This week’s Dooleyisms have a melancholy tone. But, they also have a silver lining. There is room for improvement, and there are nine games left. It’s only September 17th, Happy Constitution Day everybody.
On “Most” of the Florida game:
We had a great game going as we all now. Sitting there in the third quarter, 3:27 to go, up seven, outgaining them 300 to 250. Then, we had a series of events that really we obviously weren’t ready for. Four out of the next 10 plays they get 225 yards and 21 points. On the other side, we had an interception that certainly wasn’t Tyler’s (Bray) fault. It got a little loose in protection. The guy made a good hit on him as he’s throwing an opportunity ball. We’re sitting there at 9:55 in the fourth, down 14.
There is a lot to be said about this. It felt much worse than it really was. One of my friends said we didn’t compete. We competed, we just had a bad stretch.
On the Offense’s ability to come back:
There was a moment there when too many people were not listening to the voice of reason. It’s like I’ve told the team, down 14 with 9:55 to go against anybody in the country, we should have the confidence that we can come back and win.
Yep, we need to get the swagger back. And when I mean back, I mean remember we are Tennessee. They didn’t build that giant stadium for a bunch of turd football teams!
On Brian Randolph
ACL. I hurt for Brian, but he’ll be fine and we’ll move on… Byron (Moore) has been playing pretty good football. He just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing. Brent (Brewer) needs to get in there and we need to get Rod (Wilks) and LaDarrell (McNeil) going.
Byron Moore and Brent Brewer will be starting this weekend against the Akron Zips. Unfortunately Randolph is Tennessee’s most dynamic defensive back. He brings a lot of flexibility. Two years in a row, UT lost a great player on a non-contact injury against the Gators. But it’s nice to bring a former starter back off the bench. UT’s depth is getting there.
Akron, you all know the kind of success Terry Bowden has had in his coaching career. The one thing you know about any Bowden, and Terry especially, is that they know how to score a lot of points. And they’re scoring about 40 points a game, 400 yards throwing the ball, spreading it out. It’s going to be a whole different dynamic again on trying to stop these guys. Defensively, they’re playing the scheme old FSU played with Chuck Amato, Micky Andrews, a lot of good coaching. We have our work cut out for us this week and we have to move on.
BOWDEN BALL! GET YOUR DADGUM TICKETS!
On a Quick Turn of Events:
We went down 14, there was a level, not just in Tyler but in everybody, of shock. I think there was a level of shock. We’re sitting there in total command of the game and all of a sudden 21 points go on the board before we can even catch our breath. Tyler made a lot of great throws in this game. Even when all that was happening, he made some really good throws. Then he made some throws that weren’t so good…That was the disappointment. There’s a lot of reasons for it. You’re going to always have a level of `holy smokes.’ It’s human nature, but being able to work your way out of it is the catch. Unfortunately when it happened was the wrong time. A couple of minutes go by and they grind some clock and all of a sudden you’re down 17 with five minutes to go. Everything changes. You can’t run your balanced offense, you’re throwing too much. The reality is when we play these good defenses, we can’t be throwing it 44 times, we just can’t. We were on pace to do exactly what we wanted to do, we really were, until all that stuff happened.
I love listening to Dooley, but that’s on him.
On What Dooley should’ve done differently:
We’ve been talking about this for a long time of exercising that balance on pushing the envelope of what we can do schematically defensively to where it’s aggressive, it’s impacting the game versus too much to where now we’ve created confusion and not playing fast. The hard part on here was that didn’t really hit us that it was really happening until late. So it wasn’t like we went into halftime saying `they’re doing all this stuff.’ We were having a lot of communication issues. When you reflect back on it, certainly tighten that down a little bit. I think on the other end and I commented on this at the locker room, we probably played our skill guys too much. I know we did. (Justin) Hunter and CP (Cordarrelle Patterson) had over 70 snaps. (Mychal) Rivera has too many snaps. Rajion (Neal) has too many snaps. That’s my fault. It’s a classic case of you’re getting into a game against a good team. Things are in control and you don’t want to disrupt it. We have to exercise trust in what we’ve been doing, rolling guys early especially, so we have every ounce of juice we need in the fourth quarter. That’s why I say I think all these things are correctable. It’s not a situation where it’s doomsday. We can overcome.
I hate to bring it up, it’s sorta like sour grapes, but Da’Rick Rogers would’ve been nice to have on the sideline. He could’ve spelled the other two, let Patterson learn the offense, and he is the most sure handed of the three. Oh well. “We can overcome.”
On AJ Johnson
He’s awesome. We have a lot of guys [running the wildcat]. A.J. was great. He plays every play like it’s his last. Doesn’t matter what’s the score. That’s why he’s a great player…He ran Wildcat in high school. When we were recruiting him, I told him we’d do that. We didn’t do it last year because he was a freshman trying to learn the defense. I knew after the first game we were going to do it. We didn’t bring it out he second game because we didn’t think we needed it. We used it and it helped us. He can do anything, he’s A.J. He can do anything.
I love AJ Johnson, ever since he committed verbally to UT under Lane Kiffin, stayed with Dooley, the guy has been a “baller” ever since.
On the Kickers:
I don’t know the answer to the kicker question right now other than we have to keep doing a better job with him on game day to go out there and not worry about missing a kick. We have the yips right now on PAT.
Surely there’s a soccer player (male or female) who can make PATs right?
On Florida Gashing the Perimeter of the Defense:
I think it’s a couple of things. They did a good job with all the formations and shifts and movements. We knew they would. A lot of times we didn’t get the adjustment we needed. Sometimes we didn’t play good, sound, fundamental, set-the-edge football. Sometimes it’s a communication issue and sometimes it’s fundamental football. That was our big emphasis. You can’t play good defense without setting the edge and we lost the edge too much.
Also Florida is fast. That never hurts.
On the Team’s Immediate Reaction:
The first thing is they were gutted. There was a lot of emotional investment in that game by the fans, by everybody associated with Tennessee. It hurt, that game hurts. I think it’s a good sign that kind of pain is on us. We felt like we could go toe-to-toe and we did. We screwed it up. They hurt more than I’ve seen one of our teams hurt after a loss, which they should. Today, they were great. It’s time to move on. We have a lot of confidence in who we are and where we’re headed. That little stretch of bad ball we played is like I said we have to make it what we did and not who we are.
It’s good that it hurts so bad, it means we’re close.
I don’t think a quarterback ever really gets it. The quarterback starts playing his best ball in the NFL his seventh year in the league. It’s hard. Tyler did some nice things. This was a good defense we played, make no mistake of that. This was a good defense. They probably have two first-rounders on the D-line. They have some great linebackers. That secondary is really aggressive. Their hands were on us the whole game. Those tight throws that he made, there’s not many guys that can make it. Now was he perfect? No, he made a lot of mistakes too. When you play a good defense, you’re going to have that. We were a couple plays in the second half, we had an opportunity ball to CP (Cordarrelle Patterson), the first play of the fourth quarter could’ve changed things. We had another one in the fourth quarter where Justin (Hunter) is coming in over the middle and he throws a strike right to him and we don’t catch it on third down. It could’ve been about a 25-yard gain. It didn’t happen so we move on…There has to be a level of acknowledgement that you’re a little affected by events that are out of your control. Did that happen? Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that happened. We were down 14. It happened so quickly. That’s a big step Tyler needs to take. I think the unfair thing is to say he doesn’t care. It’s not fair to say that he shuts it down, he doesn’t. But when he gets frustrated and things that are out of his control start bothering him, he doesn’t perform as well. He knows that. He’ll grow from it and learn from it. Nobody wants to play well more than Tyler. Sometimes he wants to play well too hard. He’s better when he’s not worried about playing well and he’s just playing.
A lot of fan criticism of Bray. Rightly so, but his season and career aren’t over. There are a lot of good things to like about Tyler Bray still. give him another chance. It’ll click against somebody good soon.
On Tiny Richardson
You have to be careful sometimes when he’s going because he’s a big guy. He’s such a great competitor. You talk about emotionally invested and playing well and when. He’s learning how to keep his composure. That’s his third start, his first big time SEC football game. It took us about nine times to not line up in the back field. I think that’s just going to come with time. Tiny is doing good. He’s out there competing. Blocking some of great defensive linemen. He’s still young in his career. The more experience he gets, the more his leadership can impact us in a positive way.
Kid has a load of talent for sure. He was jumpy, it was his first real Florida game. He’ll be ok too.