Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Dooley looks to rebuild Vols

The University of Tennessee football team is in a rebuilding process. After former head coach Lane Kiffin bolted for the University of Southern California, the Vols were left with a lot of holes to fill. They hired Derek Dooley, son of former University of Georgia coaching legend, Vince Dooley.

Dooley is the third head coach in three years at Tennessee, and he knows that he has a lot of work to do if he wants to return the Vols to their winning ways in the Southeastern Conference and on the national level.

At this year’s SEC Media Days, Dooley answered questions that mainly dealt with things outside of football. Reporters wanted to know how his mom was doing and if his parents were going to wear Tennessee orange since they were die hard Georgia fans.

One issue Dooley had to address almost immediately after he took the job was a bar fight involving several Volunteer football players.

“I didn’t really act to send a message.” Dooley said. “I did what I thought was the responsible thing to do as the head football coach.”

The players at Tennessee seem to be embracing Dooley and are excited about what he brings to the position.

“It’s been amazing,” senior defensive end Chris Walker said. “The energy and the discipline that he brings has been amazing.”

The rebuilding process will not be easy. The Vols do not have a lot of returning talent. They only had two players make the pre-season All-SEC team and those players were on the second team. Their recruiting class took a huge hit after Kiffin left also.

For the first time since the SEC went to divisions, Tennessee has been picked to finish fifth in the East by the media. Dooley said he doesn’t put much value in pre-season polls.

“Generally, those polls are based on how you performed last year and who you have coming back next year,” Dooley said. “Pre-season polls are great to get the season going and the fans excited, but as long as you know what they’re based on, it really allows you to keep it in perspective.”

As far as immediate changes in the program go, Dooley wants to take it one step at a time.

“It’s hard to have a lot of immediate change,” Dooley said. “When you’re talking about the changing of how you’re representing a place, it takes time. What I want to see this fall is how we compete for 60 minutes for 12 games. There’s nothing more important to me than that.”

Tennessee begins its 2010-2011 season against Tennessee-Martin. Other notable games on their schedule include Oregon, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

They’re also one of six SEC teams that have an off week before playing Alabama. The Tide will travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to face the Vols on Oct. 23 in Neyland Stadium.

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