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Stuck in the middle with Doo(ley).
- Updated: October 16, 2012
I didn’t watch the game. I was backpacking in the Joyce Kilmer / Slickrock wilderness area instead because I like to go all lone wolf-y outta nowhere like that. Only I wasn’t alone, but still, backpacking’s such a solitary endeavor. Even when you’re with someone else, you’re still inside your head the majority of the time.
Regardless, you might be wondering how I could possibly miss what was arguably the most important game of the Derek Dooley era. There are two answers.
First, I have a shit ton (it’s metric) of kids. Five, in fact — one “big” (11) and four “little”s (aged 5 or younger). And, as such, my wife and I have a lot going on. You know how folks with a coupla young kids like to say stuff like I swear, I can’t take a shit without one of my kids coming into the bathroom?
Well, I can totally relate. Because I can’t even take a shower without a damn Montessori class breaking out in my bathroom.
Anyway, when a man with five kids is (reluctantly) issued a backpacking hall pass from his wife, sorry, y’all. He takes that backpacking hall pass every damn time. No matter who the Vols are playing. So that’s reason number one.
But the second reason I was okay with missing the game is that I have a life, people, and therefore refuse to let a team that’s lost 13 consecutive games to ranked opponents (and 10 out of their last 11 SEC match ups) keep me from living it. Besides, I didn’t miss a single play. I listened to that trainwreck on the radio. And I have many thoughts in the wake of it.
First: Cowbells suck. They sound like static when you hear them on the radio. Why they let those horrible, horrible rednecks ring the bells once worn by the very cows they relentlessly fuck, I’ll never know.
Second: look at this picture that was taken after the game. Doesn’t Dooley look sad in his wheelchair? (And will that be a new twitter account: @dooleys_wheelchair?) Look at his posture. You throw a shawl on him, and I swear, that’s my grandma. Okay, that’s bullshit. Both my grandmothers are dead. And neither one were big shawl gals. But still.
By the way, I heard that shortly after this picture was taken, the wheels actually melted. You know, because the seat was so hot and all.
Also: the Dave-Clawsen hire thinks bringing on Sal Sunseri was a bad call. And Joe Theisman’s broken leg thinks our defense is hard to watch. I feel that way, too — so much so that I’m beginning to take it personally, and I’m not the only one. Word has it that Chief Noc-a-homa thinks the whole deal’s totally offensive, too.
And judging from all the toxicity I’ve been hearing on the radio this week, many of you are offended as well. And, predictably, the object of your ire is Dooley. Something to keep in mind, though: many who are currently calling for his head were singing his praises just five weeks ago as we headed into the Florida game.
Remember? Everyone was all high-fives and butt slaps, just happy to be “back in the national spotlight.” Happy, too, that Dooley had gotten his gang to turn the corner. All was forgiven — even the Kentucky loss. Hard to hold a grudge when you’re busy figuring out how many TDs Bray needed against the Gators to gain his rightful spot on the Heisman-watch list. And don’t even get me started on the goalpost debate.
All of which was exactly why I wrote the following in my Florida-week post:
Remember, this time last year, we were at the exact same spot, 2-0 heading into Florida…All was well. We were smitten with Derek Dooley. No one had yet accused him of being a hair-obsessed, micro -managing lego enthusiast, and we all still thought his mama was sooooo funny…We were still starfucked by those orange pants, too — watching documentaries about them on the Jumbotron, following them on Twitter and even pretending the tweets were funny (which they weren’t)…So it’s not like I’m not fired up about our 2-0 start. I totally am. But in the immortal words of Mr. Wolf: Let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.
My point is this: the season we’ve had to this point has been so utterly predictable that I’m kinda confused by all the outrage. The Vols have proven to be the exact team I thought they’d be (albeit one with a shittier defense than I could have ever imagined, largely because I struggle with the concept of infinity). And Dooley has been the exact coach he’s always proven to be — both here and at LA Tech.
I’m not the biggest Dooley fan in the world. Remember when everyone was going goo-goo over his press-conference comedy act? The one about World War II?
Wasn’t feeling it. Reminded me of his mama — a ham who loves to make the people go ha-ha. And I didn’t want a fucking comedian. I wanted a football coach.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t anti-Dooley. In fact, my big line was: Dooley’s got all the ingredients to be a great coach one day. And I still believe that. But just because you have all the ingredients doesn’t mean the meal will turn out well. And now that we’ve had plenty of his cooking, it seems ever more clear that Dooley’s having a hard time dealing with the heat his kitchen’s putting out.
Maybe that heat’s why he comes off kinda petty from time to time. Why he seems to rub people the wrong way. I vowed to never run with all the bullshit rumors you hear out there and post them on this blog — a vow I’m not about to break anytime soon. But we all know people, right? And you’ve heard the same shit I have, right? And none of it bodes very well, now does it?
So, to me at least, things just kinda are what they are. Precisely why I was never wondering how many minutes it’d take for us to tear down the goalposts after the Florida game. Precisely why I’m not currently yelling FIRE DOOLEY from the mountain tops. Because to me, it’s kinda like What’d you expect? We hired the LA Tech coach who was 17-20.
So where does that leave us? I still feel like I did after the Georgia game — I don’t really know. But I do know this: decisions make themselves all the time, and that could well happen in this case. Because if we lose to Bama and South Carolina (which we will), it’ll be hard to keep this train on the tracks. And if it’s hard to keep the train on the tracks, that means there are no more guarantees for the rest of season. So if we were stumble to Troy, Mizzou, Vandy or Kentucky, Dooley’s done because 6-6 ain’t gonna cut it.
But if he runs the table like he did his first year and finishes 7-5? I honestly don’t know how I’d feel.
I certainly don’t wanna start over again. And we’re the ones who hired him — the ones who made his buyout so high (classic over-reaction to losing Kiffin, both the hire and the contract). So on the one hand, it seems we’ve made our bed and we should have to lie in it. At least for another season.
Unless we come for real and stroke a serious check to land someone with a big-ass name who can immediately pump life back into this program.
So long as the guy’s proven to be a damn good coach.
Because sometimes, a big-ass name alone doesn’t cut it.