Mike Strange: Mullen has given Mississippi State the stability Tennessee needs

Mike Strange
Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen watches from the sideline after his team scored a touchdown against Troy in the first half of a NCAA college football game in Troy, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen watches from the sideline after his team scored a touchdown against Troy in the first half of a NCAA college football game in Troy, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

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Back in 2008, the football season wasn't turning out as well as either Tennessee or Mississippi State hoped. Both ended up looking for a new coach.

It was tough for Tennessee to fire a national championship coach, Phillip Fulmer, It was tough for Mississippi State to dump the first African-American head football coach in the SEC, Sylvester Croom.

But they did.

Saturday night, when the Vols and Bulldogs meet in Starkville, State still has the guy it hired.

Tennessee doesn't. Let the debate begin on how much there is to be said for stability in the shark tank that is SEC football.

Midway through his fourth season at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen has an unbeaten, Top 25 team.

Lane Kiffin, the guy Tennessee hired in 2008, is also doing quite well — at Southern Cal.

Kiffin's successor at UT, Derek Dooley, doesn't have to worry about the Egg Bowl but he is still trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Tennessee fans are weary — and that's putting it mildly — of speculation as to where the program might be if Kiffin had stayed, if UT hadn't had to go through three coaches in three years.

So I'll focus on Mullen.

In his first head-coaching gig, the former Florida offensive coordinator is 26-17 overall, 11-15 SEC.

Over the same span, UT is 21-22 overall, 8-18 SEC.

Mullen's best year was his second, 2010, when State finished 9-4 and beat Michigan in the Gator Bowl.

That raised expectations and a 7-6 mark in 2011 was a letdown. At least it ended with a Music City Bowl victory.

Of Mullen's 11 SEC wins, he is 3-0 against rival Ole Miss, which has been down the past two years.

He has benefitted from having Kentucky as an annual SEC East rival. A 27-14 win in Lexington on Saturday made Mullen 4-0 against the Wildcats.

He also has beaten Georgia, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Florida (in Gainesville, no less).

Tennessee hasn't beaten Florida since 2004. Kiffin did get a win over Georgia in 2009. But, of course, the Vols can't claim a 4-0 record against Kentucky the past four years.

UT also has gone 0-2 in bowl games while Mullen is 2-0.

Stability, one would think, pays its biggest dividends in recruiting. Yet hear this:

In Kiffin's one year and Dooley's three, the Vols' signing classes have ranked significantly higher than State's, according to Rivals.com.

The catch is that State has probably retained more of its signees. Only a remnant of Kiffin's 2009

class is still around.

So here we are. The 19th-ranked Bulldogs are 5-0. Tennessee is 3-2. If you flipped the schedules, I believe the Vols would be 5-0 and State 3-2.

But the records are what they are. Mullen is a hero in Bulldog Country. Dooley is fighting for his job.

One conclusion to draw is that Mississippi State is better off for having the consistency of Mullen's leadership.

Another is that the expectations are different.

If Mullen hasn't beaten Alabama or LSU or even sniffed the SEC Championship Game, it's no reason to grease the skids.

UT was clearly disadvantaged by having to make that extra hire in 2010. In the end, however, Dooley will be held to a higher standard.

That's how it is at Tennessee. If the cards fall wrong, the Vols could be looking for a new coach after this season too.

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 » 42

Rosie writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly.

sameolvolalum writes:

Mike. Will you offer kudos to CDD if the Vols "upset" MSU? I think our guys will be just a bit too much for the bulldogs to handle.

Troll baiters. I just hit the "suggest removal" on couldn't-cut-college wannabilly. Resist the urge to repost the social misfit and just hit "suggest removal" also. Try being a VFL, too.

FWBVol writes:

I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt or even a reasonable doubt that Derek Dooley will get the job done, but I think he will. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that unless there is a complete meltdown in the last seven games Derek Dooley should be back in 2013.

For starters the buyout of his contract is still pretty high and the athletic program doesn't have the resources it did a few years back to drop a few million bucks on another ex coach.

And unless there is that meltdown, Dooley deserves a shot to finish at least year four and maybe year five to show what he can really do. Yes, Dooley's former La. Tech team cracked the Top 25 this week is an indication that a team is better without Dooley as coach than with him, but if you look at the Tech roster something like 40 or 45 redshirt juniors, seniors and redshirt seniors were players Dooley recruited and are contributing to the success.

We tend to look for immediate satisfaction and concentrate on the latest loss or Dooley's last season at La. Tech when we need to look at the big picture of what he inherited at both schools and how he works to build a foundation that will stand up over a long period of time.

Just look at Auburn and that although they won the national championship is Gene Chizik's second season the team has really been a one-player wonder and without Cam Newton Auburn has been a non factor.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but while it might not seem to be the case, it never takes as long to do a job right as it does to do a job over. If we get rid of Dooley too soon we will be forced to do a job over again and take a step backwards.

senatorgip#470888 writes:

We should have a better idea of which way the program is headed the next three weeks. If the Vols beat Miss State and upset South Carolina then I for one would feel the program is headed in the right direction. I wish Coach Dooley and the Vols success. But at some point they have to start winning big games. I will also say that it's ridiculous for College Football Coaches to make ten times more than the College Presidents. However, that is the state of college athletics today, and therefore tough decisions must be made. It is pretty much that simple.

gatorhator4eva writes:

vols need to make a statement against the bulldogs. plain and simple. not just win the game. i would say 14points would be good. tennessee is good but taking time for pieces to come together. need to hush the doubters then have another good game against bama.

FWBVol writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Brainiac, sooner or later every losing streak ends. Johnny Majors lost to Kentucky, Bill Battle lost to Kentucky, Doug Dickey lost to Kentucky and Bowden Wyatt lost to Kentucky.

In fact, the only two Tennessee football coaches that never lost to Kentucky that coached the Vols for several years were General Neyland and Phillip Fulmer, and even the General had a few ties with Kentucky back when football games were still allowed to end in a tie. In fact Johnny Majors coached teams lost to Kentucky three times in his first eight years as the Tennessee coach so if you want to use getting beat by Kentucky as the standard for a UT coach it's obvious Johnny was in way over his head.

Heck, the guy only won a national championship at Pitt. In fact, Johnny's record after four years at UT was 21-23 and 2 and he had taken the team to one bowl game, the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl and lost.

Derek Dooley has forgotten more about football than you will ever know and all your name calling doesn't make Dooley look stupid, it makes you look stupid.

And for the record, Mississippi State has one win over a team with a winning record this year and that team is Troy. We beat the team that beat Florida State and I like our quality win better than anything Mississippi State has done this year.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Rosie:

Exactly.

You both show how stupid you are. No Coach could be doing any better given the dire situation Coach Dooley inherited coming here. It's unknowledgable fans like yourself who are putting the unnecessary pressure on this team that's makes writers write these idiotic articles.

ashvol7 writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Coach Dooley did not bring this program to where it is, Fulmer is responsible for this whole mess. I watched it happen for ten years as he got worse and worse! He would not hire any one that was smarter than he is and that was not hard to do, he should have been fired five years before he was!!!

allntl1#565211 writes:

Kiffen was a field goal away from beating the National Champions at their home. Ut lost to UK playing a wide receiver at QB. UT is getting outcoached in the second half plain and simple.

frblalack writes:

Your article doesn't do justice to our Coaching Staff! If this is the best you can do, Strange, then you have sunk to the lower levels of the KNS!

The KNS is the absolutely WORST college paper as far as supporting the local University I've witnessed in over 40+ years. Strange, your inuendo speaks volumes! Either support Coach Dooley, Chaney, Sunsieri and our AD Coach Hart or try another profession. I totally lost respect for what I thought was the best KNS sportswriter. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines: you're either touting Mullen for the UT job or just flat putting down our Coach! Disgusting, either way! At least no one's going to accuse you of being a "Homer". Definitely you won't be mistaken for the consummate professional John Ward (possibly the best sports announcer ever...college or professional) or Woody Paige, who were by far the best announcers & writers the Knoxville area has ever had. I realize Woody wrote for the Daily Beacon; he was simply light-years superior to any KNS sportswriter ever!

I hope WE win out! I also hope we get BETTER sportswriters at the KNS! Of course, I should have been satisfied with the departure of Hooker & Drivel(Dribble), but MAN when Strange writes this B.S.....you've got to wonder what's going on at the KNS?

All Vols - All the Time - Vol for Life -

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Idiot !!!

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to Rosie:

Exactly.

Well... Another Idiot !!! They are running in pairs !!

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A wanna be Idiot !!

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt or even a reasonable doubt that Derek Dooley will get the job done, but I think he will. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that unless there is a complete meltdown in the last seven games Derek Dooley should be back in 2013.

For starters the buyout of his contract is still pretty high and the athletic program doesn't have the resources it did a few years back to drop a few million bucks on another ex coach.

And unless there is that meltdown, Dooley deserves a shot to finish at least year four and maybe year five to show what he can really do. Yes, Dooley's former La. Tech team cracked the Top 25 this week is an indication that a team is better without Dooley as coach than with him, but if you look at the Tech roster something like 40 or 45 redshirt juniors, seniors and redshirt seniors were players Dooley recruited and are contributing to the success.

We tend to look for immediate satisfaction and concentrate on the latest loss or Dooley's last season at La. Tech when we need to look at the big picture of what he inherited at both schools and how he works to build a foundation that will stand up over a long period of time.

Just look at Auburn and that although they won the national championship is Gene Chizik's second season the team has really been a one-player wonder and without Cam Newton Auburn has been a non factor.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but while it might not seem to be the case, it never takes as long to do a job right as it does to do a job over. If we get rid of Dooley too soon we will be forced to do a job over again and take a step backwards.

Amen !!! The idiots just can't see this...

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to frblalack:

Your article doesn't do justice to our Coaching Staff! If this is the best you can do, Strange, then you have sunk to the lower levels of the KNS!

The KNS is the absolutely WORST college paper as far as supporting the local University I've witnessed in over 40+ years. Strange, your inuendo speaks volumes! Either support Coach Dooley, Chaney, Sunsieri and our AD Coach Hart or try another profession. I totally lost respect for what I thought was the best KNS sportswriter. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines: you're either touting Mullen for the UT job or just flat putting down our Coach! Disgusting, either way! At least no one's going to accuse you of being a "Homer". Definitely you won't be mistaken for the consummate professional John Ward (possibly the best sports announcer ever...college or professional) or Woody Paige, who were by far the best announcers & writers the Knoxville area has ever had. I realize Woody wrote for the Daily Beacon; he was simply light-years superior to any KNS sportswriter ever!

I hope WE win out! I also hope we get BETTER sportswriters at the KNS! Of course, I should have been satisfied with the departure of Hooker & Drivel(Dribble), but MAN when Strange writes this B.S.....you've got to wonder what's going on at the KNS?

All Vols - All the Time - Vol for Life -

You can't possibly be this naive.

All Strange is doing is making a comparison between the two coaches and stated nothing but the facts.

The fact that Mullen has done much more with much less than Dooley and provided evidence of that in the form of wins and bowl game appearances obviously grates all over you.

I don't like it either but I am not gonna shoot the messenger.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to ashvol7:

Coach Dooley did not bring this program to where it is, Fulmer is responsible for this whole mess. I watched it happen for ten years as he got worse and worse! He would not hire any one that was smarter than he is and that was not hard to do, he should have been fired five years before he was!!!

Fulmer has been gone for nearly 4 years now.

When exactly do we start holding the current head coach responsible for anything?

VOLFLIAM writes:

in response to allntl1#565211:

Kiffen was a field goal away from beating the National Champions at their home. Ut lost to UK playing a wide receiver at QB. UT is getting outcoached in the second half plain and simple.

An Idiot Wanna-be ??? LOL

jdcdjc writes:

Dooley deserves a 4th or 5th year. Remember this program was in a total mess when he arrived. He is getting his people in place and I can see the end in sight if the rest of you can't. He is getting there. His coaches have not stuck with him, I think he has a good staff in place now.

jdcdjc writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Fulmer has been gone for nearly 4 years now.

When exactly do we start holding the current head coach responsible for anything?

I have an idea, let's blame BUSH!!!

ashvol7 writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Fulmer has been gone for nearly 4 years now.

When exactly do we start holding the current head coach responsible for anything?

At the end of this year, if there is not more improvement! Our defense is terrible, maybe we should send Sal packing. You are right about your comment!

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

You can't possibly be this naive.

All Strange is doing is making a comparison between the two coaches and stated nothing but the facts.

The fact that Mullen has done much more with much less than Dooley and provided evidence of that in the form of wins and bowl game appearances obviously grates all over you.

I don't like it either but I am not gonna shoot the messenger.

Let me add one more thing. Ever been to Miss St? The facilities I saw don't compare. And Starkville? It looks like a small town in a Third World country. Oughta be factored in as well.

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

I really think talking about DD and constantly saying he will or will not be fired is very unhealthy. I love Tennessee but we have the worst fair weather fans in the country. I have lived in Pennsylvania the last 4 years and you can imagine all of the negative things I have read about Penn State. Let me say this about Penn State. They sold 88,000 season tickets this year in a 106,000 seat stadium and tickets are hard to come by even after all of the turmoil and the 0-2 start and after 4 straight wins they are happy and Bill O'Brien is loved there. I am just saying Tennessee is going through a down period and nobody can turn it around suddenly or even in three years. Look at John Majors record at Tennessee from 1977-1980

CrankE writes:

You could sum up Mullen at MSU thus:

Mullen has done a nice job at MSU. But there are no stratospheric expectations, nor the resources to achieve them. Any day now, someone will pick him up for a more prestigious job and MSU will continue to be MSU. The End.

As for Dooley; yes, he has stratospheric expectations at UT. Yes, he was dealt a bad hand (that he chose to take). But I submit that in the last two years, there are some things that would improve regardless of who the head coach was. Depth. Experience. Maybe some other areas.

So in what ways has Dooley HIMSELF made UT a better team? (i.e. independent of depth, of experience, and other things that would have happened independent of his input) The scoreboard against Georgia might hint at progress. The record does not.

"You're not going to have Tennessee to kick around anymore."

UT has some glaring problems on the field. A good coach and staff could fix these within a season. If Dooley can fix these, then he might be the solution for UT. If not, then he's the problem.

Win or lose, I am convinced that the game against MSU is going to be the pivotal moment for Dooley at UT.

SCVFL writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt or even a reasonable doubt that Derek Dooley will get the job done, but I think he will. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that unless there is a complete meltdown in the last seven games Derek Dooley should be back in 2013.

For starters the buyout of his contract is still pretty high and the athletic program doesn't have the resources it did a few years back to drop a few million bucks on another ex coach.

And unless there is that meltdown, Dooley deserves a shot to finish at least year four and maybe year five to show what he can really do. Yes, Dooley's former La. Tech team cracked the Top 25 this week is an indication that a team is better without Dooley as coach than with him, but if you look at the Tech roster something like 40 or 45 redshirt juniors, seniors and redshirt seniors were players Dooley recruited and are contributing to the success.

We tend to look for immediate satisfaction and concentrate on the latest loss or Dooley's last season at La. Tech when we need to look at the big picture of what he inherited at both schools and how he works to build a foundation that will stand up over a long period of time.

Just look at Auburn and that although they won the national championship is Gene Chizik's second season the team has really been a one-player wonder and without Cam Newton Auburn has been a non factor.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but while it might not seem to be the case, it never takes as long to do a job right as it does to do a job over. If we get rid of Dooley too soon we will be forced to do a job over again and take a step backwards.

FWB,
Great post. I could not agree more.
GO VOLS...BEAT MSST.

GO BIG RNG...VFL

SCVFL writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Hey Brainiac, sooner or later every losing streak ends. Johnny Majors lost to Kentucky, Bill Battle lost to Kentucky, Doug Dickey lost to Kentucky and Bowden Wyatt lost to Kentucky.

In fact, the only two Tennessee football coaches that never lost to Kentucky that coached the Vols for several years were General Neyland and Phillip Fulmer, and even the General had a few ties with Kentucky back when football games were still allowed to end in a tie. In fact Johnny Majors coached teams lost to Kentucky three times in his first eight years as the Tennessee coach so if you want to use getting beat by Kentucky as the standard for a UT coach it's obvious Johnny was in way over his head.

Heck, the guy only won a national championship at Pitt. In fact, Johnny's record after four years at UT was 21-23 and 2 and he had taken the team to one bowl game, the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl and lost.

Derek Dooley has forgotten more about football than you will ever know and all your name calling doesn't make Dooley look stupid, it makes you look stupid.

And for the record, Mississippi State has one win over a team with a winning record this year and that team is Troy. We beat the team that beat Florida State and I like our quality win better than anything Mississippi State has done this year.

Again, DITTO.

GO BIG RNG...VFL

SCVFL writes:

in response to CrankE:

You could sum up Mullen at MSU thus:

Mullen has done a nice job at MSU. But there are no stratospheric expectations, nor the resources to achieve them. Any day now, someone will pick him up for a more prestigious job and MSU will continue to be MSU. The End.

As for Dooley; yes, he has stratospheric expectations at UT. Yes, he was dealt a bad hand (that he chose to take). But I submit that in the last two years, there are some things that would improve regardless of who the head coach was. Depth. Experience. Maybe some other areas.

So in what ways has Dooley HIMSELF made UT a better team? (i.e. independent of depth, of experience, and other things that would have happened independent of his input) The scoreboard against Georgia might hint at progress. The record does not.

"You're not going to have Tennessee to kick around anymore."

UT has some glaring problems on the field. A good coach and staff could fix these within a season. If Dooley can fix these, then he might be the solution for UT. If not, then he's the problem.

Win or lose, I am convinced that the game against MSU is going to be the pivotal moment for Dooley at UT.

CrankE,
I certainly agree with the last two paragraph.
If VOLS have used the bye week to fix some of the glaring problems with the D, I think they handle MSST in a close one. If not, it will be a long, late night. I saw what I thought was vast improvement in GA game, but lost some of my confidence after the SC-GA. But VOLS did keep trying(improvement over FL game).
This truly is a very important game this week.
A W this week, competitive play against AL and SC, and CDD can breathe a huge sigh of relief.
AN L this week and I fear the VOLS will give up.

GO BIG RNG...VFL

budd#207344 writes:

in response to frblalack:

Your article doesn't do justice to our Coaching Staff! If this is the best you can do, Strange, then you have sunk to the lower levels of the KNS!

The KNS is the absolutely WORST college paper as far as supporting the local University I've witnessed in over 40+ years. Strange, your inuendo speaks volumes! Either support Coach Dooley, Chaney, Sunsieri and our AD Coach Hart or try another profession. I totally lost respect for what I thought was the best KNS sportswriter. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines: you're either touting Mullen for the UT job or just flat putting down our Coach! Disgusting, either way! At least no one's going to accuse you of being a "Homer". Definitely you won't be mistaken for the consummate professional John Ward (possibly the best sports announcer ever...college or professional) or Woody Paige, who were by far the best announcers & writers the Knoxville area has ever had. I realize Woody wrote for the Daily Beacon; he was simply light-years superior to any KNS sportswriter ever!

I hope WE win out! I also hope we get BETTER sportswriters at the KNS! Of course, I should have been satisfied with the departure of Hooker & Drivel(Dribble), but MAN when Strange writes this B.S.....you've got to wonder what's going on at the KNS?

All Vols - All the Time - Vol for Life -

You need to become a UGA fan. The writers for the Atlanta paper write nothing but glowing testaments to greatness of each years team. There are no problems. And every year the pups get whopped by someone they should not lose to and then the writers rip them mercilessly. So I would rather hear the truth and not be surprised than listen to stupidity. And nowhere on this board have I heard anyone regret the fact that we are now comparing our record against Miss. ST. That is sickening in itself. Something is wrong and it needs to be changed.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

I found it interesting that until this year Mullen is 0--12 versus the top#4 teams in the SEC West

SewaneeVolFan writes:

How surprising that the first four posts on this thread were negative. When it's all bad all the time for you, you can't wait to spread your bitterness. Not being someone who wallows in failure, I don't know how it's going to work when -- as I firmly believe will happen -- Coach Dooley starts winning against ranked teams. I guess you get even more bitter and then your bitterness satisfies you either way? Maybe you just move on to complaining about the number of stars the recruits have, I don't know.

As an orange-sunglasses-wearing, Doolaid-drinking fanatical Vol fan, I think Ga got whupped not only 'cause USC is really good, but because the Vols exposed some Dawg weaknesses. Furthermore, the Dawgs were relieved rather than had their some confidence boosted by the war they were in with the Vols. When you win by a touchdown and the other team was driving for a possible tying touchdown, the thousand yards gained statistic seems deceptive.

And the Gators are showing that they are just as good as they looked at Neyland, and NC State doesn't look quite as middle of the road as everyone was saying last week. The Vol victories look better, and their losses don't look as bad -- the Dawgs are 13th now, but they played like their 5 ranking with they played the Vols. Now if UT can take it to MSU, no telling how good a season they'll have. Go Big Orange!

pcshowtime writes:

I still stand behind the switch to the 3-4 is ill advised in a year your job is on the line. Also do not give me that stuff about dooley not being able to put together a staff it is BS. You mean to tell me when dooley was hired he couldn't find one other position coach that runs a 3-4 D and would come to Tennessee to be Defensive Coordinator. A position coach that is all coach Sal was at alabama not a DC. People forget we already had one staff Lance Thompson. As for the 3-4 getting better in year 2 ask Georgia about that. Now a little reality check if our D does not improve we will not beat m State.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Let me add one more thing. Ever been to Miss St? The facilities I saw don't compare. And Starkville? It looks like a small town in a Third World country. Oughta be factored in as well.

Yep, this is exactly what I was alluding to with my comment on Mullen.

The Bulldogs total athletic budget is approximately 40 million for 2012 versus 107 million for the Vols.

Not to mention the tradition of the two schools and the levels of success enjoyed by each.

And Croom left that program just as devoid of talent as the Fulmer and Kiffin regimes did the Vols based on recruiting rankings.

So these sunshine pumpers need to get real and go someplace else since they are unwilling to face cold hard facts.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to brauhuff#295403:

I really think talking about DD and constantly saying he will or will not be fired is very unhealthy. I love Tennessee but we have the worst fair weather fans in the country. I have lived in Pennsylvania the last 4 years and you can imagine all of the negative things I have read about Penn State. Let me say this about Penn State. They sold 88,000 season tickets this year in a 106,000 seat stadium and tickets are hard to come by even after all of the turmoil and the 0-2 start and after 4 straight wins they are happy and Bill O'Brien is loved there. I am just saying Tennessee is going through a down period and nobody can turn it around suddenly or even in three years. Look at John Majors record at Tennessee from 1977-1980

"I am just saying Tennessee is going through a down period and nobody can turn it around suddenly or even in three years"

Actually, it looks like O' Brien has turned it around after 4 games.

The situation Dooley stepped into was not in the same galaxy as what O' Brien took over and, yet, he is still managing to win conference games and competitive in the games they lost.

rockypop writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt or even a reasonable doubt that Derek Dooley will get the job done, but I think he will. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that unless there is a complete meltdown in the last seven games Derek Dooley should be back in 2013.

For starters the buyout of his contract is still pretty high and the athletic program doesn't have the resources it did a few years back to drop a few million bucks on another ex coach.

And unless there is that meltdown, Dooley deserves a shot to finish at least year four and maybe year five to show what he can really do. Yes, Dooley's former La. Tech team cracked the Top 25 this week is an indication that a team is better without Dooley as coach than with him, but if you look at the Tech roster something like 40 or 45 redshirt juniors, seniors and redshirt seniors were players Dooley recruited and are contributing to the success.

We tend to look for immediate satisfaction and concentrate on the latest loss or Dooley's last season at La. Tech when we need to look at the big picture of what he inherited at both schools and how he works to build a foundation that will stand up over a long period of time.

Just look at Auburn and that although they won the national championship is Gene Chizik's second season the team has really been a one-player wonder and without Cam Newton Auburn has been a non factor.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but while it might not seem to be the case, it never takes as long to do a job right as it does to do a job over. If we get rid of Dooley too soon we will be forced to do a job over again and take a step backwards.

I would agree with your assessment that LaTech benefited from Dooley's recruiting, but I can't agree that the team is better off without him as coach, because he never had the chance to prove what he could do with those kids.

Everything else you say makes perfect sense - kudos. Let's not be hasty in judging an unfinished product. We could be losing a solid coach.

allntl1#565211 writes:

in response to VOLFLIAM:

An Idiot Wanna-be ??? LOL

An idiot wanna be would suggest not an idiot. You my friend are no wanna be.

arkyvol writes:

i'm glad the administrators gave us the option to view comments they considered 'inappropriate'. i clicked on the first one expecting something really out of bounds or obscene. instead, i found a mildly snarky comment about dooley and his record. yes, i am shocked.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to ashvol7:

Coach Dooley did not bring this program to where it is, Fulmer is responsible for this whole mess. I watched it happen for ten years as he got worse and worse! He would not hire any one that was smarter than he is and that was not hard to do, he should have been fired five years before he was!!!

There is a reason Fulmer is the most successful coach in UT history and was in the top 5 in SEC wins before they decided to take this program back to the mediocrity it was before he set the new success standard. He inherited a program that in the modern era was winning about 65% of their games with one bogus National Title. You are probably one that is not old enough to know what it was like before he raised the standard. Yes, there is a reason his peers voted him unanimously into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. What you think was down was just down from the unapproachable level he put this program in. Most understand now that firing him has brought this back to the mediocre days it was before he took over. It will remain that way for many decades so get used to it. This is not a great job in the profession as there are no home grown players. Besides, everyone knows that Kiffin running off 44 players and commits and as ESPN put it, napalmed the program. You little kids are just ignorant.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Yep, this is exactly what I was alluding to with my comment on Mullen.

The Bulldogs total athletic budget is approximately 40 million for 2012 versus 107 million for the Vols.

Not to mention the tradition of the two schools and the levels of success enjoyed by each.

And Croom left that program just as devoid of talent as the Fulmer and Kiffin regimes did the Vols based on recruiting rankings.

So these sunshine pumpers need to get real and go someplace else since they are unwilling to face cold hard facts.

Hey doorknobs, there are more players in a 50 mile radius of Starkville than in the entire state of Tenn. Sylvester left him the talent to win the 9 games that he did. He struggled until this year with his own guys. Kiffin had 8 NFL players including 2 first rounders left him. He won 7 games when favored in 9. In the two years after they ruined the program after 2008, Tenn was in the top 10 in NFL draft picks for those two years combined. That is top 10 in America.

Dooley has signed basically all the kids that did not get offers from the big boys. Rankings in recruiting are things to sell to the fans. Look at who is offering a kid and you will see who is recruiting well. There is only a couple at UT that LSU, GA, Bama, Florida etc. wanted. The rest where taken from UAB, MTSU etc. That leaves you with 1-9 in the last 10 SEC games.

VolzsFan writes:

Remember this for Saturday.
1. 9:00 Game. Last years 9:00 game...Arkansas.
2. Miss State smells blood and are super pumped.
3. No one, not the Bama's and LSUs of the world go to Starkville and beat them up. No one. Not the National Champ Auburn. Not the great UT teams. No one. This 1-9 SEC team from UT will not win there.
4. The Auburn team that Miss State beat would beat UT. They are not the same team you see now for a variety of reasons.

Get ready for another beating. Miss State will deliver one to the Vols making them 1-10 in the last two SEC seasons.

Enjoy the decline thanks to Kiffin and enjoy the change back to pre-1990 mediocrity!!!

VolzsFan writes:

The beatings will continue until......well they will just continue. They do not have the players on campus to beat the good teams period.

murrayvol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt or even a reasonable doubt that Derek Dooley will get the job done, but I think he will. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that unless there is a complete meltdown in the last seven games Derek Dooley should be back in 2013.

For starters the buyout of his contract is still pretty high and the athletic program doesn't have the resources it did a few years back to drop a few million bucks on another ex coach.

And unless there is that meltdown, Dooley deserves a shot to finish at least year four and maybe year five to show what he can really do. Yes, Dooley's former La. Tech team cracked the Top 25 this week is an indication that a team is better without Dooley as coach than with him, but if you look at the Tech roster something like 40 or 45 redshirt juniors, seniors and redshirt seniors were players Dooley recruited and are contributing to the success.

We tend to look for immediate satisfaction and concentrate on the latest loss or Dooley's last season at La. Tech when we need to look at the big picture of what he inherited at both schools and how he works to build a foundation that will stand up over a long period of time.

Just look at Auburn and that although they won the national championship is Gene Chizik's second season the team has really been a one-player wonder and without Cam Newton Auburn has been a non factor.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but while it might not seem to be the case, it never takes as long to do a job right as it does to do a job over. If we get rid of Dooley too soon we will be forced to do a job over again and take a step backwards.

Those who scream for the head of Derek Dooley should review Frank Beamer's record in his first 6 years at Virginia Tech.

Will CDD have the same level of success that Beamer has enjoyed after enduring the pains of rebuilding a program. Who knows? But he damn sure deserves more of a chance than he's had to date.

utvols1 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Hey Brainiac, sooner or later every losing streak ends. Johnny Majors lost to Kentucky, Bill Battle lost to Kentucky, Doug Dickey lost to Kentucky and Bowden Wyatt lost to Kentucky.

In fact, the only two Tennessee football coaches that never lost to Kentucky that coached the Vols for several years were General Neyland and Phillip Fulmer, and even the General had a few ties with Kentucky back when football games were still allowed to end in a tie. In fact Johnny Majors coached teams lost to Kentucky three times in his first eight years as the Tennessee coach so if you want to use getting beat by Kentucky as the standard for a UT coach it's obvious Johnny was in way over his head.

Heck, the guy only won a national championship at Pitt. In fact, Johnny's record after four years at UT was 21-23 and 2 and he had taken the team to one bowl game, the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl and lost.

Derek Dooley has forgotten more about football than you will ever know and all your name calling doesn't make Dooley look stupid, it makes you look stupid.

And for the record, Mississippi State has one win over a team with a winning record this year and that team is Troy. We beat the team that beat Florida State and I like our quality win better than anything Mississippi State has done this year.

Stop being so defensive. KWW raises some real issues:
1. LA Tech is now thriving under new leadership
2. Dooley hasn't won a big game yet in the SEC, and given all the melt downs in 2nd half most likely won't
3. Most of his key staff abandoned him last season
4. He hired a position coach to be our DC with no real DC experience
5. Had it ALL set in the FL game and made ZERO 2nd half adjustments and got smoked
6. Isn't killing it with commitments for next year ...gee wonder why
7. A so so OC who -if UT blows everyone up will NOT get an offer from any SEC school
8. AND in the end just isn't a good fit at UT. We can and should expect better.
We get hammered again this weekend. Sorry for the prediction but I call em like I see him. Dooley lost it ALL on the FL loss.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

in response to senatorgip#470888:

We should have a better idea of which way the program is headed the next three weeks. If the Vols beat Miss State and upset South Carolina then I for one would feel the program is headed in the right direction. I wish Coach Dooley and the Vols success. But at some point they have to start winning big games. I will also say that it's ridiculous for College Football Coaches to make ten times more than the College Presidents. However, that is the state of college athletics today, and therefore tough decisions must be made. It is pretty much that simple.

What? If the Vols beat South Carolina, I'll start worring about the Mayan calander & the end of the world. About the same odds.
Good grief, what a bunch of losers!
I think I'll take the 2.5 points & Miss.St. My bookie hates me for taking the points & Fla. anyway.
Come on Vol fans, you know this ain't right! Past time for a change.

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