Dooley Makes an Appearance, Kiffin does a Knoxville Interview

Speaking to the Big orange tip-off club Dooley makes his first public appearance since the day after National Signing Day. Find out what he said about the team, and what He and his staff are doing by following the link below.

Coach Dooley’s appearance yesterday calmed a lot of anxiety by the Vol’s die hard faith football fans. He did a good job speaking and answered questions for45 minutes as well as being the last to leave the room signing autographs and such. He came across relaxed and less guarded than I thought he seemed to be in his other appearances. He told a couple of funny stories from Louisiana Tech days about his mom and a story about Chuck Smith from high school where Smith beat up on him when Smith was a freshman on the scout team and Dooley was a senior. He also joked that he could read the NCAA rules a lot better than most coaches because of his law degree.

Dooley addressed his media policy as well saying that nothing is set in stone and his assistants would be allowed to talk in some instances but he wanted one voice speaking for the program. “It’s not going to be open season with them,” Dooley said. “And I don’t want them to speak solely for the program.” This is very similar to NFL teams and lots of major colleges as the head coach wants only one message getting out about practice and thats his message.

As for specifics on his job, Dooley laughed and said he wasn’t in a bunker, he just didn’t have much to say right now as he builds his program from a structure standpoint as well as getting to know his players. Dooley wouldn’t name names, but said that there would be several players not going through spring practice because they are coming off injuries from last season (Frazier won’t go, Reveiz will be limited, Toney Williams should be good to go, and Denarius Moore is still in wait and see mode).

As for his goals for spring practice, Dooley said it was really four focal points. One is to get a handle on his personnel. Improving fundamentals. Learning the new schemes and fourthly, developing the values of his program in terms of how they play the game. The effort, the discipline and the pride they will play with for Tennessee. The players are in the middle of the off-season program which is four days of work with lifting every day, two days of speed work and two days of agility, football movement type of work. And of course they are doing seven on sevens on their own.

So what has he been working on?

“Everybody says, ‘Well, what have you been working on?’ ” Dooley said. “It’s the same thing they’re doing at every other school. No. 1, we’re doing our offseason program, and what we do is we’re working four days a week — Monday and Thursday is speed improvement, Tuesday and Friday is more agility and football movements. No. 2, we’re doing a lot of junior recruiting, which means evaluating and identifying the high school players, who we want to get to know better, putting out offers. No. 3, of course, we’re putting in our new systems — offense, defense and special teams — so there’s a lot of meetings, getting to know the coaches, ideas popping. Then, No. 4 is what I’ve really been putting a lot of energy in, getting that support around all this.”

“I think it really starts with, we’re putting together a lot of teams,” Dooley said. “It’s one big team, but it’s a lot of little teams — starting with a coaching staff, starting with the players, starting with the administrative support. And to do that at a place with the amount of resources as Tennessee, the number of people at Tennessee, it takes a little time. But I do think it starts with also developing a mission of who we are, what we stand for, what we’re doing, and that’s what I’ve been trying to put my energy on the last few weeks. Really it’s about defining and creating a culture around our student athletes. We’ve got about 120 football players on a team, 85 on a scholarship, so that right there is our market.”

I think this appearance goes along way in my mind at reaching out to the fan base. It just shows us that he is hard at work trying to be successful and when he does have time to come out and talk he will talk till everyone is satisfied. I am very glad we got him as our coach as he has his plan and is going about implementing his plan in an orderly way.

Kiffin Speaks

Al Davis tried to warn us but we didn’t listen when it came to hiring Lane Kiffin. Luckily we came out better than he predicted we would. Kiffin has not ever been shy from the media and refraining from talking bad about his former employer Lane Kiffin granted the Knoxville News Sentinel an Interview on Tuesday. He talked about everything ranging from the hiring of coach Derek Dooley, to death threats after his departure, to Mike Hamilton’s recent comments about him not being a good cultural fit.

Kiffin on Hamilton’s comments: “I don’t really know exactly what that means,” said Kiffin, who was UT’s coach for just 14 months. “I don’t think at the end of day that has anything to do with whether you score points or whether you win games. Where you’re from? I don’t know. That’s just my opinion. Is Nick Saban from Alabama? Is Urban Meyer from Florida? Those are two of the best coaches in the country. So I don’t think that really means anything.” For the record, Saban is from West Virginia and Meyer is from Ohio. But Coach Kiffin what you don’t understand is they embraced traditions at their school and didn’t go attacking everyone else verbally without backing it up on the field. The embraced what it means to be an SEC head coach and realize that it is truly a dream job.

Kiffin on his departure: “I really tried to do the right thing with the media there,” Kiffin said. “When you look around the nation, when coaches leave places, they don’t address the media at the places they’re leaving. They usually talk to their team and they get out of there. That kind of backfired on me. I guess I would have done that different and do what everybody else does, and just takeoff.” What backfired is your unwillingness to even take one question. This is the SEC the media is gonna want answers and the fans are gonna want answers. Your timing was awful (not to mention your announcement interrupted my favorite show NCIS) and your handling of the situation in general sucked but at least your gone now.

Kiffin on death threats: Kiffin recently said on an exclusive Sportscenter interview that he and his family had received death threats from fans irate about his departure. For the most part, he said, those threats have stopped. “We still get an occasional fax or a message sent this way,” Kiffin said, “but those are a handful of people that I don’t think represent the majority of people there, who are great people.” Yes it is sad that vol fans stoop this low but I am glad he realizes that is not the majority of us. Yeah we were mad you left but death threats? Unless it comes in the form of the Death Penalty from the NCAA then that is a bit much.

Kiffin on the hiring of Dooley and the state of the Program: “I don’t know Coach Dooley at all,” he said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever met him. I’m sure he’ll do a wonderful job there and keep Tennessee rolling.” Kiffin has no doubt that Dooley is better off than when Kiffin replaced former coach Phillip Fulmer. “I know this: From the day that I got there to the day that we left, that roster was drastically better than it was,” Kiffin said. “Really at the end of the day, that’s my job as a head coach, is to improve the roster and improve what the kids are doing in the classroom. And we did that as well.” It is true we have more talented play makers recruited in the last two classes than under Fulmer. This team will be lead by a small contingent of upper class men who have stuck through the changes though. And as for grades the team attended classes and had hire GPA’s than in most years under Fulmer.

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About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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