Dooley: "We Have Our Hands Full"

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley spoke with the media Tuesday about Friday's matchup between Tennessee and NC State in the first of two 2012 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Games.

Opening Statement:
Our team is really excited about the game. It's on the national stage and playing a great opponent. We have our hands full, they have a very experienced football team, a well coached football team who probably feel like this it the best team they have had in a while. It's going to be a great challenge for our football team.

You have been great over the years at coming up with great catch phrases leading up to football games. What is this week's catch phrase?
I don't have nay catch phrase this week, I'm just really looking forward to seeing what our team looks like. If training camp and how they prepared this offseason is any indication, I think we'll be a team that's going to be fun to watch."

With the happenings of the last couple of weeks of fall camp, has it been a rallying cry for your team?
I think NC State probably feels the same way, at this point in camp everybody is ready to go out there and see what they look like, and we are too.

You talked about how NC State might feel like this is its best team in a while, how about you? You've had to rebuild the program, rebuild depth. How far away are you from having the depth that you want in your program and being able to compete in the SEC East?
Well, I think the answers to those questions are going to come over the next 12 weeks. We feel like we're a bigger, stronger, more talented team than we've been the last two years, but whether we're ready to beat a team like NC State and compete for the SEC East, only time will tell. We feel like we've made a lot of improvements on our roster and I hope that the experience these guys have gained over the last couple of years will pay dividends for us.

NC State has one of the best secondaries in the country with Amerson and Wolff. With Rogers being gone, are you concerned going into the game about your receivers against NC State's secondary?
I'm very concerned because we have very little experience and they have an incredible amount of it. What those guys do best is they make you pay for any mistakes, whether it's a poor route, an inaccurate football, whatever it is. There is nothing more important than turnovers in these types of games, so we have to be very careful with the ball and not get too ambitious pushing that ball down the field.

From a momentum standpoint, how much would winning Friday night set the tone for your team?
I've been in it long enough to say that one game never dictates the outcome of a season. We were saying the same things last year going into the Cincinnati game, who won 10 games. We stroked them, and then we went on and had a real disappointing end to our season. It's one game, it's an important game, it's a great opponent, but every team gets measured on their body of work over 12 weeks.

Tyler Bray is regarded as one of the best quarterback in the country from a talent standpoint. Do you believe all the hype going into the season? Does he deserve all that?
That's what Tyler's goal is, to go out there and prove it. He's certainly been blessed with some abilities, but there are a lot of guys that have been blessed with abilities that aren't able to turn it into production with consistency. He's gone out there in some games and flashed an incredible play, and then he's had some games that he's been disappointed with. His goal is to go out there and execute a level of consistency in his performance no matter who the opponent is.

How is Bray from a leadership standpoint?
He's been outstanding all camp. His maturity as it relates to football has been great. He's got better command of the offense and I think he has a lot of confidence effecting the other guys on the team in a positive way. I'm hoping that spills over into the game.

When you look at your depth chart, there are only a couple of freshman on there and they aren't starting. What does that say compared to the last two you've had?
It's very different, that's for sure. There is a lot more experience and lot more maturity, but there is still a level of inexperience as it relates to game in the defensive line, secondary and wide receivers.

What are your thoughts on both teams wearing home jerseys?
I don't really have any thoughts. It'll probably look good on television, but I don't think it has any impact on our perspective. I guess I'll answer that question after the game. If our guys think red looks like orange we'll be in trouble."

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