I once heard Jonathan Stewart say in an interview that ‘the 24 hour news cycle is really only built for events like 9/11’. During all other times the 24 hour news cycle is largely unnecessary. When there is no concrete news to fill all of that TV, Radio and Print space, a lot of it gets filled with speculation, discussion and ideas. The issue that arises with this format is if something gets said, its news. Whether or not anything actually happened, its news. How many times can you recall a headline being something about what some writer or TV personality has said or theorized?
In my opinion, Tennessee has become its own worst enemy in this environment in the last 5-6 years. The 24 hour news cycle exists in college sports too, and while it certainly serves its purpose during stories like Michael Vick’s scandal or the Penn State situation, the past month in Tennessee’s football universe has not been worthy of a 24 news cycle. That’s what I took the most out of Derek Dooley’s press conference today, that we all need to take a moment and relax.
Regardless of how you feel about the team’s performance this year (and I am of the school that feels the team underperformed to their talent level), I think the speculation, the rampant rumors and accusations that have flown around since the Kentucky game have been on the level of ridiculous. After that game it’s like the flood gates opened and any bad thought anyone has had about the state of the program is fair game and news worthy. Everything Dooley said today made sense. Yes, this is a make or break year for him, but for now he’s here, and wants to be here (imagine that!). What’s best for Tennessee Football in 2012 is for the team to play extremely well with Derek Dooley as the head coach. I’m not going to spend this off season worrying about what may or may not happen if and when he is asked to leave. Can we please stop looking for reasons to fire him before we have a REAL chance to see what a season looks like the year we've said all along would be the tell all?
With that said, Scattered thoughts on the press conference today…
Wilcox and Sirmon leaving: Coaching turnover is just a big part of the sand box we play in these days. Yes it sucks to lose two promising coaches in the heat of recruiting season,but let’s stop acting like this is automatically indicative of everything that is wrong with Tennessee. This is part of the risk you take when you hire people that are young and have lifetime ties in places that are far away from Tennessee. The fact that we didn’t announce Randy Shannon or some other “home run” hire in less than 24 hours does not automatically mean we won’t have a good defense next year or in years to come. Charlie Baggett leaving was a blow but everyone seems to be on board with Jay Graham as a replacement. That took some time, let’s give this some time as well.
DeAnthony Arnett: Dooley eventually arrived at the correct decision to release him. Let’s accept that fact and move on. It’s not worth it to make a big deal of how he got there as we don’t know (and nor should we really) what the situation was beyond closed doors.
DaRick Rogers: I was disappointed as any in listening to the RTT podcast with Wes Rucker several weeks back. But let’s not forget he’s 19 years old. He’s been treated as a star his whole life. He needs to grow up. I’m reminded of the bell curve of character Dooley described during his first recruiting class, hopefully DaRick moves towards the middle and benefits from being around some seemingly great kids already on this team.
I hope Derek Dooley is the man for the job. Go Vols!