If it's the week of the Georgia-Tennessee game, that means it's time for the Dooleys to be in the headlines.
There's Bulldog coaching (and administrative) legend Vince; there's his son Derek, who we don't have to remind you is now coaching the rival Volunteers; and then there's Vince's wife/Derek's mother Barbara. Between the irresistible "house divided" angle and quotability of both the elder Dooley and his son, it's going to be a long time before the Dawgs and Vols get together without a flurry of Dooley-related coverage the week prior.
This week, of course, is no exception; here's one Derek interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for instance, where he admits he "bled red and black" as a child growing up in Athens. But maybe the best zinger in the interview comes, indirectly, from Barbara, who Derek says told him his new orange pants are "awful-looking." When reminded that Vince wore red pants on the sidelines, she replied "yeah, but that’s red."
But if Barbara hasn't yet come around to Volunteer orange or her son's fashion choices, that doesn't mean Derek doesn't have her full support ... and then some. For evidence, look no further than Barbara's unscheduled appearance on an Athens radio show Thursday morning. Upon hearing a pair of Knoxville-based sportswriters discussing Derek's presence on (or absence from) the proverbial "hot seat," Barbara drove to the station, walked into the studio, and let her feelings on her son's job status be known. Via the AJC, an excerpt:
Somehow, we doubt Derek wants his mother barging into radio shows to take up for him, which would explain why -- even if she remains a veteran presence on Southern airwaves -- he's already asked her to limit her radio appearances.
Barbara: “I want you to listen about my baby.”
Bryant: “You have to hurry because we’ve got a congressman standing by.”
Barbara: “Well, he can just wait. Football is important.
Let me say this: Derek Dooley walked into kind of a mess. Florida, [coach Will Muschamp] walks into talent just oozing out of their ears. Jimbo Fisher walks into [Florida State] with talent. And y’all are telling me that Derek Dooley is on the damn hot seat? Are you crazy?”... You’ve got Mama’s rile up now, buddy. Did you know [Derek] played 17 freshman against Florida?”
Barbara: “I just want you to be nice and fair and know that you probably have the best coach in the country and he’s going to be there 25 years.”
But it could always be worse; next time she could bring her photo albums with her. We bet there's even a shot out there, somewhere, where Derek's wearing red pants.