Dooley's words linger as his UT tenure reportedly nears the finish

Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:08pm

Before his team exited the locker room after an emotional overtime victory over Vanderbilt last year Derek Dooley left the players with a reminder.

In a postgame speech caught on video, the University of Tennessee coach proclaimed, "The one thing Tennessee always does is kick the [expletive] out of Vanderbilt.”

Apparently, Dooley has just one last chance to make good on his promise.

The embattled coach brings the hapless Volunteers into Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2). According to VolQuest.com and GoVols247.com, Dooley will be fired at the end of the season. Dooley said he talked to athletics director Dave Hart about his job status on Sunday.

“He told me he had not made a decision if we go 6-6 [and become bowl eligible], despite what all the reports are,” Dooley said. “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.”

UT (4-6, 0-6 SEC) limps in as a four-point underdog to bowl-eligible Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3). UT last lost to Vanderbilt in Nashville in 1982.

Lately any SEC win has been hard to come by for the Vols, who are 1-13 in league play the last two years. Their only win came against Vanderbilt last year in Knoxville. Tennessee rallied to force overtime, where former Hillsboro standout Eric Gordon intercepted a Jordan Rodgers pass and returned it 90 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

UT’s sixth straight win over the Commodores led to Dooley’s raucous postgame speech, which hours later made its way to YouTube. Two days later, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said he would address Dooley’s comments the following season and let the team watch the clip “as many times as we’ve got to watch it next year.”

“That is a wound I am going to leave open. It is not going to heal,” Franklin said then.

On Monday, both coaches addressed the video.

“I don’t think Vanderbilt needs a lot of motivation to want to come whip us,” Dooley said. “I’m sure they have plenty of motivation. They don’t need that. I can’t take that back.”

Franklin said he won’t show the speech this week or include it in the team’s weekly highlight film shown on Fridays. He also reiterated several times his “tremendous respect” for Dooley.

“I’ve matured dramatically since that game,” Franklin said with a smile. “We have one of the best hospitals in the United States so that wound is healed. It is about Vanderbilt. It is about us getting better and us doing our job. ... We’ve been trying to get better every single day since we arrived on campus and that’s our focus. If we need any other types of motivation, then our focus isn’t where it needs to be.”

• Stacy to play: Running back Zac Stacy will be ready to play against Tennessee, Franklin said.

The senior left Saturday’s game against Ole Miss after injuring his right leg on the game’s second play. He had to be helped off the field and did not return. Stacy, the school’s all-time leading rusher, has carried the ball just 13 times in the last two games after injuring his ankle against Massachusetts on Oct. 27. Franklin would not say if Saturday’s injury was season ending.

“My policy is that we do not talk about injuries,” Franklin said. “We expect Zac to be full-go and ready to go like every other person on our roster for Saturday.”

• Weekly honors: For the second straight week, and fourth time this year, a Vanderbilt player earned weekly accolades from the SEC.

On Monday, junior Walker May was named the defensive lineman of the week. May, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end, made six tackles, with three going for a loss. He also sacked Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace for a loss of 14 yards in the second quarter.

Last week, kicker Carey Spear and offensive lineman Wesley Johnson were both honored. Center Joe Townsend and Richard Kent have also been named players of the week this year.

7 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 11/13/12 at 7:31

Coach Dookies career highlight is beating Vandy in overtime. Theres one for the trophy shelf. His lone SEC win? Only thing holding up his firing is they keep getting turned down by all the big names. No one wants this so called illustrious job. How do you think they ended up with Dookie? 4th choice?

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: Rasputin72 on 11/13/12 at 8:00

Derek Dooley is no doubt a good man,but as a coach he is probably as far over his head as one can get in the SEC.

He is a Georgia boy and would be a good coach for "The Westminster school in Buckhead.

I am going out on a limb with tears in my eyes and predict that Tennessee will beat Vanderbilt. Not because of Derek Dooley but because history says they will.

By: govskeptic on 11/13/12 at 8:15

To allow Vandy to beat those pesky Vols at home once every 30 years sounds
only fair to this UT fan. Time for Dooley to leave, Fulmer to be confined to a
regular stadium seat, anyone on selection team that assisted or confirmed
either Kiffen or Dooley hire to be excluded from next selection effort. Last
week's Ala. Vs A&M game showed highest paid coach in the country can
be out coached by one much further down the pay scale, but not the
Community College scale.

By: karatero on 11/13/12 at 9:15

govskpetic:

"To allow Vandy to best those pesky Vols".......Hardly.....And when Vandy comes ready to play this weekend and Dooley is calling moving companies to assist in his departure from Knoxville I hope those words go down hard.......

By: HamBoneHamBone on 11/13/12 at 9:31

Bigger issue after Dooley leaves is making sure that whoever comes in can recruit from out of state. There is simply nowhere near the talent in high school football in this state to make UT competitive in the SEC. South Carolina, with less than 75% of the population of Tennessee, has FAR more talent than this state does. The only way forward for the Vols is out-of-state.

That's why they need Chucky.

By: wiseguy1 on 11/13/12 at 9:55

Time to see if the 'Dores are still carrying baggage from the last 30 years vs UT. You know UT is going to be pumped and we all know they can score points. In conference games UT averages scoring 31.8 where VU averages 19.4. Fortunately, UT also takes the cake in giving up points in conference games, 43.7 to VU's 21.4. Throw out UK and VU's margin of victory over Auburn, Mizzou & Ole Miss is 9 pts total. All W's but not what I would call dominant.

Boils down to VU offense ... again, 3rd down conversions & scoring. If you have any doubt about urgency of 3rd down conversions review Ole Miss game; first half (0/6) scoring 6 points and second half (6/8) scoring 21 points. D will show up but UT will still score. As long as D doesn't give up big plays they will have their end covered. I think Ole Miss exploited VU secondary pretty well ... 403 yards or so ... UTs top 2 scorers are receivers. UT ranks above Ole Miss in conference games in just about every offensive category.

All this means a tough game. Cliche, but who want's it the most. The winner will have earned it for sure.

I'm up for another round of "Franklin's Firsts" in post game press conference.

Go Dores!!

By: 4gold on 11/13/12 at 4:41

Dooley's replacement is a done deal. Rich Nagy Defensive coordiantor from Western Michigan. Announcment at end of season. W. Mich. is 5-5 this year. They think they have found a real gem. Jon Gruten is heart broken rolling around his living room floor laughing at the thought of moving to the arm pit of Tennessee.