Derek Dooley is always good for a quote. You can debate his coaching skills, but when he wants to be funny… the guy can be funny. And he can also be a bit prickly when he’s asked a question he doesn’t like. That usually makes for a pretty good press conference or media session.
Let’s see what he brings to the table today…
* Dooley opened by talking about improved depth, talent and maturity. He said “this group’s been fun to be around.”
* “It’s been a tough four years at Tennessee and the SEC has enjoyed taking advantage of our tough times, but there’s a nice mood on our team that you’re not gonna have Tennessee to kick around anymore.” Ooh, a Nixon line.
* Dooley says he wants UT to run the ball better on offense and be more aggressive on defense.
* He says he didn’t do as good a job as he needed to do last year when injuries hit, saying “it broke our spirit.”
* Dooley says first game with NC State will be a good measuring stick for his team.
* The coach says linebacker Herman Lathers has helped build and provide leadership on the team.
* Dooley says the receiving corps is getting pub, but they only have one receiver who’s gone through a 12-game schedule. Wake up, call.
* The coach isn’t pulling many punches. He’s admitting his faults and his teams while also saying that his squad is ready to move forward. No hot seat questions yet, but he seems to be a bit relaxed by the die-or-die nature of the season he’s facing.
* Dooley says Tyler Bray has made some lifestyle changes that should improve his game. “You have to live as the quarterback of Tennessee.” Dooley says Bray is showing more maturity.
* Short and quick, there weren’t a lot of questions for Dooley.
Our overall grade for Dooley’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 5. Dooley didn’t go the smart-aleck route as he sometimes has in the past, but he also didn’t take many fastballs. But he was clearly comfortable and seemed to have some enthusiasm about him.