A short but sweet edition of the Dooleyisms. This week we learn that older more mature players are better than immature players, who’s playing well, and who’s not.
On the Bye Week
I feel pretty good about how we handled the open date. I feel like we got a lot accomplished. We worked them pretty hard early in the week and they came back, took advantage of the two days off and had a really energetic practice today…We did a lot of work on preventing big plays and there are some trends that you see. There are some trends schematically and some trends personnel-wise. It is just addressing it, coaching a little bit better. That is where it starts, coaching these guys a little bit better when the ball breaks on what to do and where to fit. It is being conscious of maybe where we get a little stressed schematically and then making sure we don’t do too much so we don’t make mistakes. Most of those plays generally start with a little bit of an alignment error, then it is not playing the blocks very well from a toughness standpoint and then the ball breaks and not being able to get the guy down in space. There were some trends and of all the things I guess we said we had to stop during this open date it is these long runs over 30 yards, really over 15 yards. But we’ve had some really long ones, more than you want in a career…It’s hard to say if it helped until you go see them next week.
I hope the Vols do some good things this week. Historically the Vols have a pretty good record post-bye week. Last year Tennessee lost at home to LSU. 2012 Mississippi State is not 2011 LSU, so I don’t know what, if any trends, we can clean from this information. Also any attempt at negating long runs from Mississippi State would be welcome.
On Converting Experience into Wins
They have never really been uptight or nervous but there comes a point where we are learning these lessons each week, let’s convert them into some wins. We all know we need to do that. This is a good opportunity on the road against a good football team that has a lot of swagger right now. They are 7-0 in their last seven games. I don’t care who you play, that is hard to do.
If Dooley wants the Dooleyisms to return in 2013, this is a must-win game for this program. I don’t think 7-5 is good enough for him to keep his job, and Alabama and South Carolina loom on the schedule. Both of those are tough contests to be sure.
On Night Games
We have a routine that we do for all times. We won’t really get our day started probably until lunch time. We will eat breakfast and all that but you just kind of lay around. Then there is a little routine you do based on kickoff and we’ll stick to that. The kick time is a big deal for the fans to me, but [not] for the players and the coaches. You should be ready, there is no excuse for not being ready. I think it is tough for the fans. I’ve expressed that concern since July. We have like eight teams play after 7 p.m. in the league
Personally, I love the night games. I have a three year old. Have you ever attempted to corral a three year old while paying attention to you favorite team? Three scenarios: 1. You miss the good plays attempting to keep your child out of the light socket. 2. Your kid messes with the light socket and your wife gets angry. 3. You DVR the game, and it gets ruined by the ONE person you forgot to tell that you didn’t want updates from. I like night games thank you very much.
On Big Dan McCullers
I think he is improving every week. Our challenge now is to see how much we can play him before he hits a dip because he is a good football player. We need to keep amping up his plays each week no matter what the offense does. We are learning more about him and some of the other new guys on defense…He brings a different kind of pass rush because he can push the pocket which is just as effective sometimes. It’s not like we have any sack-masters up there. We’re not taking any pass-rush specialists out of the game if we put him in.
If he brings any kind of pass-rush that’s an improvement
On Changing Starters
We haven’t really made a decision on [starters for the] Mississippi State game. There may be a guy or two that will play a lot more or maybe start. I wasn’t ready to just start making changes, but we are going to keep evaluating…LaDarrell McNeill is going to play a lot. There is a good chance he is going to start. We’ll see how he does this week. He is a good football player and he just has to get in there. He closes to the ball probably better than any of them back there so he is going to have plenty of opportunity to prove he can or can’t do it.
On the Cowbells
Of course, the cowbells make it a little different. The 55,000 plus the cowbells. They are all rowdy, they all are. The home-field advantage usually occurs when the home team is playing really well and the visiting team is a little bit on its heels. You saw it in some of these games on Saturday. When you go out there and you play well, it diminishes the value of the home-field advantage. We’ve seen it in our stadium. When we are playing well and the other team is on its heels a little bit, the home-field advantage is huge, but if the home team is not playing well or the other team is really playing well, it’s not as big a deal. Probably the most important thing is having a good, veteran squad who can manage it and we should be ok on that. We were in a pretty hostile environment two weeks ago and we maintained our poise for four quarters. We struggled early and that is why we have to do a better job of being ready early.
I have a fever, and the only cure, is less cowbells. Prescription Tyler Bray and co.
On Being More Mature:
It is experience and with experience is the physical maturity, the emotional maturity, all the things I talked about a year ago that we weren’t quite there on. Physically we are able to maintain that kind of hitting for 85 snaps, we aren’t breaking as the game goes. Emotionally, we are able to maintain our focus and discipline through 85 snaps. It’s just like if you get in a fight and you are swinging early, you are hitting, but as the hits keep coming, your hands start dropping. Guys who have been training and are experienced and are physically mature, have a better ability to sustain it. It’s just how it is.
This team is bigger, stronger, and deeper than last year’s team. Whether it’s enough to handle the Bulldogs on Saturday remains to be seen. I certainly hope so. I like Dooley, but I like wins more.