Derek Dooley says Tennessee players 'overestimating' 1-0 start

Our biggest challenge is going to be not patting ourselves on the back and listening to everybody talking about how good we played and not remembering why we had success, which is the process these guys have been going through the last eight months."

Derek Dooley

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Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has insisted that the Vols' 1-0 start means little.

His team may not be getting the message.

Dooley said a sluggish practice on Tuesday left him worried about the team's focus after a season-opening win last Friday against North Carolina State.

"Most teams never reach their dreams because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process," Dooley said.

The Vols play Georgia State on Saturday (TV: Pay-Per-View, 4 p.m.) before facing Florida on Sept. 15.

Dooley said he wants his players to focus on how they got to 1-0, not the "event" — the win itself.

"Our biggest challenge is going to be not patting ourselves on the back and listening to everybody talking about how good we played and not remembering why we had success, which is the process these guys have been going through the last eight months," Dooley said.

* Receiver Alton "Pig" Howard and linebacker Christian Harris, both out with ACL injuries, are getting closer to returning. Howard is "running around," Dooley said.

Howard, a true freshman from Orlando, Fla., tweeted Monday about his return to the practice field: "God is Good! I'm back in business."*Tennessee played only two true freshmen in the opener, but Dooley said the number would have been higher if injuries hadn't hit the class so hard.

Howard, fellow receiver Jason Croom and linebackers Kenny Bynum and LaTroy Lewis all might have played in the first game if they were healthy.

*Quarterback Tyler Bray has tried to keep Tennessee's offensive changes quiet since he first learned of them eight months ago.

Dooley said the Vols' "philosophical" commitment to running a no-huddle offense has been in the works since December and January.

"You guys asked if it was the same," Bray said with a smile. "It is the same. It's just a little faster."

*Antonio "Tiny" Richardson was amped up for his debut as a starter on Tennessee's offensive line, so mistakes might have been inevitable. But a penalty on the first snap?

"He jumped offsides the first play, and we had a bet that he would. Nobody bet on Tiny not jumping offsides," Dooley said. "He was juiced up. He made a lot of first-game mistakes. He's going to be a good player, but he made a ton of mistakes. He's going to get better."*Players talked frequently about first-year defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri's on-field intensity, but Dooley said that has little to do with do with the Vols' aggressiveness on defense.

"(Longtime NFL coach) Dom Capers had some great defenses, and I don't think his voice ever rose above Decibel 2," Dooley said. "I don't think screaming is why we're having success. It's because we're coaching them well, the players are buying in, and the players are investing in it. We've got a good scheme, and the players are doing a great job. I don't think it's the volume of the screaming that's helping us."*Tennessee moved to the edge of the two major polls Tuesday, but came in 27th in The Associated Press rankings and 29th in the coaches' poll.

Boise State is the only team ranked higher than Tennessee outside the top 25 in the AP poll.

The most recent time Tennessee was ranked was Sept. 1, 2008. The Vols entered the season ranked 18th in the AP poll before losing to UCLA.

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

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

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Comments » 23

TheVols54 writes:

FIRST!!!

Tennessee players have to remember to take one game at a time, and we will be just fine. Let's blow out the Panthers this week, and get some good practice in for the Swamp Lizards next week.

Sort of off topic, but did anyone see that we are now ranked #23 in ESPN's Power Ranking Poll for Week 2?

ambrown64 writes:

That bad taste can be back in your mouth real quick. boys. Don't get stupid. You see Alabama, with a crystal football, come out with a chip on their shoulder? And we're satisfied with a decent (not epic, but decent) win? Think about Kentucky fellas. Think about the long offseason. Stay humble.

miatatom writes:

+1 for ambrown64! Last Friday was just the first step, not the final step, in restoring UT football.

snafu14u#241639 writes:

I hope we don't get ranked till after we beat Florida, and I hope Florida comes in ranked and to top that I hope the Gators are favored. Makes a better storyline and UT always plays better that way. GBO. BonzaiVol

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'd just as soon skip Ga St. and play Fl. We beat NCSt. and it was beautiful. we'll destroy Ga. St. and that will be great. For us at least.

Florida?? I think most of us want this game now including the players. We just won't to see how MUCH we've improved. Ga.St won't tell us that. well unless we lose of course.

pcorange writes:

The offense looked pretty good the other night, but what really impressed me was how much improvement there was on the defensive side of the ball, for the first half anyway. They slacked off a little in the second half, but still made some big plays. The players moving to the ball, wrapping up on tackles and gang tackling in the first half really looked good. So far, I'd say Sunseri and his staff gets an A for improvement. If he can get them to finish well, we'll have a heck of a defense.

kcbigorngX writes:

It was hard to believe the over-the-top hype that Cordarrelle Patterson had been getting all summer but it turns out to be the very real deal. He singlehandedly took NC State to the woodshed in the 1st quarter. Well, that pancake block by Bartholomew helped.

I never would believe that he could replace DaRick's talent, but he does.

The best part is that he is just getting started. Very excited about the future development of this young man. He has brought himself up from what could have been just another statistic and done most of it on his own.

Turn 'em loose, Dooley.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

in response to pcorange:

The offense looked pretty good the other night, but what really impressed me was how much improvement there was on the defensive side of the ball, for the first half anyway. They slacked off a little in the second half, but still made some big plays. The players moving to the ball, wrapping up on tackles and gang tackling in the first half really looked good. So far, I'd say Sunseri and his staff gets an A for improvement. If he can get them to finish well, we'll have a heck of a defense.

Good point on the tackling. This is the best tackling Vols team I have seen in years. They were putting some serious hits on folks and wrapping up very well.

murrayvol writes:

in response to ambrown64:

That bad taste can be back in your mouth real quick. boys. Don't get stupid. You see Alabama, with a crystal football, come out with a chip on their shoulder? And we're satisfied with a decent (not epic, but decent) win? Think about Kentucky fellas. Think about the long offseason. Stay humble.

Stayin' humble over here boss.

haywoodchapman writes:

Howard has a foot injury not an acl injury.

FLVOL_79 writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

I hope we don't get ranked till after we beat Florida, and I hope Florida comes in ranked and to top that I hope the Gators are favored. Makes a better storyline and UT always plays better that way. GBO. BonzaiVol

As heartbreaking as it is, Florida will not be ranked when they come to Knoxville.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to FLVOL_79:

As heartbreaking as it is, Florida will not be ranked when they come to Knoxville.

Not if Texas A&M beats them...could well happen.
If Florida's D steps it up and they find just a little offense? A&M's a little unknown for me at least. I think it'll be a good game.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

ESPN stated today that the Polsters should be ashamed for not putting UT in the top 25 after manhandling a solid NC State team last Friday.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to Orangepuddinskin:

ESPN stated today that the Polsters should be ashamed for not putting UT in the top 25 after manhandling a solid NC State team last Friday.

You're nobody, til somebody loves you .... da dee da dum .. you're nobody, til somebody cares.... We've been out of the picture for so long it'll take more than beating a mid level team in the ACC for the polsters to start giving us real credit. Frankly, I'm suprised we wound up as high as we did. But I ain't complainin' !!! :-) And I sooo agree with Coach Dooley ...hey, it's only one game guys. And it scares me he said the practice was sluggish. They have to stay hungry.

gbojrj writes:

"Most teams never reach their dreams because they overestimate the event and underestimate the process," Dooley said. Great quote...

johnlg00 writes:

in response to pcorange:

The offense looked pretty good the other night, but what really impressed me was how much improvement there was on the defensive side of the ball, for the first half anyway. They slacked off a little in the second half, but still made some big plays. The players moving to the ball, wrapping up on tackles and gang tackling in the first half really looked good. So far, I'd say Sunseri and his staff gets an A for improvement. If he can get them to finish well, we'll have a heck of a defense.

I agree that the defense looked better in most of the ways you mentioned. However, my impression was that the defense struggled early in locating pass receivers and locked down after that, except for the late going where NCSU was trying to come back and the Vols were playing a little softer to make them use the whole field. The 'Pack got almost as many yards passing in the 1st quarter as they did the whole rest of the game.

CockVol writes:

VERY impressive win friday night. Dooley for all the turmoil he's had to endure, has given you guys a lot to look forward to in TN football. I'm a Gamecock and my wife a VOL ('72) and Dooley scares me. Confident workmanlike attitude, no trash talking, and Bray...is Bray. The foundation is being laid. I know there are folks up there that don't like him. Well, in some 3 or 4 years when Spurrier retires, send Dooley to us. I know its early, but I think he's the best young coach in the SEC.

SewaneeTiger writes:

Excited during and about the NCSt game. Felt good to see no hesitancy in going after a score when on O or the ball when on D. I'd like to see a little better special teams play....
GASt is not a test, imo. Hopefully, they can serve as a stand-in sparring partner against whom we can further solidify our confidence and general bearings for the Gators.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CockVol:

VERY impressive win friday night. Dooley for all the turmoil he's had to endure, has given you guys a lot to look forward to in TN football. I'm a Gamecock and my wife a VOL ('72) and Dooley scares me. Confident workmanlike attitude, no trash talking, and Bray...is Bray. The foundation is being laid. I know there are folks up there that don't like him. Well, in some 3 or 4 years when Spurrier retires, send Dooley to us. I know its early, but I think he's the best young coach in the SEC.

Wow! Not many Vol fans, perhaps not even a Dooley defender like me, would give such a ringing endorsement just yet. Many would say "so far, so good" though, this year at least. Some who just can't get past the futility of the last couple of years won't give Dooley a break at all unless he beats some of the higher-ranked teams on the schedule, but some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CockVol:

VERY impressive win friday night. Dooley for all the turmoil he's had to endure, has given you guys a lot to look forward to in TN football. I'm a Gamecock and my wife a VOL ('72) and Dooley scares me. Confident workmanlike attitude, no trash talking, and Bray...is Bray. The foundation is being laid. I know there are folks up there that don't like him. Well, in some 3 or 4 years when Spurrier retires, send Dooley to us. I know its early, but I think he's the best young coach in the SEC.

There are several posterers(lol and the same person) who'd love to give Dooley to you right now this minute. they're (I believe ) a minority on this site(as far as actual fans go).

Like John said above though it's nice to here a Dooley believer! GBO Go Dooley! sorry to hear about that "gamcock" problem. It's very hard for a man to admit he's wrong but I know you're wife will forever admire you for that.hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

hehe I meant, "Your wife" NOT "you're wife".

CockVol writes:

Hey, I ain't wrong about being my blood color; garnet turns black. Gamecock for life. However, my wife does hold "a 'lil sway" with me. And I take nothing said about Dooley back...I think he's legit. I'm sold on the GUY...but I do pull for you the other 10 games, even have a hat! lol

mocsandvolsfan writes:

It's ok. I actually have to wear my Kansas hat when I visit my nephew out that way.

Gooooo SEC

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