Tag:Derek Dooley
Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:22 pm

Matt Simms doesn't enjoy sharing snaps

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In an effort to shake things up with his offense, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley decided to give freshman Tyler Bray some snaps during practice last week and during Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night.  Obviously, considering the Vols only managed to score 10 points and gain 315 yards of offense in their 31-10 loss, not much changed with the two-quarterback system.

In fact, Bray struggled quite a bit, completing only 5-of-14 passes for 39 yards and an interception.  The man he took snaps away from, Matt Simms, didn't fare that much better, completing only 12-of-22 passes for 117 yards and throwing an interception of his own.  Still, Simms' performance was better than Bray's, and the junior quarterback thinks things would have gone a bit better had he been left in the game.

"I knew the plan going into the game was to get [Bray] a few drives or whatever," Simms said. "By the way things were going in the game at that moment, I really didn't think that I was going to get taken out -- later on in the game maybe. They stayed true to their plan, and I respect that, and I thank them for being honest with me, but at the same time those drives right there, I feel like I need to be out there, because I feel like I'm missing out on plays that could have been made or penalties that could have been avoided."

Simms did go on to say that he appreciated the coaches honesty in the whole situation, but that when it comes to sharing time with Bray that the coaches "know how I feel about that." 

It's easy to understand where Simms is coming from, because no quarterback who has spent the entire year as the team's starter is going to enjoy suddenly sharing snaps.  Especially when the team is losing.  Still, it's because Tennessee is losing that Simms needs to get over it.

While he hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line at all this season, Simms hasn't been very good.  He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (7) on the year.  Obviously, Matt Simms: Full-Time Quarterback hasn't been a winning formula for the Vols.  So mixing in Tyler Bray, whom the coaching staff hopes can be the quarterback of the future, can only help in the long run.

So while Simms may not like sharing snaps, he should probably get used to it.  Then, when he is on the field, play so well that the coaches can't take him off the field.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm

Vol QB Tyler Bray to play against Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

At 2-4 and with his Volunteers mired in next-to-last in the SEC in total offense (Vanderbilt: the statistical gift to the rest of the league that never stops giving), it's undoubtedly desperate times for Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley . So it's not surprising he's turned to the first desperate measure of the college head coach: tossing raw freshmen into the deep end :

That "good luck, skinny kid" (from Chattanooga Times-Free Press writer Wes Rucker) may not seem particularly sensitive, but it's sure not inaccurate. At 6'6", Tyler Bray is the same height as current SEC quarterback giants Ryan Mallett and Cameron Newton ... but listed at just 192 pounds, he's nearly 60 pounds lighter. (There's a reason the universal recruiting consensus on the California-bred Bray was "good arm, lots of upside, don't dare put him on the field until he's had a year to fill out.") And he'll be facing Alabama, so yes, some good luck will likely be required to make it out in one piece.

There are a few things working in Bray's favor. He'll be playing at home in Neyland Stadium, for one, rather than facing the foaming hordes in Tuscaloosa. He's already seen some game action this season, entering in garbage time against UT-Martin and Georgia and completing 11 of his 18 passes (albeit with one interception no scores as of yet). And he won't face the burden of starting just yet -- Dooley's plan appears to be to start the up-and-down Matt Simms and bring Bray in at the first sign of trouble.

But there's only so many ways to spin "head coach of 2-4 team with terrible offense turns to fencepost-thin true freshman quarterback against defending national champions." The obvious conclusion -- that Dooley feels his back against the wall and wants to leave no tricks in the bag in his search for a season-salvaging win -- is the correct one here.


Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:10 pm

Vince Dooley won't be attending Georgia/Tennessee

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Vince Dooley spent 25 seasons roaming the sidelines at Georgia before becoming the school's athletic director, and has seen many games played at Sanford Stadium.  He will not be spending his Saturday in Athens this week, however, when his son Derek Dooley brings the Volunteer's to town.  The elder Dooley has gone to three of his son's first five games with Tennessee -- though he didn't attend the latest Les Miles magic trick -- but this one just doesn't feel right.

While his wife, Barbara, will likely be attending the game Vince is content to sit at home on the couch and watch it on television.

"They've got those high-tech TV cameras, and they can find you, but I'm going to be at home. I'm going to pull for my son, but I'm not going to pull for him at Sanford Stadium," Dooley said Monday. "I spent 40 years at the school, so that's the last thing I'm going to do."

The conflict of interest is obvious, so it's hard to blame Dooley for not wanting to attend the game in person.  Plus, by staying home and watching on television he's afforded the opportunity to change the channel.  Who wants to watch a four-hour funeral?
Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:07 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 8:22 pm

Christmas comes early for Les Miles

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You can always count on one thing when watching a college football game that features a team coached by Les Miles.   There's going to be some game clock mismanagement and probably an insane ending to the game to go with it.  We got just that on Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Tennessee had a 14-10 lead on LSU in the final minutes of the game, with LSU driving.  With a minute and a half left in the game the Tigers faced a 4th and 9, and being down by four, had to go for it.  Of course, being LSU, they had to pick up a delay of game penalty first.  Still, somehow Jarrett Lee fired a pass through three Tennessee defenders and into the arms of Terrence Tolliver for a first down.

Then the crazy started.

LSU had the ball at the Tennessee two-yard line in the final seconds, facing a second and goal.  Les Miles then sent Jordan Jefferson in for Lee so that Jefferson could run a quarterback draw.  Jefferson was tackled at the one-yard line, and since LSU had no timeouts left, the Tigers had to scramble back to the line.

Which, for some reason known to nobody but Les Miles, was when the Tigers starting sending in substitutions.  That head scratcher was then met with Tennessee sending in substitutions, with the clock winding down all the while.  So, eventually, LSU snapped the ball with a second left on the clock, but the snap was low and Jefferson couldn't corral it.  So Tennessee jumped on the ball and the celebration started for Derek Dooley and his boys.

A celebration that didn't last very long, for there was a penalty flag on the field.  Remember all those inexplicable substitutions?  Yes, well, it turns out Tennessee sent out one too many and had 12 men on the field.

LSU got one more play, untimed, and Stevan Ridley got in the end zone.  LSU won, and somehow Les Miles will still be employed tomorrow morning.

Posted on: September 14, 2010 12:33 pm

Fulmer doesn't enjoy the Vols' struggles

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Phillip Fulmer has spent much of his adult life as a Tennessee Volunteer.  He first played for the Vols as a guard from 1968-1971 before joining the coaching staff as a student coach following his graduation.  Then, in 1980, he was named the team's offensive line coach.  He eventually worked his way up to head coach, taking over the job in 1992 and keeping it through 2008.  Now he spends his time as an analyst for our very own CBS College Sports Network, but just because he's no longer on the sideline in Knoxville doesn't mean he's stopped bleeding orange.

Based on his comments during a teleconference on Tuesday, after seeing his former team play this season, he's doing a lot more bleeding than he'd like to .

“It’s terrible,” Fulmer said. “It’s hard to watch something you’ve put most of your adult life into and had just played for the (SEC) championship (in 2007) and all of a sudden you’re watching what’s transpiring now through the program and an obvious attempt to change the culture of Tennessee football that failed.”

Actually, Phil, Lane Kiffin did change the culture a little bit.  He managed to make everyone in Knoxville incredibly angry, and brought the NCAA to town before taking off for USC.  So now Derek Dooley has a nice little mess to clean up, and Fulmer does feel that Dooley is doing a good job getting the process started.

“I think Derek’s doing a good job,” Fulmer said. “He’s doing what he has to do. He’s saying the right things, and when a coach has to talk about his team’s effort, that’s not a good sign. In the second half of the (Oregon) football game I think he thought his guys didn’t try as hard as a Tennessee football team is expected to try.

“He’s got some players. (Running back) Tauren Poole is obviously a guy that’s talented, but there’s a lot of work to be done, you know, at quarterback and defensively. There’s just a ton in the short term to be done and more importantly he’s looking at the big picture of the program long term, to recruit and get Tennessee back at the level that they’re expected to be at."

I can echo Fulmer's and Dooley's concerns about the Vols effort in the second half against Oregon .  While watching the game there were two distinct halves of football being played.  In the first half the Vols were flying all over the field and looking like a team capable of pulling off an upset, but the second the Ducks tied the game and then took the lead, it seemed as though the energy had been sucked out of Tennessee. 

Instead of battling back they looked like a team resigned to a loss.

Something Dooley definitely needs to take care of in Knoxville, and not a task I envy him having to complete.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: September 11, 2010 10:56 am

Bryce Brown won't be suing Tennessee

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earier this week Arthur Brown -- the father of former Tennessee running back and current Kansas State student Bryce Brown -- made some waves when he went on a Knoxville radio station and said that he and his son planned on suing the University of Tennessee and head coach Derek Dooley for not releasing Bryce from his scholarship.  Bryce has transferred from Tennessee and enrolled at Kansas State, but since he doesn't meet Dooley's three requirements for releasing a player from his scholarship -- and, no, "shower discipline" is not a must -- Brown will have to pay his own way in Manhattan whie he sits out the 2010 season.

Well, considering that the Browns didn't have much of a leg to stand on as far as a lawsuit is concerned, it's not that shocking to find out that they've suddenly changed their minds about that whole lawsuit thing .

The family of the former Tennessee running back has retained the services of Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs, who has advised the family not to sue UT or coach Derek Dooley.

“After reviewing the matter, we’ve decided not to initiate any legal action against the University of Tennessee, contrary to earlier reports,” Isaacs said Friday.

“The family has no animosity toward the university. Bryce is a good kid. Bryce wants to make sure that everything is positive.

“(The Browns) want to make sure there’s no ambiguity about whether Bryce and his family enjoyed and respected their time here at the University of Tennessee.”

While they won't be pursuing legal action, the Browns and Isaacs do plan on petitioning Tennessee in the next "seven to ten days" to reconsider releasing Brown from his scholarship.  If the school still decides against releasing Brown from his scholarship, well, then maybe that lawsuit happens after all.

Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 10:04 am

Bryce Brown's father planning to sue UT, Dooley?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Bryce Brown was once one of the most prized recruits in the nation, a running back with explosive speed and power from an athletically impressive family.  But ever since he signed with Tennessee back in the spring of 2009, he has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

After head coach Derek Dooley denied Brown a release from his scholarship with Tennessee, his father began considering legal action.  In an interview with Arthur Brown on Knoxville radio station WNML, the running back's father is planning to hire an attorney and potentially sue Tennessee and coach Derek Dooley for keeping his son from being able to be placed on scholarship at Kansas State.

But WNML reported that Arthur Brown received a registered letter on Tuesday from UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek upholding the decision and is looking for another option to gain a release for his son, which would allow Kansas State to put Bryce Brown on scholarship right away as he sits out a mandated year for transferring.

"Bryce has done nothing wrong," Arthur Brown told the radio station. "I don’t understand."

"If he used that criteria, he should have released Bryce. I think that’s bogus. I’m disappointed in UT’s stance."

That criteria which Brown is referring to is Dooley's criteria for granting release in different transfer cases.  

“As with the other players who have asked for a release, I went through the same process with the same criteria with Bryce,” Dooley told the Knoxville News Sentinel last month. “These are the three key factors - what their personal investment into the program was, did they have their heart into it and did they give it a good, fair shot. No. 2, the harm that their departure creates for the organization. No. 3, how they handle it as a professional.

“I’ve done that with every one of these guys -- with Aaron (Douglas), with Todd Campbell, with Nick Stephens, Nick Lamaison and now Bryce. So now my decision, based on those three factors with Bryce, is not to release him.”

Of course, trouble has followed Brown since he arrived on campus in Knoxville.  First there were the questions about his eligibility before his freshman season.  Then after showing bursts of potential but little production in 2009, Brown disappeared from Tennessee in the spring semester without consulting with new head coach Derek Dooley.  His lack of effort to give the Volunteers a chance makes it no surprise that the university is not jumping at the opportunity to release him from his scholarship.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:31 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 5:48 pm

Starting/Sitting: Tennessee, South Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Good news for Tennessee fans as they will get to see prized recruit Justin Hunter in the Vols season opener against Tennessee-Martin.  Hunter was awaiting a decision from the NCAA Clearinghouse after being benched August 19 when an online summer class was called into question.  Now cleared for the 2010 season, Hunter will begin his freshman campaign as the No. 2 receiver for the Volunteers.

One of Derek Dooley's first recruits, Hunter chose Tennessee over LSU late just weeks before National Signing Day.  He has made quite the impression on the coaching staff this fall, and should have the opportunity to make an impact immediately.  An Olympic caliber high-jumper with a 6-4 183 pound frame, it's hard to imagine he won't.

SaundersWhile it has long been expected, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier confirmed that TE Weslye Saunders will not play in the Gamecocks opener on Thursday against Southern Miss.  Saunders has been suspended since August 23 for matters unrelated to the current NCAA agent investigation, and Ol' Ball Coach reiterated his distaste for the matter to ESPN.com's Chris Low on Tuesday.

"He's not on the team. He won't play Thursday," Spurrier said.

His suspension is reportedly a result of lying to coaches about missed meetings as opposed to the open investigation regarding his trip to Miami and its funding.  Either way, the senior tight end is not doing himself any favors in the eyes of the program by continuing his missteps.

Saunders might not end up being the only Gamecock with off-field issues, as Coach Spurrier is waiting to hear back from the NCAA regarding the misuse of hotel rooms by several South Carolina players.  

Saunders, defensive backs Akeem Auguste and C.C. Whitlock could be facing punishment from the NCAA for their reduced-rate stay at a swanky Columbia hotel that lasted for months.  
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com