A Neutral Outsider's Perspective

Hi, Vol fans :)  I'm an Oregon State fan in Corvallis, so I watch all the Oregon State and Oregon games.  I started following your team when you guys played the Ducks and even watched a couple episodes of the Derek Dooley Show online.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of sad Vols here (which I understand) and saw the post referring to some in your area questioning whether Dooley was a good hire or not.  From my more unbiased point of view, I'd say he looks like the man for the job and needs your support.  Here's my reasoning:

1.  While there have been some crushing losses, you guys could easily be 3-3 right now (barring that strangeness at LSU.)  That's really not playing so terrible.

2.  The loss to #7 Oregon (now #3, and likely #2 when the next poll comes out) not only would have happened to almost any team, but you guys played an incredible first half.  Like an "oh crap, we're getting owned" first half to Duck fans.  The duckies were seriously worried, not just because of the score, but because you guys were running it down their throats.  As for the second half, while it looked really bad for you guys, the fact is that Oregon is a VERY impressive 2nd half team defensively.  They have only allowed 13 points in the second half total, all season.  To me, and many others, that game improved people's impression of your team, not lowered it.

3.  Going back to point 1, some might respond "yeah, but our 2 wins came against FCS/C-USA opponents."  Still!  I compare the situation at Tennessee somewhat to the situation the team up north, the Washington State Cougars, found themselves in.  To sum it up, their previous coach left the cupboards bare, and their program in disarray.  When their new coach arrived, they did not win ANY games that year until an overtime win against an 0-12 Washington team.  WSU went 1-11.  The next year they also went 1-11.  Believe me, when your program has a major shock like you guys had, it's a feat to not fold and to keep competing.  The last two years, WSU didn't even compete in their games and were the laughingstock of the Pac-10 (and all of CFB really).  Your team is still competing and winning some games.  That is a very good sign for the future.  (As for WSU, it looks like they're starting to compete again - it's about time!)

4.  As for Coach Dooley himself, from what I've seen, I like the guy.  He seems down-to-earth, takes responsibility, and is passionate about the team.  I remember watching him totally fired up on the sidelines in the Oregon game, and I can't say I've seen the same from Lane Kiffin (is that a bad word?) over in his games at USC.  It's like Kiffin has no fire now, but your coach does.  Coaches' attitudes are infectious, and their teams often take their personalities in some form.  That's a great sign for the Vols :)

5.  As the other post stated, negativity (especially after less than half a season!) doesn't help anything. It took a few years for good coaching talent (Mike Riley and Dennis Erickson) to turn the Oregon State program around back in the late 90's.  If we'd given them the boot after a year or two, we'd probably still be down in the cellar.

So...yeah.  I realize football is a way bigger deal over there than it is here for most fans, and losses really suck, but I still think you guys are going in the right direction.  That's just my view that I wanted to share over in SEC-land... even though I think the SEC is overhyped, as is my duty as a Pac-10/11/12 fan (but let's not get into THAT one ;-)  )

Good luck on your season!

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