Fans usually have some very interesting things to say about their team. Sometimes it is pretty sage wisdom, other times not so much. Regardless of the harmless contributions, it makes for a fun and entertaining review.
So, the question asked each fan was this: What advice would you offer Derek Dooley or his staff? Here are the responses:
Memphis, 42 Sherry Porter: "I think it would be a good idea if the Vols just beat the tar out of Florida, that would send a strong message really fast and good."
Memphis,22 Rondell Blevins: "Just give Bray the ball and let him go to work. With Hunter and Rogers out there they can win every game by themselves."
Nashville, 26 Lucas Proudmoor: "Who is the special teams coach?" Me: "That would be Eric Russell." Lucas: "Yeah him, he needs to make sure nobody drops the (expletive) ball on punt and kick return. You know just catch the (expletive) ball. We could lose a game just because of that."
Nashville, 38 Maro Alinez: "Just hmm...gimme a second. Stop losing, period." Me: "Sound advice." Maro: "What else do you need?"
Knoxville, 56 John Dixon: "They know better than I do. I coach little league, but that don't mean I know any better." Me: "Anything at all?" John: "Tell Dooley to quit being so nice to everybody."
Which needs the most improvement?
Knoxville, 40 Larry Cox: "Well the secondary needs to increase their speed. The kicking game just sucks in every area. Wilcox better make sure that Sirmon fella knows what he's doing, the LBs are the strength of the defense. Can't be any cracks in the wall, know what I mean?"
Elizabethton, 33 Lori Parker: "Get bigger, faster, more talented guys." Me: "That's pretty good. I like that. Anything else?" Lori: "Find another Jason Witten!" (Elizabethton is Jason Witten's home town).
Elizabethton, 72 Lester Stapelton: "All they need to do is practice more. I read about where they can only practice so much in a year when the coach is around. That just don't make sense." Me: "It is a little silly, but those are the rules set forth by the NCAA." Lester: "I bet the other schools are doing it, I'd lay money on that."
Kingsport, 19 Jason Warren: "They need to find some really good running backs. Dooley needs to restore a balance. There ain't been a balance since Arian Foster."
Kingsport, 31 Mark Bledsoe: "Ahhh....everybody thinks they know what's best, but to be honest I don't think there are many coaches that could have calmed down the whole atmosphere the way he did. I want to win just as much as the next guy, but right this minute I think he's doing the best that he can. But he still needs to get off his butt recruiting."
Flowery Branch, GA 37 My Wife: "Quit thinking and just play. Quit choking on the close games. Quit acting like little girls every time they play Florida and Alabama." Me: "Thank you dear." Wife: "Anytime, GO VOLS!
Cumming, GA 44 Monica Brewster: "Is there a reason why we keep losing high profile recruits? That's rhetorical, sorry. You can't win championships without good kids. I know Aaron Douglas was tired of proving himself, but Dooley should have never let him go. There are always kids leaving. Why don't they go after all the best kids in Tennessee?" Me: "Actually Coach Dooley is trying to do that, he...(cut off mid-sentence)." Monica: "No they don't! If they did, the Memphis and Nashville area would be a ghost town. I am so tired of Alabama, Kentucky, Louisville and Mizzou coming and picking them off like it was a duck shoot." Me: "Wow! You know your stuff Monica." Monica: "My dad was a high school coach in Morristown, he constantly (expletive) about how talent always slipped through Tennessee's hands."
Lawrenceville, GA 22 Bolden Alrea: "I betcha $20 that if they brought in a new running back coach like Eddie Gran, they would really do something. Man, Hamilton was stupid not get those assistants under contract. Stupid, stupid, stupid. What's that guy that went to LSU?" Me: "Frank Wilson—he was also Recruiter of the Year last season." Bolden: "Yeah, see man? Stupid, stupid, stupid."
Atlanta, 51 LeMont Tallford: "That offense needs tweaking. You gotta put up big points against SEC schools to win. The defense needs tweaking too. Wilcox needs to be doing what he did at Boise. He ain't doing that now, that's for sure." Me: "Well it was his first season." LeMont: "And that's why I didn't say to fire him! Those LBs are gonna have to step up or they're gonna lose hard."
Atlanta, 27 Sam Middleford: "If I was coach for a day I'd probably start hitting up that temporary AD for a bigger recruiting budget before they hire some penny pincher. It all revolves around money baby."
Flowery Branch, 9 My Son: "Don't lose to non-conference wannabes, especially PAC-12 teams."
A special thanks to all the fans that responded via Facebook and Twitter. And even greater gratitude to those that allowed me to interview you by phone. Thanks and Godspeed.