Derek Dooley looked like a whimpering beaten dog when Nick Saban was patting him on the back repeatedly near the UT side of the field following the end to the mercy killing Alabama handed Tennessee on Saturday night in Knoxville. This staff and so-called "team" is an absolute disaster and it's time to understand that and move on.
No way UT beats Vandy in Nashville because this Vol bunch won't care and Vanderbilt will want and smell blood. This team may beat Missouri because they're so bad but don't count on that or on Kentucky either. God help UT vs South Carolina in Columbia this next weekend after they were embarrassed by Florida. As I said last week on the radio that is the worst thing that could happen for Tennessee. And now even Troy is no given if they mail it in.
Why would any recruit who's wanted by all the big boys like Vonn Bell of Ridgeland High School want to pick the Vols now? To me this "team" peaked in its first game vs N.C. State and has deteriorated ever since. Florida under Wil Muschamp on the other hand has done just the opposite after going 0-6 vs teams with a winning record in Muschamp's first year. To me Dooley is history- dead coach walking sadly on crutches. The sad tale of the tape on him in his 2 1/2 seasons at UT:
0-14 vs ranked teams
2-18 in 2 1/2 seasons vs BCS teams with a winning record- N C State (assuming they finish 2012 that way)and Cincinnati (2011)
1-11 in his last 12 SEC games (Vanderbilt in overtime in Knoxville 2011)
5-10 in his last 15 games
There are three Tennessee boosters who have the clout and money to buy out Dooley et al and shoot for the stars on a hire as UT can't afford it with only a million or so in the athletic department reserve fund and football revenues plummeting. They are Charlie Ergen of Dish Networks and EchoStar; Charlie Anderson, the magazine, CD, media distributor mogul and, of course, the Haslam family, led now by Jimmy Haslam who just spent a billion to buy the Cleveland Browns. As to whether any or all of them will I have no clue.
If UT AD Dave Hart intends to fire Dooley he needs to be searching after the SC game if Tennessee is routed as I expect as many big schools will be looking for new coaches. As to the Jon Gruden rumors, as best as I can discern he makes $4.3 million a year at ESPN with a multi-year contract and is their new rock star. I don't think he's a viable option. Frankly, unless they pony up $5-6 million a year I don't know who would be. Hart might have to fall back on Kirby Smart, Saban's defensive coordinator and chief assistant at Alabama and hope he can become Wil Muschamp II.
Ergen's net worth is estimated at $9-10 billion
Anderson's businesses have been on the decline in a disappearing industry but he's still a major player and has been trying to diversify.
Jimmy Haslam owns 35 percent of the family's 59 percent stake in Pilot Oil/Flying J with annual sales of some $29 billion.
Anyway you look at it, Tennessee football is in a deep, deep hole - maybe an abyss. For what it's worth, my radio commentary on Monday noon- 3 p.m. EDT on The Show - with Chris Goforth
will be brutal. Tune in to www.foxsportschattanooga.com
to listen online or in Chattanooga to WDEF-AM 1370.
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Maybe I am in a minority (usually am), but I still want Dooley for another year. He deserves a chance to use his full recruiting classes and hopefully will have better luck on injuries, etc.
The constant carping by fair weather Vol fans is getting old. Have some patience, folks. Why blow a $5 million buyout, no matter who pays it, on a guy who has given his all for the program? Don't the carpers realize that the coaching profession would thumb their noses at a school that flips coaches like tiddlywinks?
That said, if Mr. Hartless decides to roll the dice, I have a thought. Make a deal with Cutcliffe and Chavis with an offer they can't refuse. Proven winners, home folks and legacies in Ktown.