KNOXVILLE — Another one of Derek Dooley’s “welcome to Tennessee” moments came Thursday courtesy of longtime Volunteers prodder Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier joked on his local radio show Thursday night about Tennessee’s recent decision to delay or buy out a home-and-home series with North Carolina. The Vols asked the Tar Heels to push back their 2011 and 2012 meetings, but they refused, which will probably force UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton to buy out of the series for $750,000.
South Carolina let North Carolina delay the teams’ season opener this season so the Tar Heels could play LSU in Atlanta. North Carolina and South Carolina now will play in 2013.
“Golly, times have changed when Tennessee doesn’t want to play North Carolina in football because they’re too good for them,” Spurrier said. “That’s kind of amazing right there.
“We’re not going to bail out from playing North Carolina the way Tennessee did.”
Dooley didn’t comment on the matter — or anything else — Thursday night. He told sports information officials that he was too far behind schedule to meet with the media.
Dooley hinted at the possibility of senior Gerald Williams and junior Malik Jackson being co-starters opposite preseason All-SEC senior Chris Walker at defensive end.
“They’re a little different,” Dooley said. “I think a lot of our defense is going to be predicated on who we play and what they do, their style of offense. Malik, what he brings is a lot more size and bulk to line up over a tight end when they’re hammering that two-back running game. And then Gerald, he brings a little more stuff when it gets looser in down and distance.
“They’re going to complement each other well.”
Dooley was particularly pleased with Williams’ performance in last weekend’s scrimmage.
“He’s gotten better,” the coach said. “That was his first scrimmage of real high production. You see improvement. His attitude has been phenomenal. He is a classic senior who has put aside all that’s happened to him in the past and has focused on going forward, and that showed in the scrimmage.”
Dooley said he and his staff use a plus-minus chart to determine the defensive players’ efficiency. Those charts are common in other sports, especially hockey and basketball.
“We keep a production chart that has everything to do with playing defense, positive and negative,” Dooley said. “Missed assignments, missed tackles — all that is negative points, and all the positive things are positive points. That’s how you keep up with your best players.”
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