Derek Dooley seems like a really nice guy. It's too bad that he's likely gone at the end of the season.
He's yet to pick up that signature win. And he's had opportunities to do it. But I keep seeing the team under him making the same mistakes over and over again. Or falling prey to the same negative tendencies.
For example, the inability to adjust in-game to what the other team is doing. Once Florida decided to make their QB the second coming of Tim Teabow yesterdays, the Vols defense was completely flustered and you could see them giving up on play after play after play. It's hard to get back into the game and get a crowd back into the game (one that desperately wanted to get back into it, mind you) when time and again you don't make a play.
Another thing is the team's lack of killer instinct. After answering Florida's opening field goal of the second half with a touchdown drive, the Vols had everything going their way and could have put the Gators away for good. Instead, we miss an extra point (more on this in a minute!) and then the defense holds on a fake punt. Then the offense goes out of sync and Tyler Bray can't hit the broad side of a barn. There's a couple of a reasons for this--the biggest being that complete lack of a run game to try and keep the Gators honest. You live by the pass, you die by the pass. I said it after the NC State game--you can't win consistently on huge plays in the SEC. Teams will figure it out eventually, take that away and make you beat them with other aspects of the game. Tennessee didn't have those for a quarter and a half and, well, we all saw the results.
Back to my original point--this team lacks leadership to calm them down, focus them again and go back onto the field to try and make something happen. We have a great collection of players, but I don't see a cohesive team out there.
All of this comes to rest squarely at the feet of Dooley. I really feel like ever since we had 13 men on the field in the waning moments of the LSU game two years ago that the team and program hasn't been the same. That seems to be the crossroads for the Dooley era...it's all been shoulda, woulda, coulda ever since that point. We shoulda made the play, we coulda won, we woulda done better if....
Again, I like Dooley as a person. As a coach, I'm less than impressed. Maybe it's time to put the orange pants back on the hanger and try again....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/16/2012 04:38:00 PM