published Monday, September 13th, 2010

Dooley is upset by Vols’ attitude


by Wes Rucker

KNOXVILLE — Derek Dooley knew the tangible pluses and minuses of his University of Tennessee football team well before the Volunteers faced Pac-10 power Oregon on Saturday night in Neyland Stadium.

He didn’t know the intangibles.

Now he does.

And he couldn’t be more displeased.

Sunday’s film review of the 48-13 loss didn’t change Dooley’s overall view of the Vols’ second-half collapse.

“The biggest issue we have is learning to compete through adversity,” Dooley said after watching film of his team surrendering 45 consecutive points to the Ducks. “I felt that way at the end of the game, and I still feel that way right now.”

Dooley said his defense never responded to the Ducks’ two scores that tied the game in the final minutes of the first half, and his offense never responded to a 76-yard interception return touchdown that gave Oregon a 27-13 lead with 6 minutes, 27 seconds left in the third quarter.

“It’s something that I addressed with the team when I first got here in spring practice,” Dooley said. “I looked back and researched (recent) games in the fourth quarter when we were down 10 points or less, and we’re 0-7. And we went into this game in the fourth quarter down 14, and we’re not even competing. And that’s something we have to change.

“We need to change that before we get to anything else — being able to compete for four quarters, no matter what the score is.”

UT quarterback Matt Simms, who threw the game-changing interception, said that was Dooley’s first and last comments to the Vols in the locker room Saturday night.

“And I agree with him,” Simms said. “We have to learn from our mistakes.”

They better learn quickly, with 10th-ranked Florida coming to Neyland on Saturday.

“When we do play with the kind of intangibles that we expect them to play (with) for 60 minutes, that we can go out and compete,” Dooley said. “But when we don’t play with those intangibles — whether it be a lack of discipline, a lack of effort or a lack of toughness — then we’re going to get embarrassed. And I think that’s the case with whoever we play.”

UT’s offense ran 56 plays before Simms’ pick-six, gaining 322 yards with no turnovers and no sacks allowed.

After the pick, they gained 11 yards on 20 plays and allowed two sacks.

“We were still coming to work, but that was definitely a big blow in the game,” sophomore wide receiver Zach Rogers said. “We were pushing the goal line and looking to score. Then, that happened.

“They started running the score up, and we couldn’t bounce back. Things just didn’t bounce our way.”

Sophomore defensive backs Marsalis Teague and Prentiss Waggner said the defense didn’t finish properly, either.

Waggner said the team went into “panic mode, because we have young guys that haven’t really been in the ball game.”

Teague concurred.

“It is hard as a defense to come back after a turning point like that (interception), but we just have to get better and respond better than we did,” Teague said. “(Oregon) wasn’t really different. It was just a lack of execution on our part.

“We are a great team, but we still have to compete. When things get tough, we’ve still got football to play. We can't let little things get to us.”

The Vols are Dooley’s problem, but the coach emphasized that such feelings have become the norm for this team’s generation.

Dooley said his players’ response to second half adversity was a microcosm of young people’s mentalities these days.

“I think it’s a little bit of a sociological issue,” he said. “I think that more than ever before, we are in such a results-oriented world that children are groomed from the beginning about winning and losing, and not competing. And I think it’s something that they all want success, and they want all this personal gratification, and they lose site of what it takes to get that.

“And I think you don’t just see it in sports. The sociologists have called this the entitlement generation. If you ask employers out there across the board, there’s a consensus across the board that this generation comes in expecting raises and expecting bonuses and wanting vacation more than any other generation of the past. And so I think their focus is on the wrong thing. It’s on kind of the show, it’s on they want everything easy. It’s not their fault. I think it’s a generational thing

“It’s important that we teach them the importance of process, and that you get your satisfaction from the investment you put into something.”

Dooley and his staff won’t teach the Vols from a comfortable couch, though. They’ll teach them on the field.

And until the players learn to change their program’s culture, results like Saturday’s will always be possible — especially this season, when UT lacks the quality depth of many of its Southeastern Conference foes.

“You should be able to turn on the TV and, based on how we’re competing, you don’t know if we’re winning or losing,” Dooley said. “Sometimes players, especially nowadays, they get so focused on wanting to win that they don’t enjoy the competitive element of the game. And they don’t enjoy when it gets tough, how to fight through it and figure out a way to find solutions to have success.

“When I say, ‘The score doesn’t matter,’ I don’t mean that in the fourth quarter, you’re not looking up and saying, ‘We’re down seven or six,’ and we know what we’ve got to do. But I’m saying that you’re playing not thinking about the result, but thinking more about how to compete that play. And what happens with our team is we get so caught up in getting behind, and we start thinking about losing the game, and then we don’t compete.”

Contact Wes Rucker at wrucker@timesfreepress.com. Wes can also be reached at www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.

about Wes Rucker...

Twitter - @wesrucker Facebook - /tfpvolsbeat

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Coach Dooley will need to recruit "his players" before the attitude and work ethic changes. And fans will need to learn patience. But I suspect fans will jump back on the bandwagon soon enough. See Alabama fans as a prime example.

September 13, 2010 at 9:13 a.m.
kiltedvol said...

Give me a 3-star recruit who won't give up than a 4-5 star who tanks in the face of adversity.

September 13, 2010 at 11:28 a.m.
DuckThis said...

And on the other side of things.....maybe the Ducks turn it up a notch or two.

September 13, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.
tnvols said...

Hey guys live and learns from this........GO VOLS

September 13, 2010 at 7:19 p.m.
Badwater said...

The Vols are not as bad as their game with Oregon. Dooley is a good coach; give him and your team some time and you will be an SEC power again. It will take time.

September 15, 2010 at 5:46 a.m.
hcirehttae said...

Maybe they can invite the Florida players out for a beer after the game and a little fisticuffs with the local constabulary...

September 15, 2010 at 10:04 p.m.
GratefulJed said...

To indian: I can tell from your post that you don't follow college football that much. Your post is ignorant and misinformed, my guess is your some bama fan's bandwagon wife(look honey I done good on that interweb...I told dem vawls fans...)and why are you reading an article on UT?GTFO.

Losing Season? You do know that a losing season is when....wait for it....you lose more games than you win thus putting your winning % under .500. UT has had 2 in the last 25 years. I'd be willing to bet your team has the same or more. Wont win an SEC game?(Vandy? KY who we haven't lost too since 1984)(KY looks good this year so far though, cobb is a beast from Knoxville) Don't tell me your a UGA fan, cause if so you'd be very hypocrytical and have no business dissing a program 10 times more prestigious than yours. Jail DOCKET? Name me one team in the SEC that doesn't have guys with a recored on it.(Ole 2nd chance Miss, anyone?)That statement is mute. You want another fun VOL fact...sure you do..UT is in the top ten of FBS(div.1) ALL-TIME winning % list. Ten Games behind who? The mighty Bama that everyone seems to be so high on. So next time you dis UT bama fans, know we are up there with you in History and Traditions. And dont give me that 12 NC bs if you count those than UT has 5. Quit spewing uninformed garbage on the web and get back to hauling your lumber with your orange shirts for flags.

September 17, 2010 at 7:36 a.m.
kitdoc said...

To GratefulJed: I'm not a UT fan, but I would have to admit they have an excellent football program. A lot of history and tradition there. You have to admit, however, that sometimes their fans bring this ire from other teams onto themselves. Nothing wrong with team pride, but arrogance and cockiness usually gets a lot of bashing in return. Case in point, UT hasn't won a national championship in football since 1998. Why are certain fans still driving around with "National Champions" tags still on their vehicles in 2010?

Oh, and Randall Cobb is from Alcoa, not Knoxville.

September 17, 2010 at 10:34 a.m.
GratefulJed said...

Indian: In your original post you said lucky to win an SEC game, now it's two? You seriously didn't throw UGA in the "be lucky to walk mix" did you? That's what they said last year too(although it will be harder in athens). And who said anything about UT is going to be National Champs? I actually follow college ball and am very realistic in my expectations for the Vols this year. We'll be doing good to make a bowl game this year and "#1 w the middle finger"? Come on man, you can do better than that. I didn't leave early in '08, and it wasn't even as good of a game as Saturday's was. Oh and Kentucky has a decent team this year, the gators may have their hands full next Sat. If UT is to get their 25th straight over the Kats, It's gonna take all they got."Nothing sucks like a big orange"? what does that even mean? GBO!

September 20, 2010 at 4:58 a.m.
GratefulJed said...

Kitdoc: People drive around with them cause they still sell 'em at the title and registration office which I've noticed doesn't really change their selection of plates from year to year like some states do. I wasn't trying to be cocky, but this guy is on a Tennessee Volunteer news column posting up some of the most outrageous comments I've seen saying stuff like "a high school team could win in Neyland" He asked for it, not me. He's a classic internet message board troller type, and he doesn't even post what team he is a fan of. I'll stop feeding the troll now though. Yeah I knew Cobb was from Alcoa or some smaller town, but I didn't feel like looking it up, ya know. The Guy (Cobb) is legit though man, I hope he runs all over the swamp on saturday but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Good luck to you and whatever team you follow this season! May it be prosperous and injury free!

September 20, 2010 at 5:20 a.m.
kitdoc said...

Thanks GratefulJed. UT needs more fans like you. My Cats will need all the help they can get in the Swamp! As a UK grad, we are always hopeful we will get a win over UT--and we've come very close the last few times with all those OT's. But close doesn't equal a "W". I always try to remember that we are a "basketball school" and that we usually get our revenge during basketball season! LOL

September 20, 2010 at 11:58 a.m.
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