Tennessee players take news of Derek Dooley's firing in stride

James: 'We just have to try and adapt to the new head coach'

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel
Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane carries the ball against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Amy Smotherman Burgess/News Sentinel Tennessee tailback Marlin Lane carries the ball against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday.

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Jim Chaney speaks as Vols interim head coach

If nothing else, Jim Chaney has his players' attention.

Chaney began his first team meeting as interim head coach Monday morning by producing an air horn and honking it loudly in front of bleary-eyed and incredulous players.

"I think everyone was still half asleep," said running back Marlin Lane. "It woke everybody up. He said, 'It's ( Derek Dooley's firing) a sudden change but don't let anything keep us down. We're going to keep a smile on our face and just go out there and execute everything that we do.' "

Players practiced Monday for the first time since Dooley was fired a day earlier.

Sunday's news was not shocking. Not long after returning home from Nashville early Sunday, players received a text about an 11 a.m. team meeting. They knew what was coming, and most players took the news in stride.

"It's just part of the profession," said offensive lineman Ju'Wuan James. "When I got here, two days later, coach (Lane) Kiffin was gone. So it's just another coach."

The Vols (4-7, 0-7 SEC) finish the season against Kentucky (2-9, 0-7) on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium.

"It just seemed weird not to see Coach Dooley here to talk to us to start the week off, but once everything got started it was business as usual," said safety Byron Moore.

Offensive lineman Antonio "Tiny" Richardson said he knew that Dooley's tenure was likely coming to an end when the Vols struggled down the stretch.

"I anticipated it. I'm not going to lie," he said. "It's a business. Coaches come and go. That's just the way it is. I love Coach Dooley. He's done a lot for me personally. I appreciate everything he's done for me these last two years, but you've got to move forward."

Lane said he thought the school would wait until after the season to make the move. Linebacker Jacques Smith said he was hoping Dooley would be given another year.

"He put this program to where we need to be to be in a path for success. It just didn't happen this year," Smith said. "I believe if he had another year, we could've made it happen. But that's just my opinion."

As with any head coach, Dooley was closer with some players than others. Some members of the team were saddened by his departure, while others might be looking forward to a fresh start with a new coach.

"Some guys are going to miss him, some guys just know it's part of the business. That's just how it is," Smith said.

James said he hopes to speak with athletic director Dave Hart to lobby him to keep offensive line coach Sam Pittman.

The Vols' line has made huge strides under Pittman in 2012. The running backs also have done well under first-year coach Jay Graham, a former Tennessee player.

But decisions on the coaching staff will ultimately come down to the new coach. And players don't know who that will be.

"We just have to try and adapt to the new head coach," James said. "We have a mature group of guys, so I feel like we'll be able to."

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

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Comments » 39

chaos001 writes:

I agree with keeping Pittman and Graham. They've done very well at their respective positions this year.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

there soft world is coming to end...soon it will be time to learn what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer.

Tenn_Traveler writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go away idiot!!!

florida-volfan writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Forget you....

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I'm impressed with the attitudes displayed by the players/upperclassmen..They will have me screaming my head off as usual on Saturday..GBO!!

Ironcity writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Some of you are really jerks

td writes:

This post will no doubt be controversial, but I cannot find a better explanation for what transpired Saturday night in Nashville. This is not your Dad's Vanderbilt team. Got that, check. But how does an offense as prolific as Tennessee's turn in such a dud when the defense actually displayed some pulse (in the first half, maybe the best defensive performance of the season, minus one screen pass).

Did a group from the offensive side decide to sabotage the game in order NOT to go to a bowl? This scenario has Kentucky 2011 all over it. As I recall, the 2011 seniors complained about younger guys not wanting "to play in a sh*tty bowl." By losing in Lexington, they guaranteed sleep in time in December.

Same scenario faced Tennessee in 2012. Win against Vandy and Kentuck and go bowling -- but a lower tier destination. A second time loss to Kentucky in as many years (especially in Neyland) would be unthinkable; so in Nashville, they don't play to potential, lose to Vanderbilt, and ensure the Vols remain Home for the Holidays.

Now, for Saturday, look for a lights out display of offensive precision. Last time on Shields-Watkins and a performance to remember as they depart early for the NFL.

I hope I'm wrong in this conspiracy theory, ... but what if I'm not?

scvols writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

there soft world is coming to end...soon it will be time to learn what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer.

It's their, not there, your knowledge of grammar and football is about the same.

bigsalgivem6 writes:

Coach Chaney,

Please pound the rock this Saturday. Run it on every play. Let Jay Graham win this game for Tennessee. Run Lane, run Neal, put Patterson in the Wildcat and give him as many touches as you possibly can. Don't take your foot off the gas. Save the passing for late in the 3rd Qtr. when KYs D-line in gasping for breath. Prove to us you are not a loser like Dooley. You guys would have had different results all season if you didn't get so darn pass happy and abandon the run game. Give the team and the Tennessee faithful something to believe in. Go out there and stomp a mudhole in KYs pathetic a** and walk it dry!

Sincerely,

VFL

frblalack writes:

Disappointed to hear Bray's starting. I don't think he should be allowed to see the field the way he jobbed Coach Dooley & mailed it in against Vandy. As a matter of fact, Bray folded in every single SEC game. He wouldn't have made the tackle which Worley saved for a touchdown, and he's a proven loser when pressured. When was the last time he scrambled for a first down? Hope he does go to the NFL next year; doubt seriously if he'll be able to handle it. Million dollar arm, 10-cent ...

Vol for Life - A good man and a good coach deserved better!!!

underthehill writes:

in response to frblalack:

Disappointed to hear Bray's starting. I don't think he should be allowed to see the field the way he jobbed Coach Dooley & mailed it in against Vandy. As a matter of fact, Bray folded in every single SEC game. He wouldn't have made the tackle which Worley saved for a touchdown, and he's a proven loser when pressured. When was the last time he scrambled for a first down? Hope he does go to the NFL next year; doubt seriously if he'll be able to handle it. Million dollar arm, 10-cent ...

Vol for Life - A good man and a good coach deserved better!!!

Saw a former Vol player on TV state if they had a player like Bray when he was on the team he would have got his a-- kicked.. I will not be among the weeping to see this clown leave town..

kd45music writes:

What a mess. Aside from a few players, we need to start from scratch, not just the coaches but the players as well. I've never been a Bray fan. Cut him loose if the NFL wants him.

lomas98 writes:

Players leaving due to loyalty to their coach has put tn in this personnel position over the last several years. Players were loyal to fulmer and either left or decommitted. Kiffins players were loyal to him and left when dooley was hired. I don't see the player attrition happening this time. Some of the players comments suggest as such and they will just continue on. Even if some our commitments change their allegiance, it won't matter much at this point. This recruiting class wasn't lighting it up anyway and the best player had already decommitted. Depending on who is hired, more players may now look at tn.

chaos001 writes:

I wouldn't put it past Bray to throw the games...especially if he were being paid to do so.

WNCVOLFANOF8 writes:

I honestly believe Dooley did a good job turning the lame kiffin debacle around but DIDN'T know what to do with the talent he has and had. We have to hit a homerun with this hire for sure. I can say this though if we hire Al Golden I will NOT come back to Knoxville till he is fired. He is not a homerun. I also believe that last years Kentucky game was sabotaged and hated it for the seniors that deserved better. I have defended Bray ever since the Carolina game when people called him a punk for the throat slashing towards the bench. After watching a replay of the Kentucky game and the Vandy game I am catching myself wondering if he isn't behind all of this.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll buy the Pampers myself..if you'll throw them. R.I.P.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to bigsalgivem6:

Coach Chaney,

Please pound the rock this Saturday. Run it on every play. Let Jay Graham win this game for Tennessee. Run Lane, run Neal, put Patterson in the Wildcat and give him as many touches as you possibly can. Don't take your foot off the gas. Save the passing for late in the 3rd Qtr. when KYs D-line in gasping for breath. Prove to us you are not a loser like Dooley. You guys would have had different results all season if you didn't get so darn pass happy and abandon the run game. Give the team and the Tennessee faithful something to believe in. Go out there and stomp a mudhole in KYs pathetic a** and walk it dry!

Sincerely,

VFL

And tell Patterson to stop acting like an idiot when he sniffs the end zone. He is on a 4-7 team for Pete's sake

ktemaque1 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go to your own team's board, Troll! You are in no way at all a VOL fan!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to chaos001:

I wouldn't put it past Bray to throw the games...especially if he were being paid to do so.

No, someone gave him a dime bag and he agreed to throw the game.

FanNotSheep writes:

From what I've heard directly from a former player, the guys aren't that fond of Dooley. And neither were his assistants. Micro-management and a propensity for blaming others for his own shortcomings apparently did not exactly endear him to his team and staff.

BTW, does Hart remind anyone else of the Crypt Creep?

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to chaos001:

I wouldn't put it past Bray to throw the games...especially if he were being paid to do so.

If they paid Bray, they must have really doled out the cash to the defense. Without Tyler Bray Tennessee would have been totally embarrassed in every single game this year.

Bray, Hunter and CP have NFL talent, but Bray has a ton to learn about his position, Hunter needs to work on holding on to the ball and CP needs to learn to run routes and get on the same page as his QB. I don't think any of them took bribes but if they ever get their heads in the game they could all be millionaires.

TheStupidPolice writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sir, you are under arrest for trolling. You have the right to remain silent...

ashvol7 writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with your post. Last Saturdays game had last years Kentucky game written all over it. I really hope Bray leaves, his attitude will kill him in the NFL. It is almost like the prisoners running the prison. Hunter dropping a pass in the end zone that hit him in the numbers. I hope Chaney has enough sense to see through Bray and start Worley. I wouldn't play Bray another down. He doesn't deserve to be a VOL.

62vol writes:

in response to frblalack:

Disappointed to hear Bray's starting. I don't think he should be allowed to see the field the way he jobbed Coach Dooley & mailed it in against Vandy. As a matter of fact, Bray folded in every single SEC game. He wouldn't have made the tackle which Worley saved for a touchdown, and he's a proven loser when pressured. When was the last time he scrambled for a first down? Hope he does go to the NFL next year; doubt seriously if he'll be able to handle it. Million dollar arm, 10-cent ...

Vol for Life - A good man and a good coach deserved better!!!

Using 20-20 hindsight, it has become clear that Dooley trusted too much in the potential of Bray and his gifted but bone-headed receivers. Da'Rick Rodgers and Hunter and Patterson often ran the wrong routes. Bray, had he grown up could have been a great Vol. Dooley was probably too much of a good guy to have gotten tough enough with them. Looking back, we would have won more games with those four out of the picture. Some may argue that they were great players and therefore should have started but they did not deliver when it mattered. Why did I include Hunter? He screwed up the hitch and go every time he ran it when we really needed to make a play. His dropped passes in the Vandy game alone would have changed the game.
Zack Rodgers ended up being the best of the receivers.
I saw a replay of the Mo. game where Bray threw the ball out of bounds on a 3rd. and 4 when he could have run for a first down.
Now, we have closure to all of this and after all, tomorrow is another day.

exlineman writes:

in response to 62vol:

Using 20-20 hindsight, it has become clear that Dooley trusted too much in the potential of Bray and his gifted but bone-headed receivers. Da'Rick Rodgers and Hunter and Patterson often ran the wrong routes. Bray, had he grown up could have been a great Vol. Dooley was probably too much of a good guy to have gotten tough enough with them. Looking back, we would have won more games with those four out of the picture. Some may argue that they were great players and therefore should have started but they did not deliver when it mattered. Why did I include Hunter? He screwed up the hitch and go every time he ran it when we really needed to make a play. His dropped passes in the Vandy game alone would have changed the game.
Zack Rodgers ended up being the best of the receivers.
I saw a replay of the Mo. game where Bray threw the ball out of bounds on a 3rd. and 4 when he could have run for a first down.
Now, we have closure to all of this and after all, tomorrow is another day.

Good post there 62vol, agree with everything you posted. I felt Zach was not used nearly as much as he should have been used.

tnvol34 writes:

When Patterson is in the backfield, you, me and everyone else knows he is going to get the football! Change it up!, use him in the backfield as a decoy sometimes!, and throw the ball! You don't have to be a football genius to know that! Bray could be a good QB, if he had an attitude adjustment! He is wasting his talent, so is Hunter!

tnvol34 writes:

I agree that new coach should keep Pittman as OLINE COACH, he did a great job, and so did OLINE! Z Rogers would do well in NFL! He has speed and cacthes the ball better than Hunter! Hunter could do better if he had more discipline!

jt45 writes:

Funny how all season long it was the defense that was costing us games, flash forward to post Vandy and suddenly everything is Brays fault. With the team and coaches falling apart like they have this year why should he be any different. Bray just needs a coach who knows how to be a leader. He hasent had that yet at UT. I find it remarkable that he has put up the numbers he has, given all the adversity this group has been through.

oldster writes:

Of course they took Dooley's firing in stride. The way they played this year, particularly vs. the last three teams, they wanted him gone. In fact, the way they all played, they are the ones that should have been fired.

oldster writes:

in response to frblalack:

Disappointed to hear Bray's starting. I don't think he should be allowed to see the field the way he jobbed Coach Dooley & mailed it in against Vandy. As a matter of fact, Bray folded in every single SEC game. He wouldn't have made the tackle which Worley saved for a touchdown, and he's a proven loser when pressured. When was the last time he scrambled for a first down? Hope he does go to the NFL next year; doubt seriously if he'll be able to handle it. Million dollar arm, 10-cent ...

Vol for Life - A good man and a good coach deserved better!!!

Thank you for agreeing with a post I made after the Florida game when I said that Bray had a million dollar arm, attached to a 10 cent body, with an IOU brain. My opinion has not changed. Any NFL team that gives him any money is wasting it as much as those who gave money to Vince Young and Ryan Leaf.

oldster writes:

in response to kd45music:

What a mess. Aside from a few players, we need to start from scratch, not just the coaches but the players as well. I've never been a Bray fan. Cut him loose if the NFL wants him.

Cut him loose even if they do not. He is at least as big a cancer as Da'Rop. While getting rid of cancers, take Hunter and Patterson.

oldster writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

And tell Patterson to stop acting like an idiot when he sniffs the end zone. He is on a 4-7 team for Pete's sake

Team? Team? Do you think Patterson cares about the team? He, Hunter, and Bray are all about themselves. That is the problem with guys who think they are NFL bound. They quit caring, if they ever did, about the team.

oldster writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

If they paid Bray, they must have really doled out the cash to the defense. Without Tyler Bray Tennessee would have been totally embarrassed in every single game this year.

Bray, Hunter and CP have NFL talent, but Bray has a ton to learn about his position, Hunter needs to work on holding on to the ball and CP needs to learn to run routes and get on the same page as his QB. I don't think any of them took bribes but if they ever get their heads in the game they could all be millionaires.

Yes, and if I had their talent I would be, too. While you are asking for miracles, ask for the US government to find fiscal sanity.

oldster writes:

in response to tnvol34:

I agree that new coach should keep Pittman as OLINE COACH, he did a great job, and so did OLINE! Z Rogers would do well in NFL! He has speed and cacthes the ball better than Hunter! Hunter could do better if he had more discipline!

Unless his career is cut short by injuries, Z.Rogers will have a longer career in the league than either Patterson or Hunter, but when they start getting paychecks which depend upon their production, they will do better. Bray, however, has personality flaws that will prevent him from being a success at anything unless and until he gets a transplant.

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

Talk about Bray all you want, but I don tunderstand why you guys are going after Patterson. He is by far the most talented player on the team if not the entire conference (maybe one of the most talented in the nation). He reminds me of Devin Hester except with better lateral cutting ability. Yes, he got a penalty or two for celebrating, but every Miami player used to get that and nobody cared...and Patterson is a genuinely nice kid, so he will grow out of that. He has never had the attitude problems that Bray had, and he has given his all for us. If you ask me, he has been one of the rare bright spots for us this season, and if he stays for next year, I am predicting Heisman talk for Patterson. We are lucky to have him.

oldster writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

Talk about Bray all you want, but I don tunderstand why you guys are going after Patterson. He is by far the most talented player on the team if not the entire conference (maybe one of the most talented in the nation). He reminds me of Devin Hester except with better lateral cutting ability. Yes, he got a penalty or two for celebrating, but every Miami player used to get that and nobody cared...and Patterson is a genuinely nice kid, so he will grow out of that. He has never had the attitude problems that Bray had, and he has given his all for us. If you ask me, he has been one of the rare bright spots for us this season, and if he stays for next year, I am predicting Heisman talk for Patterson. We are lucky to have him.

I do not know Patterson as personally as you do, Dragon, so I must concede to your knowledge as to him being a good kid. Further, I think his taunting penalties were B.S. calls. I blame the officials for wanting air time more than I do him. The problem that I have with him is his inability to learn. Evidently, he has significant issues with learning patterns and his classes. The latter might not cost him money, but the former sure as heck will.

DannyVol writes:

I agree with a lot being said about Bray. I'm just sick to death of him. Please let the freaking Jets or the like have him in April and let's see what Worley can do. Look at almost every quarterback in the league and you'll see a winner from the inside out; look at our more talented one and you see a prima donna with a stupid tattoo, beard, and overall expression on his face. While the quarterbacks at Bama, Fla, Ga, SC, OM, MSSt, Vandy, Mizz, TAMU, are leading their teams, ours is throwing tantrums or clowning. When you hear these other quarterbacks interviewed, they are usually polite and engaging and it's often "yes, sir" and "no ma'am." Every time Bray is interviewed, he sounds like a bored pot head. I have a hunch that Worley is a character guy and regardless of who is coaching or if Bray stays, I hope he is under center in 2013.

rockofrockytop writes:

So, let me get this straight, we have a majority of folks who want to run Bray out of town with Dooley. We're talking about the Bray who, along with CP and Rogers, has been one of the highlights of this Tennessee team this year. He's had 1 bad game this year (Vandy) and has been asked to carry this team on his shoulders on the others. Has he made mistakes, yes. Would most quarterbacks if asked to save the team week in and week out, yes. Wake up and get over yourselves before you actually get what you hope for. At that point in time, we will be in trouble.

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to td:

This post will no doubt be controversial, but I cannot find a better explanation for what transpired Saturday night in Nashville. This is not your Dad's Vanderbilt team. Got that, check. But how does an offense as prolific as Tennessee's turn in such a dud when the defense actually displayed some pulse (in the first half, maybe the best defensive performance of the season, minus one screen pass).

Did a group from the offensive side decide to sabotage the game in order NOT to go to a bowl? This scenario has Kentucky 2011 all over it. As I recall, the 2011 seniors complained about younger guys not wanting "to play in a sh*tty bowl." By losing in Lexington, they guaranteed sleep in time in December.

Same scenario faced Tennessee in 2012. Win against Vandy and Kentuck and go bowling -- but a lower tier destination. A second time loss to Kentucky in as many years (especially in Neyland) would be unthinkable; so in Nashville, they don't play to potential, lose to Vanderbilt, and ensure the Vols remain Home for the Holidays.

Now, for Saturday, look for a lights out display of offensive precision. Last time on Shields-Watkins and a performance to remember as they depart early for the NFL.

I hope I'm wrong in this conspiracy theory, ... but what if I'm not?

Did you notice Bray's behavior on the sidelines? Is it just me, or was he acting a bit strange? His body language, his facial expressions, etc. At times there was a lot of talking between him, Hunter, and Patterson.

I don't know for sure,...maybe I'm reading too much into it; but it sure makes you wonder doesn't it!!!

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