I agree with Livn4life in regard to the Vols. With the schedule we've had the past 3 years and the MAC level roster we've had we would be hard pressed to find a coach out there that could have done much better aside from a couple of games (UK last year most notably.)
I would like to hear your thoughts on how Dave Hart has handled this situation starting from the UK game last year from a PR standpoint. I don't recall the actual comments he made after the UK loss, but from what I remember they couldn't have helped in recruiting. Also, this year the rumors of him being visibily upset after the Miss St and Alabama losses. I know this can't help the coaches on the recruiting trail, for the good of the program shouldn't he be keeping his emotions in check and address issues behind closed doors while putting on a good face for the public? Just something my friends and I have been discussing.
I know we as fans are disappointed with the Vols of late, but if you really take a look back we are playing at a UT level here in recent years. During the 70s we averaged 7.5 wins and 4 losses, during the 80s we averaged 7.7 wins and 4 losses, during the 90s (our Decade of Dominance) we averaged 10 wins and 2 losses and finally in the 2000s we averaged 8.3 wins and 4.5 losses. So over the past 40 years we are about an 8-4 team year in year out. The program really started it's decline in 2002. Fulmer went 11-22 versus ranked opponents along with 10 additional losses to unranked ones over his last 7 years. Our recruiting and developing of players saw a gradual decline which can be seen in the number of players sent to the NFL on a yearly basis. Looking at Dooley, he inherited at best a MAC level roster with little to no depth, talent, etc. We are currently getting contributions from 8 or so seniors. While Bray has shown flashes, remember that was a Kiffin recruit. If we are to blame anyone it should be Hamilton for letting Fulmer stay on as long as he did. The game started to pass him by and aside from a couple SEC East titles in 2004 and 2007 that we had to have help in other teams losing he was slipping. Three coaches in three years is unheard of these days, much less in the SEC. That will kill a program. We all think highly of the Vols, but when it came time to replace Fulmer and then Kiffin...no one wanted the job. Everyone knew how far the talent level had fallen and that it would be a 3-4 year rebuilding project at best. After seeing the game last week, we look like a couple more years away at the earliest to be on the same level as a Alabama team in regards to depth and talent. Finally, of Dooley's losses, how many of those should he have won? Obviously the UK game last season and I'm not going to count the UNC bowl game where we got robbed. But in all reality we have been losing to top ranked teams these last 3 years with a roster that would be considered as previously stated MAC level. Just an honest look at the program in my eyes.