published Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Greeson: Georgia trip will be new Dooley definer

  • photo
    Tennessee Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley leaves the field in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

There is a slew of reasons to like sports.

Competition. Excellence. Excitement. Winning. Work. Pick a lesson and a component, and sports in general can offer untold wealths and rewards.

It's one of the side benefits beyond the basic aesthetics of athletics.

Two of the great subplots in sports are inertia and response.

Inertia is the scientific fact that things in motion tend to stay in motion and things at rest tend to stay at rest. This is every bit as true in sports, too, and it's the sport-ific definition of momentum. Watch the ebbs and flows of momentum during any sporting event -- it's mesmerizing and telling and a hidden trend that determines success and failure almost as often as talent and tenacity.

As for specific responses, it's interesting to follow how coaches get their teams to respond. How they handle the hurdles and cover the challenges without getting too high after the successes and too low after struggles.

A coach who can guide the ship through the turbulence and triumph of a regular season with an even hand is built for long-term success. Bobby Cox was excellent at it.

So now, the University of Tennessee fan base will get to see how Derek Dooley is at regrouping his troops. The Volunteers as a team had a lot invested in Saturday's Florida game -- as did the fan base -- and the fourth-quarter meltdown has left a stinging pain in the right arm of Johnny Vols Fans everywhere.

Yes, there is a sizable percentage of UT nation that wants Dooley gone today. That's simply not going to happen. It may happen before Christmas, but it's certainly not in the cards in the next week to 10 days. We can see the angst: One UT fan we know simply states that it's hard to trust Dooley emotionally for three hours on a Saturday, and that seems fair in the bigger games on the UT schedule. So for the sake of discussion, we can all agree that Dooley is going to be the coach of the UT football team at least for the next few weeks, right?

So let's evaluate where the Vols go from here. Akron should not be that much of a problem on Saturday, but the trip to Georgia -- to Dooley's hometown, no less -- is shaping up to be the defining moment of his career.

Yes, it seems that Dooley's Vols have a defining game or a season-shaping chance every other week, but so it goes when a coach and a program are searching and starving for a statement moment and a helmet-hanging win.

Good coaches can regroup a team amid challenges, and great coaches can regroup them amid great distractions. The inverse of that is true, too, and if these Vols do not respond with an inspired effort in what will surely be the biggest game in Dooley's coaching career, then we all will see exactly what kind of presence Dooley has in the UT locker room.

The Georgia game represents Dooley's next chance at making UT fans believe he is worth the emotional investment.

It could be one of his last chances.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Jack_Dennis said...

How many definers does he get?

September 19, 2012 at 1:40 a.m.
Livn4life said...

I think the Vols automatically beat Florida hype was a big mistake. I think the pressure of GameDay was too much too soon for this Tennessee team. But it is what it is and they were not ready. For that game to be what decides his fate is ludicrous. Florida has the better athletes and heaven knows the depth the Vols once sported but no longer enjoy. But we listened to the hype, perhaps the team did as well. So now we blame the head coach. Well, REALITY's taking longer to climb back up the hill than we thought! That is painful for a JVF but it is truth. Here is a thought for all the "Get rid of him" crew...WHO WILL COME TO ROCKY TOP in the middle of the year?........WHO WILL COME while they are still in such rebuilding mode?.....None of that matters, they lost bad to Florida so now we just put forth the verdict, he has to beat Georgia or show up for four quarters. Sorry man, I am not buying that. I am considering the whole year, if it is bad all year, okay look at options. Meanwhile, we hang in there. At one time patience was a virture. Not now, not in a twitterized,facebook,perpetual news time info. flooded world. I feel for Coach Dooley but as with others, feel he needs to help them step up but am not yet ready to can him as many of my JVF folk seem to be.

September 19, 2012 at 6:50 a.m.
ScottTazewell said...

hey Iam with Dooley, you have to ask this ?, why can we not get a Show time caoch here is it because we have a 100,000 seat arena or the Top of the line Work out areas etc or the Money, nope its because those Show time guys know you can build a team in three years but you can not have a power house in 3 years, more so in the SEC, and they know it but its sad that the fans do not. Dooley came from a small School, thats true! and Iam thinking man to survive the pressure of VOL fans and be living still, a Georgia game is nothing!!!! Lets go Dooley, from what I heard this week you stood behind the boys, now I think they will play for ya

September 19, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
ScottTazewell said...

I knew it was going to be at least 5 years, and Dooley has built a good base in 3 so my hat is off to him, I saw him stand behind his boys this week and I know those young men will play for him now, when Dooley stopped coaching for the fans and Coached for the team and stood with them its now Iam thinking you know Georgia is going to see another side of UT its going to be a Team!!!

September 19, 2012 at 9:13 a.m.
jomo11 said...

A 3:30 start should give Dooley plenty of time before the game to pick out his casket . . .

September 19, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
Salsa said...

UTAD cannot afford to fire Dooley right now. They lost 5 million $ last year. Most of the assistants were hired to 3 year contracts last year and those buyouts would be hefty. Dooley would be owed $5 million through February of 2013. That drops to $4 million into 2014 and 2015. The buyout falls to $2.5 million after February 2015.

Even a one trick pony should be able to do that math.

September 19, 2012 at 12:13 p.m.
jomo11 said...

If you are NOT a UTK fan you DON'T want Dooley fired. .462 all-time winning percentage as a Head Coach, 0-11 against ranked teams, In 6 years has only beat 2 teams that finished the season with a winning record, . . . .

Even a one trick pony can see that Dooley will never be more than a 7 or 8 win a season guy. . . at best

Like Bill Parcells says "You are what your record is"

September 19, 2012 at 12:39 p.m.
totoiv said...

If the Haslam's can pay $1 billion for the Cleveland Browns they can cover a $5 million dollar buy out. If the old gaurd wants Dooley gone he will be gone.

September 19, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
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