When you want to find out the inside scoop on someone where do you go?
To their mother of course.
Barbara Dooley, mother of new Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, has been a guest on the Paul Finebaum Show for some time now, but her relevance is peaking with her son Derek taking over at Tennessee.
It isn’t everyday you get an SEC coach’s mom on the radio and much less one that spills the beans on the state of the program.
Derek’s mom made no bones about how bad the situation in Knoxville is and how tough this season and maybe future seasons are going to be.
Now I am not considering Barbara Dooley an expert on football, but I think I am taking a reasonable guess she has talked to the head man at UT about how the job is going and it was not a pleasant conversation.
Looking at the returning roster you probably could have determined that the Volunteers may be hard pressed to improve on last year’s 7-6 record, but Mrs. Dooley paints a much uglier picture for the future.
“He probably going to have two really good recruiting classes to build up what is not there” said Barbara.
Their average coaches stay 15 years, they are not a school which just fires coaches which is good news for Derek, she went on to say.
The Vols will have a new starting QB, five new offensive lineman, a new running back, and a new defensive coordinator.
Throw in the usual SEC schedule on top of a game with Oregon and it will be a rough first year at the very least.
Despite a tough schedule and lack of talent, the Vol faithful are still hungry for a return to prominence after watching the program slide at the end of Phil Fulmer’s tenure.
Also, during that time two of UT’s biggest rivals, Florida and Alabama, have won national championships.
Ultimately, Dooley’s long term success at Tennessee will come down to his ability to recruit, especially in the state Georgia where he was born and watched his father coach the Bulldogs to six SEC titles.
The Vols are off to a good start with their first two commitments for 2011 coming from the Peach State
"This is a critical area for our program," Dooley said at a recent Big Orange Caravan event in Atlanta. "Atlanta is three hours from Knoxville. When I was on the other side, when Tennessee won, they had a lot of great players from Georgia.”
Dooley is shaking hands and kissing babies on the rubber chicken circuit trying to win over a fan base still shaken by the Lane Kiffin exit.
But just how long will Tennessee give Dooley to turn the program around in the ultra competitive SEC?
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