published Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Jay Greeson: Dooley's pep talk needs 'Why?' and 'Why not?'

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For all the question marks about Derek Dooley — and the glaring stat that he's 0-11 against ranked foes as Tennessee's football coach — we bet he gives an awesome pregame speech. He'll need one today when his Volunteers visit the No. 5-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

We bet Nick Saban does too, but Saban's is likely a sentence or two and filled with intimidation and the threat of dark days. Something along the lines of, "You boys better win. Or you know what happens Monday." With a shot of the Gimp from "Pulp Fiction" standing in the corner of the locker room.

Still, it's easy to believe Dooley's normal pregame speech being thoughtful and well-rehearsed and motivating.

Maybe today's pregame talk would sound something like this:

Why do you play the game? Why? For moments like this and the chance to be better than one of the best in the country with the nation watching.

Why do you work so hard, A.J.Johnson? Why? To be ready to shut Todd Gurley down and shut everyone up.

Why did you throw 500 balls a day through the summer, Tyler Bray? Why? So when the CBS cameras come on and they talk about Heisman candidate Aaron Murray, they have to say he's the second-best passer on the field today.

Why did you nearly kill yourself rehabbing, Justin Hunter? Why? Because you know it's a heck of lot easier to be on the field in tough spots than standing on the sideline knowing you could help your brother if your body would let you. You worked to get back to have a stage like this.

Why do you lift every morning, Tiny Richardson? Why, no matter whether you're tired or hurt or indifferent, do you come in and move weight? Why? Because when you get the chance, you can stand toe-to-toe with li'l Johnnie Jenkins and not budge. That when that moment comes and you're tired, you're still strong.

I want each of you to ask yourself why? Why are we here, right now, in this moment, with these 100 Tennessee men waiting on a chance to be great or be gutted. Why?

(Dramatic pause)

I know why I'm here. I Volunteered for this because these are the moments you work for, the moments you prepare for on those early mornings or 100-degree afternoons. I Volunteered for this because I want to leave this stadium silenced and come back in this room in three hours and celebrate why we do what we do.

I know why we're here.

And if we know why, I now ask you ... why not? Why not us? Why not this moment? Why not take this chance and turn it into our biggest moment?

(Dramatic pause)

Men, we live for moments like this. Those moments that you know you'll never forget. You only get a few of them. Today's going to be one. I know it. You know it. And you know what, they know it. They know what we can do. You know what we can do.

Let's go show everyone else what we can do.

Why not?

Tone and tenor are overmatched by the tonnage and talent, of course, but there's still the moment and the chance, right?

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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fechancellor said...

One would like to be comforted by the fact that Dooley in the confines of his tones of quiet and precise legalese can make us believe in his motivational powers to create all the hooping and hollering necessary to jack up the team.

Maybe it's time to break glass on Fulmer's walking stick (Dooley may employ a widget) and start "Working Like Heck," or whatever it takes to get the Vols excited for the First, and more crucial for the second half.

September 29, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.
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