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Three SEC Coaches Aren’t Ready To Back (Fully) Dooley’s Stance On Oversigning

Last month, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley made a passionate case for the benefits and necessity of oversigning in college football.  At the time, the former Nick Saban aide said, “I know Nick Saban feels the same way I feel.”  (I’m sure Saban appreciates his former protege speaking for him.)

Well, Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution set to see if any other current SEC coaches would back oversigning — and back Dooley — so strongly.  The results?  Not really.

Georgia’s Mark Richt: 

“I don’t want to get into that discussion.  It really is a moot point.  It doesn’t matter.  We know what the rules are now, so let’s go by them and get after it.”

Kentucky’s Joker Phillips:

“I know some of the positives with oversigning.  But you had a couple of negative things that happened.  And those negative things happened to 18-year-olds.  It didn’t happen to us coaches.  The thing the school presidents got upset about were happening to 18-year-old kids.  It was not their fault, you know?  When college coaches negatively affect the lives of a couple of 18-year-olds… that’s why it was blown up because of who it was.”

Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin:

“If everything is handled upfront the right way… and it’s explained to a young man where he is in the pecking order and he has not qualified… then I agree some (with Dooley)… It’s the communication that comes along with oversigning or the lack of communication that can get you in trouble.  It was never a problem for us at Houston and it won’t be a problem for us here… because all those issues will be communicated upfront with a player, his parents, and his coaches.”

Saban did not respond to Carvell’s request for an interview.

Now, in fairness to Dooley, all 12 SEC coaches voted last spring in favor of keeping oversigning as it was.  And even Phillips — if you read The AJC’s full piece right here — said that he really liked the old rules, even though he’s now ready to move on under the new one.

But in terms of perception, you have one SEC coach — Dooley — who’s still strongly defending oversigning while the rest of his fraternity seems to be moving on.  Even if they agree with him, they’re not making a similar case with similar gusto:

* Richt says he’s ready to make the new rule work. 

* Phillips says an 18-year-old kid should come first and that it wasn’t coaches who were being hurt by the rule. 

* Sumlin says it’s all about communication and that’s not a problem for him. 

* And Saban has been wise enough — at least so far — to not speak out loudly in favor of something that so many others are flatly against.

For now, Dooley remains the league’s — and therefore the nation’s — loudest proponent for oversigning.


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