Friday, October 26, 2012


As we are all aware there is an on-going coaching search for the next head coach for the great University of Tennessee.  With coaching searches, as in anything, there are people for it and people against it.  In this instance I cannot for the life of me understand how people cannot see that it is time for Dooley to go.  The people who want to retain Dooley have been named “Dooleyites” because of their love of him.

The Dooleyites Argument
You can currently look on any UT sports forum and find Dooleyites uniting and posting on forums how Dooley needs more time, and how it isn’t his fault it is the players, and how no one could have turned this program around based on the shape it was in when he took it over.  Below I have copied and pasted some of my favorite Dooleyite comments from some of the forums.  Enjoy:

Dooley: "Well Jon if you do come coach here I have some advice. 
1. Make sure you're undefeated by your second season, or the fan base will hate you 
2. Every time you play the #1 team in the country, beat them, or this fan base will hate you 
3. If you lose a bunch of starters, don't mention it in press conferences, or this fan base will say you 'make excuses' and they will hate you 
4. If you tell your guys to wrap up and hit hard and they don't, it's your fault 
5. Make sure the team you used to coach has ZERO success, or this fan base will hate you"

Gruden:"Yeah I'll pass" 

Gruden to Dooley: Derek, you can keep this job! There's no way in hell to make these fans happy! I took a winning program in Tampa from Tony Dungy and just trashed it, there's nothing for me to do here! 

Dooley "so john what was your record your last three years at Tampa bay?" 
Dooley "Good luck here with that record" 

Doesn't matter how many people post to the contrary followed by "Period", "book it" or "take it to the bank", getting beat by the BCS #s 1,2,11, and 12 isn't getting him fired. Gruden,Fulmer,Petrino,Smart or you high school coach isn't coming to UT. You can either pull for more wins now, or you can hope we implode so you predictions will seem validated. Just the facts. UT fans are reminding me of people who wanted the economy to get worse to blame Obama, or things to get worse in Iraq to blame Bush.

I can’t help but laugh at these people when I read these comments.  I am a person that likes to use data when making a decision and clearly these people don’t or they are just stupid.  Somehow some way they really feel like Dooley is the man for the job and they are ready to throw a hissy fit on forums if you call them out on it.

The Rational Side:
Here is the counter argument I make to all the Dooleyites:

“Make sure you're undefeated by your second season, or the fan base will hate you”

I haven’t heard anyone say that Dooley should be producing an undefeated caliber team here at UT.   All we want right now is a win the same thing we wanted last year and did not get.  Something that we haven’t seen in the Dooley era, but let’s be fair we almost had 2 big victories just to have them ripped from us a few minutes later because our coaching staff can’t count and the fact the Dooley has the biggest black cloud over him.

“Every time you play the #1 team in the country, beat them, or this fan base will hate you”

 Once again you are miss-understanding what rational people are expecting.  Let’s just beat someone that matters.  Maybe a ranked team or what about beating a SEC team besides Vandy! 

“If you tell your guys to wrap up and hit hard and they don't, it's your fault”

I don’t want a coach to tell his players to do something I want a coach that can coach and embed football fundamentals into a player.  I want a coach that can build a young man up and make him play above his level in big games and make their players believe in your system.  I haven’t seen any of that in the Dooley era.  In fact I have seen the opposite.  I have seen great players quit and become undisciplined because they may get told something but they are not being coached.  

“Make sure the team you used to coach has ZERO success, or this fan base will hate you"

Come on that is just stupid!  The fact that Dooley’s former program has done nothing but get better since his departure only speaks to the lack of ability he has to get it done here.  Dooley had a losing record there just like he does here.  That is not a coincidence people that is a lack coaching ability and nothing else.

“Gruden to Dooley: Derek, you can keep this job! There's no way in hell to make these fans happy! I took a winning program in Tampa from Tony Dungy and just trashed it, there's nothing for me to do here!”

This one really gets under my skin.  I sit here today as I type this wearing orange because I am a fan of UT sports even though I know we are going into a game tomorrow that more than likely UT is going to get their tails kicked. However I will be watching the game in its entirety and routing for UT because I am a fan, however I am not a fan of Dooley. Do not attack me for understanding that the UT football program deserves better.  The problem is people are becoming a fan of coaches these days and not the sport programs themselves.  People are a fan of Dooley because who his dad is, or the fact that he is a southern man, or the fact that he is a family man.  All those things are great but don’t let those things lower the standards of a traditional power house in the SEC. 

“Doesn't matter how many people post to the contrary followed by "Period", "book it" or "take it to the bank", getting beat by the BCS #s 1,2,11, and 12 isn't getting him fired.”

Then what is going to get him fired?  Those teams are number 1, 2, 11, and 12 because Dooley couldn’t beat them.  It is the coach’s job to put a game plan to go out that attacks the other teams weaknesses.  Ok maybe the number 1 and 2 teams don’t have that many weaknesses and we have already discussed that I think everybody understands at this time we are not asking to Dooley to go out and beat every team, specially a 1 or 2 team) but we are asking to be competitive in those games and you can’t say that the number 11 and number 12 teams did not have weaknesses.  The fact is our game plans were pour in those games and the UT coaching staff did not do their job and give their team a fair shot to win.  Also don’t forget that we used to be that number 1, 2, 11 and 12 team and why was UT there in the ranking I ask?  Because UT was better than them and they couldn’t beat us. 

The fact of the matter is that Dooley is done and anyone that refuses to see that is just plain out of their mind.  Let’s let go off this black cloud over the UT football program and move on to greater things.  It is time people to reclaim our spot atop the SEC and be a force to be reckoned with.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Truth


This is the reality that fans need to go ahead and accept.  You can throw out all the numbers and stats you want, but there is only one that matters now and that is the number of fans in Neyland Stadium.  After talking to UT fans last week I began to realize more and more how important the Florida game was for Derek Dooley.  I knew we were going to lose but I enjoyed the optimism of other fans.  However after listening to more and more fans share their excitement it made me realize the coming reaction if we did lose. 

Dooley still has several supporters who live on message boards declaring anybody who thinks Dooley will be fired is crazy, but empty seats at Neyland will get you fired faster than any loss.  I am not calling for his job.  I don’t have to.  He has done a good job getting recruits interested in UT, but who believes in him as a coach?  Dave Hart said back in the summer there are no more excuses.  Any fan that thinks Dooley is going to take this team to UGA and Mississippi Mistake then come home and play Bama and USCjr and come out on top is delusional.  If we go 0-2 in our next two SEC games there will be more Bama fans at Neyland than UT fans. 

The reason the clock is set for October 29th is because we fired Fulmer and Majors the Monday following USCjr.  People laughed at me when I said we should fire Dooley the day after NSD.  It isn’t that I don’t like him but I knew he would not turn the program around.    Since Dave Hart did not pull the trigger after the Kentucky game we had to wait until the recruits signed.  I said then if we don’t make the change now then we will the Monday after the South Carolina game.  Well if you don’t believe me start counting the empty seats this weekend.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Drop

Do you remember Allama Matthews?  Well if you don’t then maybe this name will ring a bell, Jabar Gaffney.  Oh yeah that guy.  Matthews is the official that took it upon himself to redefine the rule of what was considered a catch.  On September 16th 2000 with seconds to go in the game and Florida was trailing Tennessee until Jesse Palmer threw a pass to Jabar Gaffney in the end zone that bounced off his chest and hit the ground.  Matthews came running in from the side with his arms in the air ruling it a touchdown. 
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville argues
a call with Head Linesman Allama Matthews
 during their NCAA college football game against
 top-ranked Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium
 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.,
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008.
 (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

The call itself was terrible but what made it so difficult to take, as a Vol fan was the fact UT dominated Florida on the ground.  Tennessee ran 78 plays for 343 yards versus Florida’s 64 plays for 329 yards.  Travis Henry ran the ball 37 times for 175 yards to help us out rush Florida 203 yards to their 39 rushing yards.  We had the ball almost 14 minutes longer than Florida.  To think we had the ball almost an entire quarter longer than them may help put this in the best perspective.  We dominated the line of scrimmage, but it ended with a ridiculous call.   

Matthews ran down the goal line selling the call.  He kept bouncing his hands in the air signaling touchdown.  This was before officials used replay (like that would have mattered) so the officials huddled up to discuss the play.  A few moments later Head Umpire Al Ford signaled touchdown and the game was all but over with a 14 seconds on the clock. 

Ironically Matthews had some ties to both of these teams.  Matthews a native of Jacksonville Florida played high school football at Jackson High and earned a scholarship to play football at Vanderbilt.  In 1982 he earned All American honors and played on the last Vanderbilt team to beat Tennessee and Florida in the same year. 

The 2000 Florida game was the last game he called at Neyland until last year’s UGA game.  Once again he made his presence known by throwing a flag and calling interference on Tennessee on a critical 3rd down that would keep an UGA drive alive.  Why was he own our field again?  The tribal knowledge was that Fulmer had made it clear to the SEC office that Matthews was to never call a game at Neyland again.  Now he shows up a few years later after Fulmer is fired in our stadium.

Should Matthews be allowed to call Tennessee games again?  There are some folks that are convinced he is a great guy who has no ill will against Tennessee and would never make a call out of resentment.  I mean why would we ever think a Jacksonville Florida native who played for Vanderbilt would have it in for Tennessee?  In October 2004 the Florida Times Union interviewed Matthews about life after football and when asked about the emotions of fans after critical calls he said,

"Having played collegiately and professionally, I know how much players work to prepare for games and all the game-planning that coaches do," Matthews said. "The added incentive to go out and do a good job comes from my understanding of having played the game."
Does this make you feel better knowing that he cares about making the right call because he played the game?  Well this is not the only game that Matthews was a part of screwing up.  In the UGA and Georgia Tech 1999 game Matthews was one of the referees under Head Umpire Al Ford who was suspended after an incorrect fumble call against Jasper Sanks lost the game for the Bulldogs.

Now we approach Florida week again and I promise you that every time we play them at home I think of the 2000 game.  It is so clear in my mind.  Florida fans still laugh at UT fans because we refuse to let this go.  They act as if it was a catch and there was no harm done.  However one week after the 2000 game Florida gave up 504 yards to Kentucky but still won 59-31.  One Florida Times Union writer said,

Without the four Kentucky turnovers that led to 28 points, who knows how dangerously close Florida might have been to giving back the gift presented them a week ago by SEC line judge Allama Matthews?”

So you tell me how are we supposed to take it when a game is stole from us and gift wrapped for Florida?

This game is always so critical to both teams and once again this season’s game has a major impact on the direction of our program.  With some of the nation’s best recruits attending the game and the divisional race on the line we cannot afford to lose a game due to some BS call.

I am not some crazy delusional fan that believes football games are sacred and are of higher importance than world issues, but as a fan I invest time and money.  I don’t think it is too much to ask to have games called correctly.  The NCAA office must have agreed this call was bad for the game because they adopted a rule at the end of the season to define a catch.  My point is that it doesn’t matter if Allama Matthews is against Tennessee or not.  It doesn’t matter to me that he wants to make the correct call.  The issue is he blew a call and failed to do his job.  Human nature tells me he will never be able to see Tennessee in an objective light after how the ending and the events that took place after the game.  Allowing him to call our games again is simply wrong and the SEC office knows it.  We as fans should not have to settle for this guy calling anymore of our games.  I don't condone mean or harmful behavior towards other people, but we are the paying customer and the SEC office needs to be reminded we will not tolerate this guy calling anymore of our games!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week 2 and a FCS Murder

How nice has it been this week?  After ending last season in the bowels of Hell losing to that dumpster fire basketball cheating school we needed to come out and get that win last Friday night.  Although at times it was obvious we have areas to improve on nobody can deny some of the threats we now have on campus.  Now we have a strange addition to our schedule and play some nobody before the week we all live for each year. 
This week Texas A&M and Missouri are baptized into the conference.  You have to give the league office some credit how they set this week up.  We have a divisional game and a cross divisional game on two new SEC campuses.  Everybody will be watching to see how these two new teams play in their new conference.  This isn’t UGA’s first time welcoming new members.  In 1992 they introduced South Carolina to the conference with a 28-6 defeat.  Arkansas that same year started their conference season by beating South Carolina 45-7 but then loss to their first traditional foe Alabama 38-11.  I would expect similar results this weekend.  Maybe not by those margins, but both Missouri and A&M will be shocked by the speed of the front 7 and will not have much to give in the 4th quarter.  Although they lose in their first games I do expect both teams to play well and challenge other SEC teams each week.
The SEC east is wide open and I think each week we will see a few teams move around as leaders.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida looks like the leader after this Saturday.  After taking a lot of heat this week for their play against BGSU they will be focused and prepared.  Their baboon of a coach is the most prepared of all SEC coaches to go into A&M due to his time at UTjr (Texas).  Not to mention the Aggies are playing with a brand new QB who will make his first start under a new coaching staff due to Hurricane Isaac’s visit last week.
What does this mean for us?  Nothing!  Tennessee has its own path to travel and it begins next Saturday.  In order for us to have the type of season to be relevant we have to beat Florida.  There will be tons of big name recruits for both football and basketball on campus next week, and if Tennessee can get a win there will be a snowball effect of momentum in recruiting.  More importantly it will put us back in the topic of conversation as a team who can compete on a high level.
This Saturday I hope to see an absolute beat down in Neyland.  I would like to see Bray with 280 yards and 3 TDs at the half and then Worley play the entire 2nd half.  We need to score a lot of points and create some highlights, but we also need to get some new guys on the field.  Jason Croom , Justin King, and Drae Bowles to name a few are guys that we need to log in several minutes.  There are talks about Pig Howard playing, but everyone says he is not in game shape so his snaps will probably be limited.  We also need to get our young DBs on the field and what few LBs we have left to clock in some time. 
This weekend has an odd feel for Vol fans as we already have a win over an ACC team on the books and now we face a FCS team that we will destroy, but everyone knows the season has yet to start.  This is our final week of fall camp.  The season begins on September 15th and it is building up to be a night of excitement like we have not had in Knoxville in a while.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's Football Time in Tennessee

Finally.  I thought this day would never arrive and now we are about to start another season.  In my 35 years as a Vol fan no offseason can even come close to compare to this one.  I thought the 2011 season would never end, and then late in the 4th quarter of the Kentucky game I was hoping it would not end.  It did.  As the Kentucky fans stormed the field to celebrate the end of the streak I could not believe that Tennessee Football had fallen so low. 
During the offseason I dove into every type of information I possibly could to find out what are we doing to get back on top.  For the first time ever I got into the bowels of recruiting, coaching hires, and workout reports.  While so many friends and family members looked to have given up hope occasionally I would learn about something we were doing that finally showed promise.
Today I write to you to encourage you and give you great hope that we are only hours away and UT Football will begin to claw its way out of the mire and take back its God given right as a premiere football program.
Why will this team be better?  In order for you to compete at any level in the game of football you have to be good at the line of scrimmage.  Tennessee this offseason could not have done anything better to improve its defensive front.  This coaching staff should be given some credit by putting guys where they can make an immediate impact.  Against NC State we will start three Jucos.  Maurice Couch has proven he is an SEC talent and a leader of this team.  With him and Darrington Sentimore on the ends we will be much improved and the guys backing them up have played in more SEC games than they have.  Not to mention the man in the middle Daniel McCullers who comes in at 360lbs.  As for our linebackers we now have put some guys in a position to make plays.  Dooley said that when our starting LBs are on the field it is our best unit on the team.
On the other side of the ball we now have an SEC offensive line that is pissed off and nasty.  When Dooley started the O-line had zero starts and now has over 100.  The addition of Tiny Richardson at left Tackle has put Dallas Thomas in a better spot for him and we have speed to pull tackles and guards to create mismatch in the running game.  Rajion Neal worked out all summer with the O-line and he is a little bigger and faster than 2011 Heisman finalist Monte Ball from Wisconsin.  Make no mistake this team will run the ball well!
The best way I know to relate this upcoming season is to think about the 2006 team.  Erik Ainge was coming back for his junior year and had yet play an entire season as a starting QB.  We had our old OC back and were tougher on the O-Line again.  We had a nasty attitude and a terrible taste in our mouth from the 2005 season that ended on senior day with a loss to Vandy.  When we took the field against Cal there were pads popping early and orange jerseys flying to the ball.
I have heard for two weeks the typical down trodden fan accepting the fact we are in a tough game with NC State.  There is no way we lose this game.  If you think this team who has not been on a field since Lexington will let this golden moment pass them by then you are only thinking of the 2010-2011 football team.  Daniel Hood said “we will always be remembered as the team that broke the streak to Kentucky until we win again”.  This is the mindset of this football team.  They have worked their tails off this summer and have heard the heartache of the VolNation.  These players are ready for the Dome……… are you?  Vol Fans are you ready for success?  Are you ready to rock Cumberland Avenue again?  Are you ready to chant SEC after we have sung Rocky Top for the 97th time in the Dome? Well I am, and God willing I will be there to see it all happen!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meanwhile, 7 months later

43 days
As we inch closer to August 31st, we are starting to hit milestones that feed the big orange monster.  This afternoon, Derek Dooley will take the stand at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.  What surely looked like a firing line of hot seat questions, has, overnight, potentially turned into a recruit war with Florida.  Dooley will surely get asked multiple times about the academic status and eligibility of Phillips; questions he most certainly was not anticipating being asked.
Dante Phillips, the former 4* DT Florida commit who was denied entry by UF admissions, committed to and was accepted into the University of Tennessee, per an announcement last night.  Phillips joins fellow incoming D-Line monsters Darrington Sentimore, Daniel McCullers, and Danny O’Brien; the difference in Phillips?  He’s already got a personal vendetta against the Gators.  My confidence level in Derek Dooley just went from 5% to 10%.
I still haven’t gotten over losing to Kentucky, and maybe I never will.  In my mind, Dooley committed an unforgivable sin.  I knew the streak would end one day, but come on, not to that Kentucky team.  Not to a wide receiver playing quarterback on 3 days practice.  Just unacceptable.  Throw in the turnover on the staff, and I’ll gladly tell anyone who will listen that Derek Dooley is over his head and won’t last.
However, as we chug through these milestones (the next one is when the Vols report to camp on August 3rd), I can’t help but start to get excited.  Basically, I’m tired of attacking our own, and I’m ready to go after some NC State, Florida, and Georgia cronies.  I skipped Georgia State and Akron on purpose, because if I even have to acknowledge anything with those teams, then none of the other games are going to matter, because we’ll get to start talking about the next head coach after Dooley.
Anyway, back on topic with Media Days.  Dooley is taking Tyler Bray, Herman Lathers, and Ja’Waun James with him.  Sure, we all would’ve loved to see Da’Rick Rogers get the nod, but I think we can all understand why he didn’t.  The real question, since we all know Dooley will field questions about the temperature of his desk chair, is if Barbara Dooley will be in the crowd.
Okay, that’s my last Dooley shot for a while.  There’s plenty of negativity swirling, and even though I want to join in, I’m going to choose not to.  Dooley has taken his criticisms, put them in the trash bin, and still slapped together, arguably, a better staff than what bailed off of the perceived sinking ship.  He also assembled an *excellent* recruiting class.  Sure, it’s not the highest ranked class (17th overall (6th in the SEC) per Rivals), but the class filled many areas of serious need.  Defensive line aside, running back, wide receiver, and the defensive secondary got some serious depth.  Would’ve liked to pickup at least one more running back or offensive lineman, but it was still a really good class, in spite of all the turmoil and discontent swirling around Knoxville.
So as we sit 43 days from Atlanta, and 15 days from Fall Camp, my cynicism is draining, and my excitement level is rising.  It’s a new year, and I can’t do anything (aside from heavy drinking) to erase last year.  It feels like this Tennessee team is primed to be explosive, offensively and defensively, it’s just a matter of making it happen.  I feel like these guys are hungry; I just hope their as hungry as the rest of big orange nation is.
I wonder how long it will take before the Gator jort-holes start ripping Dante Phillips and Tennessee’s low admission standards.  I can hear them now: “Anyone can get into UT.  We have standards at Florida.  UT’s admissions are so low so the dumbass rednecks can get in to watch football.”
Or this one: “Dante Phillips sucked anyway.  He wouldn’t have played even if he did come here, we’re loaded with D-linemen.”
He’s a 4-star lineman, registered at 6’6”, 268 lbs.  Monster.  You don’t just throw an athlete with his skills and accolades to the curb because you didn’t need him.  Hopefully Tennessee actually lets him in, and we don’t walk away from this looking worse than Florida did.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

UT Picks Up Game Breaker at WR

Following one of the worst weeks of news in Tennessee Football history last week, UT fans now are breathing refreshing air.  First there was the news break that Derek Dooley had hired former Vol RB Jay Graham to coach RBs and now the announcement of one most sought after WR in the nation.

Today 4 star standout WR Alton “Pig” Howard from Orlando Florida Edgewater announced that he is a VFL!  Howard has been highly sought after and has 21 official offers according to rivals.  Howard is listed as  5’9” 178lb and runs a 4.4 / 40 time.  The addition to the current list of recruits is another emphasis this staff is committed to upgrading in speed.  It also is another message to the state of Florida that UT Assistant Coach Darin Hinshaw is a Beast in recruiting and continues to go into Florida and make UT known among top recruits.  

Expect Howard to make an immediate impact to this football team.  He plans to graduate from high school this month and he will enroll at UT in January.  This will allow him to begin workouts with team and get bigger, faster, and stronger.  This also means we will get to see Howard in the Orange and White Game.

The addition of Howard to this team will be dual threat.  He is athletic enough to run the Wildcat package and will defiantly be in the hunt and the mix in the return game.  Look for Howard to line up in the slot and attack the middle of the field against the 2012 opponents.  This addition to the team will only make this Passing attack more dangerous as Tyler Bray will now have another dangerous target to make plays in space!

Ladies and gentlemen welcome the “Pig”!

Go Vols