There, now that my hook title got your attention, I'll go ahead and say I'm still 100% behind Dooley. Derek is gonna have to get 8 wins next season though or the process starts again. In my opinion, a minimum of 8 keeps his job, 10+ gets an extension. With Weis leaving Florida today, there is one game that may have just gotten easier.
I have digressed though, I would like to bring Phillip Fulmer back into the Tennessee family. Only as Offensive Line Coach and possibly Associate Head Coach. Let's face it, it's sad to see Coach Fulmer screaming MANBEARPIG!!! everytime a job opens up only to have no one take him serial. Nobody he wants to coach for is going to hire him so is it possible he could swallow his pride, squash his ego and get back into coaching at the professional love of his life?
I won't suggest that he should not have been fired in 2008. I agreed at the time that he should have been done as our head coach and I still do, I just wish it had been handled better by both sides. That is all in the past now though and if there is ever an advantageous time for Fulmer to return it is now and in the capacity I described.
No matter your opinion of Coach Harry Hiestand or the job he has done, I think we, as Tennessee fans, can all agree that Fulmer could do just as well and bring more to the table in the same position.
Let's give it the old pro/con outline.
1. Phillip Fulmer is an excellent offensive line coach and excellent recruiter. Part of his late troubles as head coach was evaluating talent. In the position I have described, there would be much less overall responsibility and I believe his prowess as a top-notch recruiter could be easily recovered.
2. Hiring Phillip Fulmer would serve to unite a divided fan base until we see the actual results we expect. It would bring the older players back in the fold and rejuvenate the portion of the fan base that is still bitter over his ouster.
3. The off-field direction of the program is in line with what CPF always claimed to be his goal. On-field success be damned, I think we can all agree that Dooley is managing the character of his players in a direction consistent with high values and building successful young men. This is something Fulmer historically prided himself on and could get behind.
4. He would be surrounded by people he could work with. I think Dooley is someone Fulmer could get along with even as a "subordinate". I have no doubt that he and Chaney could get along and we know he would be cool with Jay Graham and Tee Martin if Tee cam back. Wilcox? Who knows, but that's defense. Most importantly, Mike Hamilton is gone and so are the abrasive personalities of the Kiffins and Orgeron. I would never have dreamed that he could get along with that group.
5. Having Fulmer on staff would help pave the way for the return of the "Chief" once Justin Wilcox finally gets his call up to be the head man. It is my position that one of the biggest mistakes, if not the biggest, in the illustrious history of our football program was tossing John Chavis aside for the siren song of the fabulously overrated Monte Kiffin.
I could go on, but the point is that there would be many pros, advantages, positives, whatever word you choose to having Fulmer back in the fold with only one negative I can think of, ego.
Could and would Phillip Fulmer be able to suppress his ego, swallow his pride and work under another head coach at his Alma mater after so many successful years as the head man himself? He is not getting any younger and each year his pleas for a head job at a major program go ignored and become increasingly pitiful. At some point will he acquiesce to the reality of his situation and come back to give just a little more to the university he loves so much? Are we wrong for asking or suggesting him to do so?
What do you think?