I incorrectly guessed that the Final Dooleyisms were going to be South Carolina week. We’ve had a couple of editions since. I still am wondering how many of these we’re gonna have. This one was tough to listen to and watch. He seems weary of the stress. Which is reasonable. That being said, I think it’s time for Dooley to go. Even if he wins three more games.
I will really sum up on the Missouri game is we were sitting there with 4:43 to go in the game and our defense [to that point] had 59 plays, 295 yards, 14 points and two turnovers. At that point, that is about as good a defensive game that you can play. Then we gave up three plays there on the last drive, two on fourth down, and we really struggled in overtime to slow them down. Another tough, disappointing loss, that is four in this league where it came down really to the last possession. For both squads, all three units had a chance to impact the game and we didn’t get it done so we move on to Vandy.
Oh boy. It’s telling that giving up 295 yards (which is good) is as good as UT can do. I don’t fundamentally disagree with this statement, but it sure is sad that it’s true.
On Not Attempting to Win the Game in Regulation:
Everybody is making a huge deal about that. I answered it after the game and I don’t feel any differently. We were struggling on offense. The last four possessions we didn’t execute well, we weren’t looking good and when we went out there we were going out there to win the game. That is what our philosophy was and the first play we screw up, get the ball, and then the second play we screw up the execution. I think there were about 35 seconds and we had a third and 10. I just didn’t have confidence that we were going to get it and then, all of a sudden, you put the best player on their whole team out on the field to change the game and I didn’t want to do that. I felt like we could beat them in overtime. We were at home and I felt like our offense, over the course of time we performed better than their offense.
Hindsight is definitely 20-20. However, if the Vols tried once more and punted. Aren’t you willing to take that chance? It seems like a super-conservative decision especially considering how terrible the defense looked in the four minutes of football immediately prior to this.
On Curt Maggitt:
He is out for the year with a torn ACL. That was a real blow and hurt us that last drive. He was doing a great job of copping the quarterback the whole game and that hurt us there on a couple of things toward the stretch.
This stinks for Curt. The hope now is that he is 100% on August 31st 2013. Hopefully he is. He is one of our better defenders.
On his Immediate Future:
I didn’t ask him (Dave Hart) that but I did ask him a lot of things. We talked very frankly about it. He told me he had not made a decision if we go 6-6, despite what all the reports are. Either the sources are wrong or Dave wasn’t being forthright with me and I have no reason to think Dave is not being forthright with me. He is an honest man, he has always been honest with me and I have appreciated how he has handled everything about this. I really have.
This is a virtually impossible question for the guy to answer. What do you want him to say? “I talked to Dave, and I am canned ASAP”.? I realize the reporter has the right/responsibility to answer, but Dooley can’t answer that in good faith.
On Player’s Attitudes:
I think the irony in all this is that we beat up the young kids so bad on their behavior all the time and they are the ones handling all of this better than anybody. There is no negativity on the team, there are no mean-spirited comments, there is no gossip, so I am proud of them for doing that. We probably all ought to learn from them a little bit.
I’ve never been in that locker-room, but what I can reasonably explain is that at least they have a task to focus on, and (probably) their competitive spirit as athletes is going to take over and want to beat the crap out of Vanderbilt. How many of you have wanted badly to win a pick-up basketball game that didn’t matter? That’s how the team probably feels.
On His Family:
The hardest thing is when they are seeing things that are contrary to what their dad is telling them. That’s where it gets a little tough, but that is part of the profession. We have to deal with it. That’s how it is…I can’t make that decision. I can give you compelling arguments why I should and there are plenty of compelling arguments about why I shouldn’t. It’s not going to be your decision, it’s not going to be a bunch of these source’s decisions, it is Dave [Hart] and the chancellor. It is their decision and I can’t control what they think. We’ve had a lot of good dialogue. I think he has a good handle on how I do things in our program, where we are and why we are not getting the results we want, so you move on and live with it.
This must be a very difficult time in the Dooley house. Sure, his kids won’t go hungry, but it still has to be emotionally challenging for all of them.
On the Continuing Inadequacy of the UT Defense:
It was very effective for three quarters, up to four minutes to go in the game. Then we didn’t execute very well down the stretch. I was really pleased and I was proud of the kids, they played their tails off. They did and it is unfortunate it ended the way it ended. It really is. That’s what hurts you is the way you lose it…I think it helped Sal [Sunseri], he called a great game. I think it helped the other coaches, I think we did a good job on the sideline. I thought everything was positive but we just didn’t finish it and that is what we have to learn how to do. We are going to keep on the same course…We lost a couple of guys there late, we lost LaDarrell [McNeil] and we lost Curt [Maggitt] on that scramble. We got hurt on fourth down on just the play getting extended a little bit longer than it had been earlier in the game. Then eventually our zones that we had been running the whole game, there were some openings in there. Same thing in the overtime.
I am at a loss for words at how dreadful this defense is.
We are playing a little different team. They play a lot of 21 and two-back pro-style, a lot of shifts and motions so it is going to be a little challenge. We have to figure out what we are going to do…They have done a great job. I guess it is good for the rivalry, it makes better games, but they are doing a good job. They did a good job before James [Franklin] got there, they did a really nice job recruiting and he has done a nice job of bringing some really good energy to the program. They are playing with a lot of confidence… I don’t think Vanderbilt needs a lot of motivation to come and whip us. I am sure they have plenty of motivation that they don’t need that. I can’t take that back.
For the first time in my life, and probably for the first time in the lives of all but the oldest Tennessee fans. UT is not going to sell out their ticket allotment in Nashville, AND, they aren’t going to be favored. Not only that, the Vols should not be favored. This is truly an awkward time for Volunteer football. Hopefully this ship gets righted soon.
On Tyler Bray:
I have just seen him prepare and practice with a little more focus every day. A little more consistency. I don’t think it is a significant change in what he is doing, I think it is part of his growth and process. Every quarterback goes on that journey and everybody moves at a different pace and everybody starts making some big jumps at different times in their career. He has made a big jump in the last few weeks and I hope he can keep doing that…He would go for it if it was 4th and 15 on the minus 10 and we are up 21. He just wants to go score points and that is okay. I just say, `Would you hush? Go do it on third down if you want to go for it. ‘ That is what I tell him. That is what I told him at the end of the game. `You had two chances and you screwed them up. Don’t get mad at me.’ Sometimes he isn’t doing what you guys are thinking that he is doing. He is screaming because he wants to do something. It is not adversarial. The one time he punted he ball and he didn’t get the signal we were going for it. Sometimes you have those miscommunications. It is not him getting upset with us. I guess we have to work on that. I didn’t know that was a big issue out there. He is not showing up the coaches, but he would like to call the plays.
Bray certainly has that gun-slinger mentality. Love him or hate him, he hasn’t been the reason for Tennessee’s struggles this season. He may not be a Peyton Manning in the locker-room. But few people are.
On the Fake Field Goal
Every week you go in with some fakes on all the phases depending on how they line up. It doesn’t mean you are going to get them but it means you are going to have a better chance of getting it if they line up otherwise. They lined up how we thought they would line up and we ran it. I didn’t think that was a risky call like you guys. We were going to kick it if they lined up differently.
Loved Tyler Drummer on that play. The brightest spot of the second half for me.