The Tennessee Volunteers have had their fair share of struggles this year. The have gone 3-5 and lost their last four games. To make matters worse they have failed to score a touchdown in the last two games and only scored one each in the two games before that.
To some it is clearly time to fire Derek Dooley. To these people he has not upheld the expectations of the proud Tennessee program. I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but come on, what did you expect.
Tennessee lost its star quarterback, Tyler Bray, to a broken thumb during the closing minutes of the Georgia game when he hit his hand against a Bulldog player's helmet.
A few weeks before Tennessee lost star receiver against Florida when he tore his ACL.
Those are two of Tennessee's best players and at Tennessee good players are hard to find these days. Without good players any coach will be hard pressed to win football games especially when they are facing teams like LSU and Alabama where every defensive starter could be taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.
It's absurd to think that a backup quarterback like Matt Simms could come in and do well against either of those teams and do much of anything with the lack of talent and depth Tennessee has at the skill positions.
Da'Rick Rogers is the only SEC player on the offensive side of the ball for Tennessee right now. Zach Rogers and Deanthony Arnett are no help and tight end Michael Rivera is only a solid starter at best. Then there is Tauren Poole who isn't a bad player, but is averaging under four yards a carry and probably isn't SEC starter material.
No matter how brilliant of a coach you are, there is no way you can possibly compete at the highest level with a situation like that.
The defense too has its problems.
They can't stop the run and are only a little better against the pass. They have failed to get any pressure on the quarterback, except in the South Carolina game and let the LSU offense march 99 yards down their throats without completing a pass.
Yeah the aren't very good. But they are also young and have little depth. A lot of these players were in high school this time last year and even more of them are unseasoned sophomores. The upperclassmen also just aren't very good. Having three coaches in the three years before this one led to a lot of players leaving and recruits decommiting. In fact except for Prentiss Wagner and Malik Jackson the team doesn't have many SEC viable players starting.
None of this is Dooley's fault. He was given a bad situation and now has to deal with problems many other coaches don't have. He has won the games he has supposed to and generally lost the games that the other team was favored in. So no he has not exceeded expectations, but he has at least met them.
He needs another couple of years to get new talent in and fill in the holes caused by Tennessee's unstable situation the last few years. But until then forget the hot seat talk unless he loses against teams like Kentucky or MTSU. We all knew it would be a hard climb back for the Vols so calm down and wait to judge Dooley until we have a better body of work.
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