Not so fast
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Not so fast

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It seemed as though the minutes passed like hours between the final field goal to seal the Mizzou Tigers 51-48 win over Tennessee and Derek Dooley's Monday press conference at noon eastern time.

However, despite reports of his pending ousting, Dooley took to the podium as normal and addressed his status as the head football coach at the University of Tennessee.

"I think when you look at all this stuff — yeah I addressed it," said Dooley when asked if he addressed his team on the reports. "They are getting banged up on their phone the way my kids are getting banged up on their phone, the way my wife is getting banged up.

"Everyone is saying I am fired and I didn't even know it. I am sitting there working on Vandy and I had already talked to (Director of Athletics) Dave (Hart). You have to come home and address all that with your family and then you have to come in the morning and address it with the team."

The Tennessee Director of Athletics Dave Hart looks on.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
The Vols have opened the SEC season at 0-6 and despite being the first team in SEC history to give up 38 or more points in six consecutive games, Hart still has yet to express that his head coach will not be back for a fourth season.

"We talked very frankly about it and he told me he had not made a decision if we go 6-6, despite what all the reports are," Dooley said. "Either the sources are wrong or Dave wasn't being forthright with me and I have no reason to think that he is not being forthright with me. He is an honest man and he has always been honest with me. I have appreciated how he has handled everything about this. I really have."

And as reports swirl, the social networks buzz and the blogs come alive with coaching speculation, a head coach is forced with the challenge of facing his family in a world where he and they are under constant fire.

"The hardest thing is your family," Dooley said. "The hardest thing is when they are seeing things that are contrary to what their dad tells them. That is where it gets a little tough, but that is part of the profession. We have to deal with it."

All the while, the Vols are in the middle of a season where it is still possible they could tip toe into the post season. And so their focus continues to be on the Vanderbilt Commodores, who are foaming at the mouth for a W after the controversial loss in Neyland Stadium last November.

"I am worried about Vanderbilt," Dooley said. "I can't make that decision. I can give you compelling arguments why I should and there are plenty of compelling arguments why I shouldn't. It is Dave and the Chancellor. It is their decision and I can't control what they think.

"(Vandy) just plays with a great level on consistency. They play very good disciplined football. They do an excellent job of formationing you and it is really quick and crisp. They have some very talented receivers and an excellent running back that can really hurt you."

One of Tennessee's biggest hurdles this week will come in the form or lack there of with sophomore linebacker Curt Maggitt, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL suffered in the Missouri loss.

"He is out for the year with a torn ACL," Dooley said. "That was a real blow. It hurt us that last drive. He was doing a great job of copping the quarterback the whole game. That hurt us there on a couple of things down the stretch."

Watch Dooley's full remarks Monday below in video from InsideTennessee.com: