I'm not saying it is right or wrong, just that it is happening. Since the loss to Florida, Tennessee fans have been hitting the "off" switch in their minds when it comes to Derek Dooley and the Volunteers' football program.
The Tennessee fanbase is aware of the problems, but you still have to feed the baby. No wins over a quality SEC foe in his tenure; that cannot continue if the program is to be fixed.
Neyland Stadium was eerily quiet last Saturday night as the Vols dispatched the Akron Zips, 47-26, in a game that seemed closer than it was. The official attendance was listed at 81,719.
That's not good news for a football program that is hemorrhaging money as well as fan support. Athletic director Dave Hart announced his No. 1 goal for the program was to make football well again at Tennessee. It's not turning yet, Mr. Hart.
Tick tock, tick tock. We all know the clock is running. We also know where the little hand is. For Coach Dooley, the question that remains is where is Mickey's big hand?
I have not given up hope for this staff or team. I know many other Vol fans feel the same way. Still, for those who fight the good fight every day, they need a bone every now and again.
John Majors got 10 years to get the Vols back to national prominence. He was allowed extra time for several reasons, including winning a national title and being a legendary Vol player. He also won a big game his team wasn’t supposed to win now and then.
Coach Dooley came in with two strikes: He wasn't a Tennessee guy and he had not done much winning in his past. Still, they are things that can be overcome—just give us a bone here—win a ballgame against a decent opponent.
Shut up some of the "Dooley has never beaten a ranked team; Dooley's teams can't win on the road; Dooley’s teams can't beat quality opponents."
Give people a reason to fall for this team. Look at that stadium versus Florida a week ago! It was literally rocking, full of people starved for a quality win. Instead, they got the big tease.
Good football for almost three quarters, then decimation by Florida, followed by explanations of what we could have done better.
I want to be a Dooley fan. I want to enjoy UT football again. But you have got to start meeting folks half way. Announced attendances of 81,719 at a UT home football game doesn’t get the job done.
Somewhere in the next four weeks, this team must win one game and needs to win two. They need to do more than win a football game; they need to win over their fans.
The fans are out here begging for something to cheer about, but they are tuning out all the reasons they hear for another loss.
The reason it has come to this point can’t be laid solely at the fans' feet. Fans can be made to understand, but they must have a reason to believe.
These days in Knoxville, there just isn’t much to cheer about.