th in defense. He will save us from the powerhouse offenses of
Total offense
109th Mizzu
75th Vandy
120th KY

THANKS DEREK
Where were you 5 weeks ago
if you guys do not see through this bull Shot you need help.

pcshowtime writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I think we have to be careful. People became impatient with Fulmer and the Clawfense back in 2008. The offense's performance during a season that he (and all of us) knew was going to be a struggle learning a new system, lead him to take over the offense from Clawson and simplify it. That didn't work at all, and may have even made things worse, and got him fired. Of course, one difference was that there wasn't a rebuilding going on.

I worry that we could make the same mistake on the defensive side right now, and derail the train completely. If we do, then the pain we've all felt so far will have been for nothing. Do what is needed to win the remaining games, but allow the system to set in.

Changing the defensive scheme this year may not have been the best idea, but another total scheme change isn't going to make things better.

I agree to much change at this point would make it worse.

RoyaltyVol writes:

And if our D does well this week everyone will ask, "why wasn't Sunseri upstairs all along". I don't understand why he hasn't been upstairs since game one because most DC coach from there. IMO thats why our D plays better in the second half of games, because they look closely at offensive formations and adjust at halftime, however if your upstairs you can adjust play by play as you see everything better. Also why has it taken CDD this long to decide to help the D, goes to show his lack of leadership and why we need a new HC. Personally I'd love to see us go hard after Bob Stoops, I think he would be a keeper where Gruden would coach 3-5 years then want another job.

gatorhator4eva writes:

da, coach

pcorange writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I think we have to be careful. People became impatient with Fulmer and the Clawfense back in 2008. The offense's performance during a season that he (and all of us) knew was going to be a struggle learning a new system, lead him to take over the offense from Clawson and simplify it. That didn't work at all, and may have even made things worse, and got him fired. Of course, one difference was that there wasn't a rebuilding going on.

I worry that we could make the same mistake on the defensive side right now, and derail the train completely. If we do, then the pain we've all felt so far will have been for nothing. Do what is needed to win the remaining games, but allow the system to set in.

Changing the defensive scheme this year may not have been the best idea, but another total scheme change isn't going to make things better.

We are 112th out of 120 teams on defense. I don't think he can make it much worse.

shipperman#280095 writes:

I love that picture....NYUK NYUK NYUK

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to MikeNPS:

Of course Sunseri is fine. He continues to collect a big paycheck. If he worked for a private company and was performing at this level, he would have been fired quite some time ago.

All folks got is boycott of Neyland. If it's full Saturday then Cheek can chuckle and see I told you they would keep coming. I'm extending Dooley for next year.

JDX47 writes:

I couldn't be more excited. This is what we have all been waiting for, for Dooley to impart his magic on the defense. Finally, we can all step back from the ledge.

JDX47 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

I love that picture....NYUK NYUK NYUK

I didn't realize that Buddy Hackett was one of the 3 Stooges. Was he like one of the rotating replacements like Shemp was?

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to pcorange:

We are 112th out of 120 teams on defense. I don't think he can make it much worse.

Small point, but there are 124 teams, and yes, it can get worse. Abandoning the offense the players had been exclusively learning and practicing, mid-season, in 2008 either made it worse, or made no difference, but the bottom line on that one is that they didn't allow that offense to continue to mature (which they knew was a two-year plan to begin with) and that directly destroyed Fulmer's career and legacy.

Those who do not learn from history and doomed to repeat it.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

This is nothing but trying to make him self look good. He waited until we come up on the worse 3 offenses on the schedule.

"I'm coming out of the offensive room and putting all my attention on defense,"

Dooley is such a horse a##. Where was his Defensive coaching in the heart of our sec schedule. He has been being asked about how much involvement he had in the defense for the last 5 weeks.
"No no I am an offensive coach."
Does not take any responsibility for defensive coaching before Troy because he knows Troys offense is in the top 20 in the country.
But now here comes Dooley our hero to save us because we are 112th in defense. He will save us from the powerhouse offenses of
Total offense
109th Mizzu
75th Vandy
120th KY

THANKS DEREK
Where were you 5 weeks ago
if you guys do not see through this bull Shot you need help.

MSU is #73, South Carolina is #87 and Florida is #103. So, I guess we've already faced some bad offenses. Why do you make this weak point now?

StoneJackBaller writes:

Too little, too late.

CrankE writes:

"He’s the boss. I think it will be good,” Sunseri said.

What else CAN he say?!?!
___

“I’m disappointed in myself because I know what (the players) have the capability of doing, I just got to get it out of them.”

We're disappointed in you too, Sal.

We also know what these kids are capable of doing. We watched it last year against a schedule that was every bit as tough as this one. We have kids on this defense that were on the All-SEC Freshman Team last year. Yet this year, they flounder with the only change being . . . . . . . . . . (wait for it) . . . . . . . .YOUR SYSTEM.

Sal, I notice that you express disappointment with yourself, then quickly change the subject from your coaching to the players performance. That's a cute trick there how it's on the players for not performing well when they are being led by "disappointing" coaching. Why...it's almost like they are playing exactly the way that they are coached...

But I'm sure that all will be well since Coach Zoolander is in the HOUSE to help on defense.

Just one more thing, Sal. If Coach Ted Stryker brings the Ceramic Orange Dog out of this defense and they turn into beasts while the offense continues performing as-is, then one of you is redundant, no?

Have a nice day.

JDX47 writes:

in response to CrankE:

"He’s the boss. I think it will be good,” Sunseri said.

What else CAN he say?!?!
___

“I’m disappointed in myself because I know what (the players) have the capability of doing, I just got to get it out of them.”

We're disappointed in you too, Sal.

We also know what these kids are capable of doing. We watched it last year against a schedule that was every bit as tough as this one. We have kids on this defense that were on the All-SEC Freshman Team last year. Yet this year, they flounder with the only change being . . . . . . . . . . (wait for it) . . . . . . . .YOUR SYSTEM.

Sal, I notice that you express disappointment with yourself, then quickly change the subject from your coaching to the players performance. That's a cute trick there how it's on the players for not performing well when they are being led by "disappointing" coaching. Why...it's almost like they are playing exactly the way that they are coached...

But I'm sure that all will be well since Coach Zoolander is in the HOUSE to help on defense.

Just one more thing, Sal. If Coach Ted Stryker brings the Ceramic Orange Dog out of this defense and they turn into beasts while the offense continues performing as-is, then one of you is redundant, no?

Have a nice day.

I'm sensing that you are frustrated with the defensive coaching. Didn't you read the article? Dooley is focusing on the defense now, so it's all good.

Classof72 writes:

'Sunseri said, “I’m disappointed in myself because I know what (the players) have the capability of doing, I just got to get it out of them.”'

Whatever they had, Sunseri seems to have gotten it out of them, 'cause they surely don't seem to have it any more.

What they seem to have now is a malady fatal to the Vol football program.

CrankE writes:

in response to JDX47:

I'm sensing that you are frustrated with the defensive coaching. Didn't you read the article? Dooley is focusing on the defense now, so it's all good.

This move could actually be great.

It's hard to imagine Dooley doing much to help the offense. And it's hard to imagine that he could make the defense any worse.

In short, both squads might get better.

"That's winning over here and winning over there. It's not bipolar, it's BI-WINNING!!!" - Coach Charlie Sheen.

born2ride writes:

We have to pay Sal $1.5 million to leave.

JDX47 writes:

in response to CrankE:

This move could actually be great.

It's hard to imagine Dooley doing much to help the offense. And it's hard to imagine that he could make the defense any worse.

In short, both squads might get better.

"That's winning over here and winning over there. It's not bipolar, it's BI-WINNING!!!" - Coach Charlie Sheen.

That could be the most valid, sane comment I have seen on this board in quite some time.

JDX47 writes:

in response to born2ride:

We have to pay Sal $1.5 million to leave.

That would be a wise investment at this point. Better upside in that than putting into the stock market now that Obama's back in. At least the ROI would be getting a new coach.

Biggie writes:

Do you think Gruden will keep him?

MikeNPS writes:

in response to born2ride:

We have to pay Sal $1.5 million to leave.

Paying him to leave is money well spent.

crappieking writes:

Two over their head coaches trying to coach a once proud program back to prominance. Pathetic Hart and Cheeks, you two goobers.

TrouserCough writes:

Nothing bothers you when you have a $1.8 million buyout for failing

budd#207344 writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I think we have to be careful. People became impatient with Fulmer and the Clawfense back in 2008. The offense's performance during a season that he (and all of us) knew was going to be a struggle learning a new system, lead him to take over the offense from Clawson and simplify it. That didn't work at all, and may have even made things worse, and got him fired. Of course, one difference was that there wasn't a rebuilding going on.

I worry that we could make the same mistake on the defensive side right now, and derail the train completely. If we do, then the pain we've all felt so far will have been for nothing. Do what is needed to win the remaining games, but allow the system to set in.

Changing the defensive scheme this year may not have been the best idea, but another total scheme change isn't going to make things better.

Yes it was a mistake. a mistake of huge proportions. When does it become too many of these same mistakes before we say enough. CDD let a dope smoking receiver run off a quality coach. That probably helped to convince the other assistants to leave and started the carousel that brought us this DC. Lance Thompson,who improved the performance of the D line last year is bypassed for Sensari. If it were just the record I can see saying one more year but the major bad decisions just add fuel to what is more than a brush fire now

PUL4VOLS writes:

There you all go with them negative waves man, just not helpful for the team. If the d comes out and shuts MO down(would be surprisin')you'd still find rain for the party. At least they are cooperating and making an effort to correct it. So why not see how that turns out? I'm telling you the negative waves are messin' things up. Go listen to some really cool music or somethin' man.

JDX47 writes:

in response to PUL4VOLS:

There you all go with them negative waves man, just not helpful for the team. If the d comes out and shuts MO down(would be surprisin')you'd still find rain for the party. At least they are cooperating and making an effort to correct it. So why not see how that turns out? I'm telling you the negative waves are messin' things up. Go listen to some really cool music or somethin' man.

Do you live in Colorado by any chance. They legalized pot smokin' yesterday in their state for recreational use, and it sounds like you may be smokin' something.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

This is nothing but trying to make him self look good. He waited until we come up on the worse 3 offenses on the schedule.

"I'm coming out of the offensive room and putting all my attention on defense,"

Dooley is such a horse a##. Where was his Defensive coaching in the heart of our sec schedule. He has been being asked about how much involvement he had in the defense for the last 5 weeks.
"No no I am an offensive coach."
Does not take any responsibility for defensive coaching before Troy because he knows Troys offense is in the top 20 in the country.
But now here comes Dooley our hero to save us because we are 112th in defense. He will save us from the powerhouse offenses of
Total offense
109th Mizzu
75th Vandy
120th KY

THANKS DEREK
Where were you 5 weeks ago
if you guys do not see through this bull Shot you need help.

Seems like the horse a## is the one who made the post. The offense on track to set an all time PS/G record (currently 36.8 PS/G) this season makes a liar out of all those who accuse CDD of being a poor coach. He is an offensive coach, and obviously a really good one, considering the five ranked SEC teams we've already played and their rankings. Also, saying that a HC should jump in on the DC's efforts any sooner when it makes sense to have continued to press coaching up the offense until now is well, ... hare-brained. pctoontime is jus looking for things to make up, present them as if they are real, then refer to his own false strawman logic to make his 'point'. Not quite sane. 'Course Haters gonna hate. toontime is obviously 'animated' in his animosity ... getting as bad as that Flowers character who's got multiple screen name disorder.

allvol8 writes:

in response to Biggie:

Do you think Gruden will keep him?

Gruden is not coming..maybe to Dallas or Cleveland

JonGrudensAgent writes:

Dooley, keep the microphone and reporters away from these guys.

Please.

If he has "coached from upstairs the last seven seasons" then wtf has he been on the sidelines here???

gobigorange5090 writes:

Didn't Dooley comment that he doesnt know anything about defense?

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

And if our D does well this week everyone will ask, "why wasn't Sunseri upstairs all along". I don't understand why he hasn't been upstairs since game one because most DC coach from there. IMO thats why our D plays better in the second half of games, because they look closely at offensive formations and adjust at halftime, however if your upstairs you can adjust play by play as you see everything better. Also why has it taken CDD this long to decide to help the D, goes to show his lack of leadership and why we need a new HC. Personally I'd love to see us go hard after Bob Stoops, I think he would be a keeper where Gruden would coach 3-5 years then want another job.

Gruden aint a'comin!

baldingalum writes:

Does anyone know why Wilcox left? That was a lateral move at best. That's a huge question that has had massive implications on this season. Truly. Does anyone know?

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

All those cute words Glenn Ford, aka the roadside bomber.........Jeffery 'wilted' Flowers..........uses to describe CDD actually fit him ( Wilted Flowers ) to a T.

And, that is mild as to describing the roadside cowardly bomber.......what good can anyone say about this jerk?

KingDanno (Inactive) writes:

Lend him your hand and the two walk away together, out of state.

DroopyDrawers writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dooley didn't hire Sal. Sal was forced on Dooley by Mr. DAVE FART.

notorange writes:

I don't really get the reason Dooley has to help Sal with a defense that Sal uses I know it sucks...but what's the point of having a def. coach if the head coach has to help him run it??

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Yes it was a mistake. a mistake of huge proportions. When does it become too many of these same mistakes before we say enough. CDD let a dope smoking receiver run off a quality coach. That probably helped to convince the other assistants to leave and started the carousel that brought us this DC. Lance Thompson,who improved the performance of the D line last year is bypassed for Sensari. If it were just the record I can see saying one more year but the major bad decisions just add fuel to what is more than a brush fire now

Saw yer made up haters excuses to hate and thought I'd repost.

""Duhhh ... whyja think our DC went ta Washington (State)" ... Wilcox took that job because HE MOVED HOME!!! The Huskies HC Sarkasian fired his previous DC, looked around and offered Wilcox (born in Eugene Oregon and played football at Oregon) the job. For Wilcox, a dream job. Moreso than DC for the Vols. His college roomate Peter Sirmon, Linebackers coach, went with him. THEY BOTH MOVED HOME!!! Wilcox now works a short drive from where he grew up. It didn't have one single thing to do with his feelings about Dooley's coaching capabilities.

As far as players respecting Dooley .. That is not what it sounds like in any single interview with the players I've ever read.

Better Question; Why do you think the Dooley Haters make up stories and post them on here as if they are true?
..."

My answer- Because they lack the mental capacity to recognize truth when put in front of them over and over when they see it.

DavidB writes:

assumption is the mother of all mess ups. Too many fans assume to many things. There are fans that assume Hart hired Sal, Fans that Assume Gruden is taking the job, heck there are even fans that still assume we will win the national championship next year.

It is great to cheer for your team no matter what but you have to have realistic goals. Could we possibly win the SEC east next year? Yes we could possibly win the East next year. Can we go 10 and 2 in regular season next year? Sure. Can we go 14-0 next season? Not likely.

So fans, show up at the game saturday, have your orange on and cheer for the team we have on the field right now. I dont care which player it is, the fans can get them fired up.

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

I love that picture....NYUK NYUK NYUK

"AWWWWWWWWWWWWW, WISE GUY". LOL

VolGrad writes:

I hear there's been a run on "Football 101: Defenses for Dummies" at bookstores around Knoxville this week.

Come Saturday, I guess we'll see how true that one is.

:D Go Vols! :D Beat Mizzou!!! :D

JDX47 writes:

in response to DavidB:

assumption is the mother of all mess ups. Too many fans assume to many things. There are fans that assume Hart hired Sal, Fans that Assume Gruden is taking the job, heck there are even fans that still assume we will win the national championship next year.

It is great to cheer for your team no matter what but you have to have realistic goals. Could we possibly win the SEC east next year? Yes we could possibly win the East next year. Can we go 10 and 2 in regular season next year? Sure. Can we go 14-0 next season? Not likely.

So fans, show up at the game saturday, have your orange on and cheer for the team we have on the field right now. I dont care which player it is, the fans can get them fired up.

Spoken like a true Commodore fan. If you set the bar low enough, we can all jump over it. Let's cheer for our SEC team with its 4 - 16 SEC record...maybe we can go 4 and forever!

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to andforhisnexttune:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...and later overheard...

CDD "Sally, you know I have not watched the D in games cuz I'm so involved scheming the next offensive possession. So what do we need to work on first in practice - getting off blocks, tacking, covering receivers, getting in the correct formations and positions, rushing the QB?"

CSS "Er uh, we do all of those real good Coach."

CDD "Really, how did Troy get over 700 yards on us?"

CSS "700 yards, no way. We won that game Coach."

CDD "Yeah, you are right, let's knock off early and get a hotdog. We are playing Missouri anyway, they are new to the SEC and will not be used to playing big boys pants teams like us."

CSS "Playing who - Missouri? They aren't in the SEC are they? And pass me the mustard Coach."

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to JDX47:

That would be a wise investment at this point. Better upside in that than putting into the stock market now that Obama's back in. At least the ROI would be getting a new coach.

When Obama took office almost 4 years ago the market dropped by 332 points to 7,949. Recently it has been over 13,000. I made a lot of money with the 5,000 point increase! Took another hit today like it did when he took office so that was no surprise. But the market is over-valued. Take your profits and convert to Bonds before you really lose out. And yes, I think a buyout of Sal would be well worth it in the Bull Market football situation we have gotten ourselves into.

Millisa writes:

Give me a break make matters WORSE be like something from "The Three Stooges" FIRE Dooley NOW

volcop writes:

I thought the head coach was always over the offense and the defense

underthehill writes:

in response to DavidB:

assumption is the mother of all mess ups. Too many fans assume to many things. There are fans that assume Hart hired Sal, Fans that Assume Gruden is taking the job, heck there are even fans that still assume we will win the national championship next year.

It is great to cheer for your team no matter what but you have to have realistic goals. Could we possibly win the SEC east next year? Yes we could possibly win the East next year. Can we go 10 and 2 in regular season next year? Sure. Can we go 14-0 next season? Not likely.

So fans, show up at the game saturday, have your orange on and cheer for the team we have on the field right now. I dont care which player it is, the fans can get them fired up.

I am one of many who have the opinion Hart hired Sunseri and gave him complete authority to run the defense..that opinion was formed due to Dooley stating repeatedly he had nothing to do with the defense..have you ever known a head football coach at any level make this statement..when the question was getting enormous attention on talk shows and among fans..all of a sudden Dooley gets to take over the defense...it appears to me that Hart over stepped his boundaries if this is what happened...I agree with the TV sports show host who said we will probably never know the truth on this..
I think UT will beat Mizzu so I must think the defense is going to play better...we'll see..

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features