Tennessee Vols Football: All's Silent in Knoxville, New Dooley Mandate

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IFebruary 18, 2010

For quite a few years now, Tennessee media has been spoiled with unprecedented access to all coaches and most players.

Phillip Fulmer was one of the more cordial coaches when it came to interviews and meeting with the media on a regular basis.

We all know how accessible Lane Kiffin was.

The recently departed coach lived to use the media for his purposes and never shied away from interviews he thought would promote the UT football brand.

Kiffin even allowed his freshmen to speak with the media, something that Fulmer never allowed. Kiffin's assistants were always in the media as well. And why not?

When you have the top recruiter of the past decade and arguably the greatest defensive mind to ever coach the game of football as your top two assistants, getting them in the public eye is probably the way to go.

As a result of all that accessibility, Tennessee fans have had no shortage of information regarding the everyday goings-on in the football program.

Enter Derek Dooley.

Many of the media types in Knoxville figured there would be little bit of Nick Saban in Dooley, considering their relationship. Dooley was Saban's longest tenured assistant, even following St. Nick to the NFL.

Saban is not exactly an open book. He does things quietly. He does not allow assistants to speak with the media. Freshmen are off-limits as well. Saban gives the media just what they need to know.

Dooley's first order of business was making the freshmen, once again, off limits to the media. On Wednesday, his assistants were added to that policy.

There are some in the Knoxville media who have requested a sitdown with Dooley multiple times, yet those requests haven't been granted.

Looking back over the past year, some might think this is a refreshing change for the Tennessee program.

Going from blabber-mouth to steel trap should be an interesting transition.

In this age of information, however, the natives will probably get quite restless in the coming days and months.

Maybe Dooley will come out and throw the occasional bone for media and fans to lick clean. Maybe he will realize the VolNation has an incessant need for something from the top figure of the top program in Knoxville.

Then again, maybe he won't.

Naturally for someone new just getting their feet wet in this whole "media scene," this could prove to be an interesting hurdle. Someone like me, for instance.

Speaking as a member of the media, it's a little Area-51ish for my taste. I like information. What media type doesn't want information?

Speaking as a fan, however, it's quite refreshing.

Sure, information will be harder to come by and restricted access will cause more speculation, but when one considers the free speaking, open mouth-insert foot policy of the last regime, some silence is a welcome change.


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