Tennessee players try not to focus on Derek Dooley rumors

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) intercepts a pass meant for Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (15) during the first quarter against Missouri at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner (23) intercepts a pass meant for Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (15) during the first quarter against Missouri at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Derek Dooley reviews the Vols' 51-48 loss to Missouri

Tennessee's players are on Twitter. They own cellphones. And they have friends.

All that contributed to a busy weekend as rumors swirled about the tenuous job status of their coach Derek Dooley.

"It's pretty hard," UT offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James said on Monday. "You guys ask us. Our families ask us. We get phone calls from parents. But I feel like we've got a lot of mature guys that can handle it now. We just all want to win, bottom line."

Running back Devrin Young grew up in Knoxville, so the speculation is magnified because many of his friends from high school are Vols fans.

"One of the biggest things Coach Dooley tells us is to not focus on the things you can't control," Young said. "That's all you can do in a situation like this. Being from here, I hear about it as much or maybe more than some of you guys. I'm getting text messages, calls, people on Twitter. Every time I turn around I'm hearing something about it, but I'm giving them the same answers I am giving you all and that's to focus on things that I can control."

*After Monday morning's meeting in which Dooley addressed the rumors with his team, practice returned to normal, players said.

"He's handling it as best as you can," Young said. "He's staying positive. He's not being affected in any way by it. He's focused on us. He's focused on Vanderbilt."

Senior cornerback Prentiss Waggner said Dooley's demeanor was unchanged in practice as the Vols started to prepare for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt.

"From my point of view, I think he has handled it really well. Today he was out there smiling, cracking jokes with me, Eric Gordon, Byron Moore and all of those guys," Waggner said. "I pretty much didn't see a difference."

* One of 13 seniors on the roster, Waggner said it's starting to set in that his college career is almost over.

"These are my last two weeks, so distractions are pretty much the last thing I'm worried about," Waggner said. "I'm just looking forward to going out with a bang and just really having fun these last two weeks."

*Dooley refused to back down from his decision to run out the clock rather than try for a game-winning field goal in regulation in last Saturday's 51-48, four-overtime loss to Missouri.

"Everybody is making a huge deal about that," Dooley said.

Fans booed loudly when it became clear that Tennessee would not try again after failing to move the ball in two plays at its own 39.

Dooley said he planned to go for the victory, but two botched plays forced him to change his mind.

"I answered it after the game and I don't feel any differently," Dooley said. "I think there were about 35 seconds and we had a third-and-10. I just didn't have confidence that we were going to get it and then, all of a sudden, you put the best player on their whole team (punt returner Marcus Murphy) out on the field to change the game, and I didn't want to do that. I felt like we could beat them in overtime."

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Comments » 46

Rumblefish writes:

"Players try not to focus on Derek Dooley rumors"....uhhh, yeah right. Who are they trying to fool???

Come on folks. We know better than this.

pingkr62 writes:

I truly feel for the players. They are left swinging in the wind because it seems no one want to make a decision. Poor leadership from above.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why don't you take a drink of your own Koolaide and choke on it, please.

laraccoon writes:

the look on Brays face as Dooley decided to let the clock run out said it all , these guys know Dooley is a lame duck . hopefully whoever they announce as next coach will make some of these guys want to stay. Some of you can beach bout how out recruited we were but that aint true , we had enough talent to hang with bout anyone .

pingkr62 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

the look on Brays face as Dooley decided to let the clock run out said it all , these guys know Dooley is a lame duck . hopefully whoever they announce as next coach will make some of these guys want to stay. Some of you can beach bout how out recruited we were but that aint true , we had enough talent to hang with bout anyone .

In my opinion, there have been times when this team showed flashes of brilliance, just not nearly enough flashes.

Vols_fan_27 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I truly feel for the players. They are left swinging in the wind because it seems no one want to make a decision. Poor leadership from above.

Have to say I agree... I commend the fact that these players continue to give everything they have for Tennessee, they can't control who is in charge of them. However, the fact we have yet to hear anything out of the AD is disappointing. When you have such rumors flying around, it would be nice for the person in charge of our athletic programs to step up and at least confirm or deny anything... either way...GBO!

GatorHater1998 writes:

There's no way these players can drown out all of the "fire Dooley" talk. I wonder if bray, hunter, or patterson will stay when Dooley is fired.

Rumblefish writes:

That big elephant in the locker room ain't Bama's mascot!

AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Vols_fan_27:

Have to say I agree... I commend the fact that these players continue to give everything they have for Tennessee, they can't control who is in charge of them. However, the fact we have yet to hear anything out of the AD is disappointing. When you have such rumors flying around, it would be nice for the person in charge of our athletic programs to step up and at least confirm or deny anything... either way...GBO!

Someone needs to grow a spine. G.B.O.!!!

Vols_fan_27 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Someone needs to grow a spine. G.B.O.!!!

Absolutely!

Volunatic writes:

in response to GatorHater1998:

There's no way these players can drown out all of the "fire Dooley" talk. I wonder if bray, hunter, or patterson will stay when Dooley is fired.

I think Hunter will probably be back-- I don't think he has had a "1st-rounder" kind of season.
If Dooley is fired and replaced by a proven offensive mastermind, then it becomes slightly more likely that Bray returns.
I don't foresee any scenario in which Patterson decides to stay next season-- he's an early 1st-round lock, and will be a multi- multi- millionaire this time next season.
I wish all three of them well, regardless. It would be nice to see the Vols finish this season with two regular-season wins and a bowl win, but that would surprise me greatly at this point.

GatorHater1998 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

I think Hunter will probably be back-- I don't think he has had a "1st-rounder" kind of season.
If Dooley is fired and replaced by a proven offensive mastermind, then it becomes slightly more likely that Bray returns.
I don't foresee any scenario in which Patterson decides to stay next season-- he's an early 1st-round lock, and will be a multi- multi- millionaire this time next season.
I wish all three of them well, regardless. It would be nice to see the Vols finish this season with two regular-season wins and a bowl win, but that would surprise me greatly at this point.

Funny you say that, because Hunter is higher on most mock drafts than Patterson. Patterson is listed as mid-2nd round. Hunter is listed as 10-15th pick.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to GatorHater1998:

Funny you say that, because Hunter is higher on most mock drafts than Patterson. Patterson is listed as mid-2nd round. Hunter is listed as 10-15th pick.

I think they should all return. Another year of college ball can't hurt. I know Tyler Bray could use it. I don't want to sound critical, but he could use another year in both the film and weight room. G.B.O.!!!

tuvol4u (Inactive) writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

"Players try not to focus on Derek Dooley rumors"....uhhh, yeah right. Who are they trying to fool???

Come on folks. We know better than this.

are you 15? i think its time for you to go to bed. Your mom needs the computer back.

tuvol4u (Inactive) writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I think they should all return. Another year of college ball can't hurt. I know Tyler Bray could use it. I don't want to sound critical, but he could use another year in both the film and weight room. G.B.O.!!!

they wont return. why would they want to play for a university that bad mouths its coaches and each other?

ashvol7 writes:

These kids have lapses at the wrong time, Hunter dropping passes that hit him in the numbers or hands, they just don't stay focused. Alot of this comming with the lack of side line coaching. Or could it be they are slow learners? Dooley just doesn't have good game day, and game management IMO. Hart, Dooley and Sal need a new zip code,NOW.

Vols20 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

I think Hunter will probably be back-- I don't think he has had a "1st-rounder" kind of season.
If Dooley is fired and replaced by a proven offensive mastermind, then it becomes slightly more likely that Bray returns.
I don't foresee any scenario in which Patterson decides to stay next season-- he's an early 1st-round lock, and will be a multi- multi- millionaire this time next season.
I wish all three of them well, regardless. It would be nice to see the Vols finish this season with two regular-season wins and a bowl win, but that would surprise me greatly at this point.

Well, you must have insight that pro scouts don't. Hunter is projected as a first round lock and Patterson a second rounder. Also, scouts look at upside and not at pure numbers. They see a tall, athletic, fast kid with a huge vertical who has great hands. He is a potential game changer in the NFL. Patterson is more "raw" and not as NFL ready as a WR.

voodoo101 writes:

in response to Vols_fan_27:

Have to say I agree... I commend the fact that these players continue to give everything they have for Tennessee, they can't control who is in charge of them. However, the fact we have yet to hear anything out of the AD is disappointing. When you have such rumors flying around, it would be nice for the person in charge of our athletic programs to step up and at least confirm or deny anything... either way...GBO!

I agree, and what is so hard for people to understand that no statement means there is no change. You can believe that if and when change comes it will be a very public announcement by official UT staff. The real tragedy is that the Adams and Climers and all the rest have a forum to spout their rumors. People here would put an old ladies' phone network rumor mill to shame.

Sunshine27 writes:

I see a lot of blame going to Dooley, and rightfully so. But when will it be realized that our players continually get beat by the opposing player. When a db is in man coverage or cov 3 they have one job...don't get beat deep. The d line never gets any pressure on the qb, we always lose contain in crucial situations, and our linebackers can never cover anyone out of the backfield. C'mon...blame the players for being lousy players as much as you blame Dooley for being a lousy coach.

tractoronthepole writes:

Bray should go on to NFL, he is as good as he is ever going to be. I think we have more upside and leadership waiting to play on the sideline with Worley.

thevoice writes:

in response to pingkr62:

In my opinion, there have been times when this team showed flashes of brilliance, just not nearly enough flashes.

Sounds about like every team that finishes 3-9, 6-6, etc. Vandy pre-Franklin.

Sunshine27 writes:

in response to tractoronthepole:

Bray should go on to NFL, he is as good as he is ever going to be. I think we have more upside and leadership waiting to play on the sideline with Worley.

You ever notice Bray and Worley rarely talk. I don't think they like each other.

born2ride writes:

These guys will play their hearts out to win for their beloved coach.

We will beat Vandy and Kentucky. Go to a bowl game and beat a crappy ACC team.

We win 7 games. Dooley gets another year.

We fire Sal and bring in Chavez. Our offense is great we just need a defense and a kicker.

Go Big Vols!

Orange For Life!

PUL4VOLS writes:

The AD probably has not secured a proven replacement coach. Everyone is saying how crucial that will be in this situation. So whatever is said will be said. The players at least seem to be trying to stay focused. That shows their character. So let's let it play out and we will know when we are suppose to know what will be happening in the next few weeks.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to tuvol4u:

are you 15? i think its time for you to go to bed. Your mom needs the computer back.

time for you to stop sniffing Dooley's jock. get real, dude.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to born2ride:

These guys will play their hearts out to win for their beloved coach.

We will beat Vandy and Kentucky. Go to a bowl game and beat a crappy ACC team.

We win 7 games. Dooley gets another year.

We fire Sal and bring in Chavez. Our offense is great we just need a defense and a kicker.

Go Big Vols!

Orange For Life!

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Love the sarcasm!!! Not sure most folks will get it though, and will probably take you serious :(

Especially like you calling Chavis, "Chavez". OMG...too funny!!!!

arkansasvol1975 writes:

Wagner said coach Dooley was joking around with him, Gordon, and Moore during practice. I don't doubt he was. I mean, when he is fired, he will be given $5 million. Hell I would be laughing out there and not care either. Now, if his contract said he wouldn't be paid a dime if fired, my guess is ole Dooley would be sweating bullets right now. Why should he care when you make that kind of money. This is why I don't like the NFL, coaches and players are making mega bucks and most of them seem as if they don't care if they win or lose.

Volunatic writes:

in response to GatorHater1998:

Funny you say that, because Hunter is higher on most mock drafts than Patterson. Patterson is listed as mid-2nd round. Hunter is listed as 10-15th pick.

That's interesting. I would say most of those people making up the mock drafts haven't been watching Patterson, then.

utfan36 writes:

UT needs to go ahead and come out with it ! ever body knows he is out the door!should have seen Harts face after that lose we should have one ! let the clock run out when you have bray,patterson,hunter and one of the best offense line inyears (5 sacks allowed all year ) come one strap it up!! dont put these kids threw this come out with it!

jobrando#216494 writes:

With Dools on the sideline Vandy wins. No Dools on the sideline we win.

gdkvols#660587 writes:

The FACT is that given the same Offensive Coord. for three years, Dooley has presided over a prolific Offense (despite our defense not being able to get off the field!).

How quickly people forget that Justin Wilcox left after his second year (when we finished 28th nationally in defense, 13 in passing defense). If we had just that same defense as last year, we might be undefeated.

Firing Dooley insures that Bray, Hunter, and Patterson leave. The smart thing to do here is to absorb the cost, and get a PROVEN DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR for next year.

Flyfisherman writes:

What are the chances that a new coach is already under contract, with both sides have agreeing to hold the announcement pending season's end and potential bowl for the new coach at his current team?

Cousin_Eddie writes:

One more loss and it's the first time in UT history to have a losing record 3 years in a row.

Two more losses and it's the first 8 loss season in Tennessee history.

Come on, guys, don't go down like that!

Cousin_Eddie writes:

in response to Flyfisherman:

What are the chances that a new coach is already under contract, with both sides have agreeing to hold the announcement pending season's end and potential bowl for the new coach at his current team?

0.000%

Vol_in_Mich writes:

Going back to the game, did anyone else notice Sal back on the sideline in the second half? Just wondering, thought I saw him. I doubt if it matters.
It's a shame things have come to this. I feel bad for the kids, how can this not distract them? I doubt we'll hear anything untill the season's over. I hope the powers that be do a better job this time, the Vols deserve better.

GBO - Wait Till Year After Next

pms151 writes:

Unless Dooley cuts off access to the web, talk radio and newspapers this is an impossible task. Sportswriters and sports talking heads on the web and talk radio are focused on getting Dooley fired. Not to mention student interaction on campus. They do not care about the players.

hueypilot writes:

in response to gdkvols#660587:

The FACT is that given the same Offensive Coord. for three years, Dooley has presided over a prolific Offense (despite our defense not being able to get off the field!).

How quickly people forget that Justin Wilcox left after his second year (when we finished 28th nationally in defense, 13 in passing defense). If we had just that same defense as last year, we might be undefeated.

Firing Dooley insures that Bray, Hunter, and Patterson leave. The smart thing to do here is to absorb the cost, and get a PROVEN DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR for next year.

I've seen this stat bandied about a lot adn I would assume we finished much higher in run defense. You will recall the South Carolina and Bama games last year when Saban and Spurrier were content to run the ball and if they didn't make a first down kick it back because our offense was so woeful it couldn't make a first down. I think the defense ranking last year was tempered strongly because our offense was so impotent the only way teams felt they could lose to us was make a big mistake and give us a gift of a turnover. Vandy used to be among the leaders in the country in pass defense in the predominately conservative SEC because teams didn't HAVE to pass on us. What you have to ask about Wilcox's defenses is how were they against teams in our big games. Remember Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, They destroyed Wilcox's defense. So enought with the Wilcox was great stuff. That defense was almost as embarassing as this one. I said almost. This one is worse.

Ayres_Hall writes:

It's so easy for many of you to blame this all on Derek Dooley. But all of this started around 2003 when the University, it's athletic department, and the football program all went on cruise control. Everyone was getting fat and happy. The University President, the AD, and the Head Football Coach.

Derek Dooley is clearly not the answer to fixing the problems but he was the guy who stepped up and took it all on. Maybe too much. And until the Miss. State game, he was effectively doing the job we needed.

Thanks Derek.

WelovePat writes:

in response to laraccoon:

the look on Brays face as Dooley decided to let the clock run out said it all , these guys know Dooley is a lame duck . hopefully whoever they announce as next coach will make some of these guys want to stay. Some of you can beach bout how out recruited we were but that aint true , we had enough talent to hang with bout anyone .

Bray has been acting like a 5 year old...stomping his feet and throwing his arms in the air. TOTAL DISRESPECT FOR AUTHORITY!!! If he would suck it up and do his job the negative vibes he's giving off wouldnt' effect the team as much as they probably do. We as NON COACHES can all second guess the ones that are by saying what we would do in any given situation...but until you are there...you never know!!1

TucsonVol writes:

The players need to take ownership of this failure!!! They were on the main stage!! They might as well focus on DD's future, it is certain they cannot be focused enough to win ball games!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

Why is he still here?

BigOrangeRock writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

It's so easy for many of you to blame this all on Derek Dooley. But all of this started around 2003 when the University, it's athletic department, and the football program all went on cruise control. Everyone was getting fat and happy. The University President, the AD, and the Head Football Coach.

Derek Dooley is clearly not the answer to fixing the problems but he was the guy who stepped up and took it all on. Maybe too much. And until the Miss. State game, he was effectively doing the job we needed.

Thanks Derek.

Way to slither in here and drop a turd like that... Your man-love for Dooley apparently knows no bounds other than to try and blame the head coach almost TEN YEARS AGO.

Did Fulmer lose to Missouri? No.
Have you had man-love for Dooley because you were one of the ones screaming for Fulmer to go? Yes

Also, what exactly was the job we needed Dooleave to do prior to Mississippi state? Was it to LOSE TO KENTUCKY? Or maybe NOT GO TO A BOWL? Or was it having the team QUIT in the 4th quarter against Arkansas??

No, don't come in here and try to drop a turd like that and think you can just leave without being called on it. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, NOT FULMER.

jt45 writes:

in response to WelovePat:

Bray has been acting like a 5 year old...stomping his feet and throwing his arms in the air. TOTAL DISRESPECT FOR AUTHORITY!!! If he would suck it up and do his job the negative vibes he's giving off wouldnt' effect the team as much as they probably do. We as NON COACHES can all second guess the ones that are by saying what we would do in any given situation...but until you are there...you never know!!1

Funny you should say that since most of the folks, (even Dooley supporters) felt the same way Bray did when Dooley quit on him with 35 seconds left in regulation. Not too many coaches would pull a stunt like that with the offense we have.As a fan who has waited patiently for 3 yrs for Dooley to fix the problems and get this team running on all cylinders, I knew at THAT very moment that no matter what the final score he would never have confidence to lead the Vols to victory. How can you possibly expect these players to have confidence in their coach when he shows NONE in them during a key moment of the game. The is not the first time ive seen coach Dooley make this kind of decision, nor is it the first time ive seen Bray disappointed by a play call, but I sure dont think he was showing no respect for authority, in fact he had to go out and produce for 3 OT, thats alot of pressure when every call was a passing play. It was tough enough to watch, I cant even imagine how much pressure the kid was under.Yet here you are putting this on Bray. Unbelievable !

doctorvol#211700 writes:

in response to born2ride:

These guys will play their hearts out to win for their beloved coach.

We will beat Vandy and Kentucky. Go to a bowl game and beat a crappy ACC team.

We win 7 games. Dooley gets another year.

We fire Sal and bring in Chavez. Our offense is great we just need a defense and a kicker.

Go Big Vols!

Orange For Life!

"some say that I'm a dreamer"

doctorvol#211700 writes:

in response to jt45:

Funny you should say that since most of the folks, (even Dooley supporters) felt the same way Bray did when Dooley quit on him with 35 seconds left in regulation. Not too many coaches would pull a stunt like that with the offense we have.As a fan who has waited patiently for 3 yrs for Dooley to fix the problems and get this team running on all cylinders, I knew at THAT very moment that no matter what the final score he would never have confidence to lead the Vols to victory. How can you possibly expect these players to have confidence in their coach when he shows NONE in them during a key moment of the game. The is not the first time ive seen coach Dooley make this kind of decision, nor is it the first time ive seen Bray disappointed by a play call, but I sure dont think he was showing no respect for authority, in fact he had to go out and produce for 3 OT, thats alot of pressure when every call was a passing play. It was tough enough to watch, I cant even imagine how much pressure the kid was under.Yet here you are putting this on Bray. Unbelievable !

agree totally. i was hanging in there with Dooley until the fourth quarter decisions, esp. late to quit. Agree with Fuad Reveiz' assessment that that was unacceptable and indefensible. Ironically, if we had played to win and remembered the running game earlier in the fourth quarter, one more first down would have won, allowing 21 points with the best defensive showing since NC state.

gdkvols#660587 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

I've seen this stat bandied about a lot adn I would assume we finished much higher in run defense. You will recall the South Carolina and Bama games last year when Saban and Spurrier were content to run the ball and if they didn't make a first down kick it back because our offense was so woeful it couldn't make a first down. I think the defense ranking last year was tempered strongly because our offense was so impotent the only way teams felt they could lose to us was make a big mistake and give us a gift of a turnover. Vandy used to be among the leaders in the country in pass defense in the predominately conservative SEC because teams didn't HAVE to pass on us. What you have to ask about Wilcox's defenses is how were they against teams in our big games. Remember Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, They destroyed Wilcox's defense. So enought with the Wilcox was great stuff. That defense was almost as embarassing as this one. I said almost. This one is worse.

Justin Wilcox would have been in his 3rd season, just like Jim Chaney is on offense. Wilcox's defense was much improved from year one to two. They would have been better this year.

Just look at what Wilcox did at Boise State, and at a vastly undermanned Washington this year (his first year there).

The SINGLE BIGGEST FACTOR in the Vols losing this season is that Wilcox left. I like coach Sal, but we need a PROVEN DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, not to "get rid of Dooley," as most people on this blog love to say.

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