Friday, January 15, 2010

Derek Dooley . . . the other orange meat

Well, he may have been the fifth or sixth or whatever choice, but Derek Dooley finally got invited to the SEC Prom.

Vince's boy appears to be the choice for Tennessee's next coach, embodying all the qualities Mike Shula brought to the Alabama job . . . a mediocre resume topped off by a first-class family name.

Read the Knoxville paper for the latest. But an early Expat reaction goes something like this: Dooley appears to have real promise, but he was at least UT's fourth choice. So why the panic? Sure, Tennessee's recruiting class is bleeding away. But does anybody this side of Smoky think a former La. Tech coach (though he was Nick Saban's recruiting director at LSU) with a losing record is going to stop that?

Instead of racing at the speed of light to have a replacement in place, Tennessee should have learned something from its hated rival. Alabama turned to Shula without doing due diligence and learned a painful lesson. After firing him, then watching Rich Rodriguez go back on his word, Tide AD Mal Moore ignored the critics and his hysterical fanbase and took all the time he needed to get his guy. Three years later, Alabama won its 13th national championship under Saban and looks to once again dominate most of its rivals, including Tennessee.

Tennessee, on the other hand, went all in to save a handful of big-name recruits. They're gambling that Dooley will be great. If he isn't, the Vols could lose a lot more than a few blue-chippers. Did athletic director Mike Hamilton really exhaust all big-name possibilities before Dooley? Or does he think he's caught the next great coaching talent as he begins his ascent. Ask Vol fans which door they choose. Hamilton, after all, brought them Lane Kiffin.

The Rocky Toppers have this solace: Dooley spent three years under Saban, the two remain close, and, according to those who watched the introductory press conference, Dooley did a first-rate Nick impersonation, all the way down to several aights.

But Hamilton is reportedly making Dooley swallow the high-priced leftovers from Kiffin's staff, the issue that presumably ended negotiations with Cutcliffe. How well the coaches pull together and recognizes Dooley's authority is another obstacle to add to the new coach's list.

In the meantime, the Expats offer a musical interlude, in hopes of cooling the fevered brows of our UT brethren. Or not.

(Sung to Tom Dooley)

Hang down your head, Vince Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Vince Dooley
Your boy's about to die.

Swimmin' upstream to Knoxville
Derek's sposed to save UT
Ain't got a player worth nothin'
They're all headed to USC

Hang down your head, Vince Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Vince Dooley
Your boy's about to die.

Urban's down south just waiting
Knotting up a Gator noose
Saban's riding herd in Bama
Ready to stomp his orange juice.


Pretty boy left last Tuesday
After swearin' he loved you most
Turns out he was lyin'
All he left is burnt orange toast.

First call went to Texas
Next Air Force and Duke
Fat Phil wanted Cutcliffe
Knoxville made him want to puke.




Anonymous said...

This reads like it was written by an Alabama alum...

Michael said...

It was. But I ran it by the Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi guys. They thought I should have been tougher.


Bud said...

Not bad, MG. I hate to see a Dooley dragged through the orange mud though. Surely Derek wouldn't. Surely Tennessee wouldn't. But since it's all gone surreal I guess anything's possible. What about Georgia's former Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez? He's available.

Michael said...

BD, here's another way we can look at this:

Does Derek Dooley have the support and time he needs to grow into a very big job?

Rocky Top is a mountain of thin ice right now. Plus he inherits a fanbase furious that they were pinched by a carnie foisted on them by the athletic department, then left with a replacement whose name they wouldn't have recognized at the beginning of the week.

The SEC is so much better with a strong Tennessee. When will we see that again? Who knows.

Peter from Georgia said...

It looks like Dooley morphed into Dickey in your piece, MG. If you are flashing back to Doug Dickey, then you are really showing your age.

Tony Barnhart has a nice column about the Dooley-Dickey-Dooley hire in today's AJC.

Michael said...

Thanks Peter. Made the fixes. Proof again that everybody needs an editor.

Bud said...

I would love to hear from some of the Vol fans on their reaction to the Derek Dooley hire. With a record of 4-8 this past year at LA Tech, I have a feeling you may be a bit underwhelmed.

Unknown said...

I'm still smarting from drinking the Kiffin Kool-Aid. At this point, I'd rather my school get laughed at for losing than get heckled for losing, recruiting misdeeds, loud mouthed CEOs and player arrests. It is imperative that we give Dooley 3 years to rebuild this program. A National Championship isn't feasible, but a return to respectability is.

Anonymous said...

MG, there is one piece of evidence you should have thrown into the mix, just to keep everyone thinking. Gene Chizik went 5-19 in 2 seasons at Iowa St before coming to Auburn. Many die-hards, myself chief among them, expected a similar record down on the plains. But it's working out just fine. I've never been so glad to be wrong.

Now will Dooley do the same about-face on Rocky Top? We'll see. There are several similarities: not-so-good results at the last job, coming to much bigger job with bigger expectations (Iowa St is in a major conference, but how often are they relevant? About as often as La Tech) from the fan base.

Since Dooley and Saban are buds, will that stop or slow 'Bama's raid on the UT recruits?

One more thing and I'll shut up.. The title of the post - if Dooly is the "other" orange meat, is the original orange meat Lane Kiffin or Dabo Swinney?