Former Tennessee players have harsh criticism for Derek Dooley
Derek Dooley left Butch Jones and Tennessee with a mess to fix. The embattled Dooley missed on bowl games his last two years at Tennessee, and the roster was depleted in remarkable fashion.
In-state recruiting struggled under Dooley, and the program took a big dip the last several years. Yes, Jones is rebuilding the program, roster and relationships with high school coaches, but rough waters could still be ahead again in 2014, thanks in part to Dooley.
Dooley finished 15-21 over his three-year coaching career at Tennessee. He delivered more one-liners than wins, and he combined to finish 4-19 overall within the conference. How is that even possible?
Several former Tennessee players attended Eddie Moore’s South Pittsburg youth camp. Players like Al Wilson, Eric Westmoreland, Troy Fleming, Gerald Riggs Jr., DeAngelo Lloyd, Jabari Davis, Steven Marsh, Corey Larkins and Keyon Whiteside were all in attendance.
Times Free Press editor Stephen Hargis was a moderator for Friday’s question and answer session, and he noted some, well, interesting answers to a question about ‘watching the program struggle’ recently.
Q: You guys talked earlier about how tough it’s been to watch the program struggle since you were there. From making former players feel welcome, and embracing Tennessee traditions, to bringing in better recruiting classes, it seems that Butch Jones has things headed in the right direction. What are some things you’ve noticed that you like about where the program is headed and what are your expectations for the next couple of years?
Al Wilson: “I really don’t even want to say the names of the two guys who were there between Coach Fulmer and Coach Jones. They don’t deserve to have their names mentioned with Tennessee football. As somebody who went 45-5 while I was at UT, that’s a place I care a lot about and I’m just glad that there’s somebody in charge again who gets it and who wants to be there and take the program back to where it was and where it should be. For Coach Jones to embrace us and bring us back in is a big deal for us.”
Troy Fleming: “The biggest thing about Coach Jones is he actually does his job. Unlike that guy we call Derek Doolittle, who really did very little. This recruiting class that just came in, and with what they’re already getting for next year, I believe we’ll be better this year and we’ll be back competing in a big way in 2015, which is good because there’s a lot of people who are going to hear my mouth again.”
Corey Larkins: “I just want to see some fight. I’ve seen our guys for the last few years not only get beat to the ground, but then the other players push up off their chest to go back to the huddle and our guys just got up and walked back to the huddle. I want to see some guys with some fight and defend the program. That mentality came from the guy we had before Coach Jones. Derek Dooley was a loser. He’ll always be a loser and he rubbed off on the program and created a losing attitude.”
Dooley is now the wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys after being fired at Tennessee. It’s safe to say he didn’t connect well with former Tennessee greats.
More interesting questions and answers were given, and you can read them all here.