Wait! What’s that coming out of the new coach of University Tennessee’s mouth? It’s… a Southern accent. He says things like “PreeMaTour” and “Pickin” and “Britches” and “Y’all.” It shouldn’t matter, but somehow I think it does after the hell Lane Kiffin put the program through the last couple of days. Listening to him talk, you immediately get the feeling he belongs.
Okay, he comes from the right part of the county, but is Derek Dooley the right fit for Tennessee? I grew up dreading the Georgia/Tennessee game because his father, Vince Dooley, seemed to always find a way to beat the Vols. And Derek has the same slim build and sharp features his father has, so I get a little heartburn just looking at him. That will go away as soon as he walks off the field with a Tennessee victory.
He’s been getting knocked around a little because of his record at Louisiana Tech. In three years he amassed a record of 17-21. I’m not that concerned about it. Louisiana Tech does not have a storied tradition of football. They have to compete with LSU for instate recruits, which means they get a lot of second tier talent from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. His tutelage and friendships are what is most impressive about him. His father is a legendary head coach, and he served under Nick Saban at LSU and Miami. The man Tennessee really wanted for the job, Muschamp from Texas, recommended Dooley for the job. In short, he’s got friends in college football, something the previous Tennessee coach seemed to lack. Other than a couple of people on his staff, I get the sense that Lane is not that well-liked among the coaching fraternity.
I’m not ready to hang a picture of him on my wall, but as a Tennessee fan, I do welcome Derek Dooley and wish him well. BTW – the number one search term for my blog the last couple of days has been “Mrs. Lane Kiffin.” I’m guessing it was a lot of young male USC fans trying to get a look at the new coach’s hot wife. I think that’s part of the problem with Coach Kiffin. More people pay attention to the people he surrounds himself with than pay attention to him.
And not for nothing, but Dr. Allison Dooley has got it going on… do people still say that. I have got to start hanging out with cooler people. There’s one picture of her on the web, and it’s her Facebook picture. That would just be a little bit creepy for me to put that on my blog, and I don’t think we, as Tennessee fans, should focus on all the shiny things Coach Dooley brings to the table. Let’s focus on how he actually coaches.