published Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Derek Dooley forgoes Tennessee Vols' video pain

  • photo
    UT coach Derek Dooley talks to the press.
    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis

KNOXVILLE -- Derek Dooley thought dwelling on Razorbacks would do no good.

So the Tennessee coach instead talked to his football team about orange and red dogs.

Although Dooley reviewed UT's 49-7 loss at No. 6 Arkansas on Saturday, the Volunteers broke normal routine and didn't watch the video Sunday.

"I think Coach Dooley did a great job," linebacker Austin Johnson said. "He said feed the orange dog. Good stuff -- not the red dog, the bad stuff. That's what we've got to do. We've got to make sure we stay positive."

The 42-point loss, which sent UT to its first 0-6 Southeastern Conference start in program history, was its second-worst since 1923. The Vols surrendered 499 yards of offense, scored in single digits for the fourth consecutive league game and made highlight shows on ESPN and elsewhere on the giving end of Joe Adams' spectacular punt return.

"We were bad in all phrases of that game, so we really can't learn nothing from it," defensive back Prentiss Waggner said Monday. "I think it definitely helps us move on, because I think if we would have watched the film yesterday, I think the confidence level probably would have stated where it's at or built some guys down because of all those missed tackles and missed plays we had."

Malik Jackson said he was a little surprised by Dooley's decision, but the defensive lineman understood what his coach was attempting to do.

"We went out there and played horrendous," Jackson said. "Nobody really did anything right, you can tell by the score. It would have been a session of cursing us out. We just said to forget about it."

All the attention now is on winning the last two games and achieving bowl eligibility. The first leg is this week against Vanderbilt, which also is trying to notch its bowl-clinching sixth win.

Dooley's analogy involves two sides. One dwells on the negative and invokes self-pity, and the other has positive thoughts, encouragement and focuses on how to fix what's going wrong. The coach wants his team to fall on the latter side, which he said is difficult.

"It really just goes with the whole deal about having a choice when you wake up on what you're going to feed your mind," he said. "You have a choice, and we all do. We get so emotionally invested in the results in our country that it can really sabotage your thinking, it can sabotage your performance, and it has our team, I don't think there's any question."

Said safety Brian Randolph: "I think he did a good job with that because I don't think looking back would help us much. Just looking forward was good for us."

Super-simming

Dooley denied that his team quit in the fourth quarter against Arkansas when the Razorbacks added two touchdowns, including one on a drive with mostly reserves.

"I was real disappointed in their last score," he said.

Johnson equated it to a "super sim," an option in some sports video games to fast forward through different parts of individual games.

"I don't want to say we gave up, but definitely everybody was down," he said. "A lot of guys would have super-simmed to the end where [the clock] said 0:00. It wasn't a game that we were proud of."

Dooley defends call

With the likely return of quarterback Tyler Bray this week, Dooley was asked if he still felt he made the decision to play true freshman Justin Worley, who started the last three games and was pulled in the fourth quarters against South Carolina and Arkansas.

"I don't know what would have happened in those other games had we not," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and say absolutely. None of us know what would have happened. I did what I thought was right.

"I do know this, no matter what happens this year, the experience he gained so far and the experience that he might gain will help him be a better quarterback next year. It will help him understand the amount of focus and consistency that it takes to play well."

Any other game

Like he does with every game, Dooley isn't putting an extra emphasis on how the outcome against the Commodores could have a long-term effect on his program.

"I don't think the outcome is going to change how I'm thinking in the next year or two," he said. "It's certainly going to change how we feel this year, and I'm sure it will change how a lot of people feel externally about me and where we're headed, and that's OK. This one game is not going to impact our entire program the next three years. I'm not approaching it that way.

"It's a big game for this season because if we lose we don't go to a bowl. That's a big thing."

Status updates

Matt Darr is likely to be the first punter UT uses against Vanderbilt, Dooley said. ... The Vols' regular-season finale at Kentucky on Nov. 26 will start at 12:21 p.m. and be televised by the SEC Network.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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