Derek Dooley realizes that his team will have to be at the top of its game when nationally ranked Oregon rolls into town Saturday to play the Vols.
"We will have to be good at everything," Dooley said Wednesday morning during the SEC coaches' teleconference. "We can't afford any breakdowns, and we are going to have to have patience."
The patience Dooley is talking about has to do with the success Oregon is going to have at different times.
"They are a great team," Dooley explained. "They are going to do some things that will put us on our heels at times. We just have to be patient and not get rattled when they have some success."
Dooley realizes that his team is facing a tough challenge this week with the 7th-ranked Ducks coming into Neyland Stadium.
"They are a very well coached ball club," Dooley said. "They are a very deep team; they will try to wear us down with their depth, that's something we don't have a lot of."
Dooley also acknowledged that this will be a great test to see just how good his young ball club is right now.
"It will definitely be a great challenge to see where we are as a team," Dooley said. "We performed well against UT Martin but Oregon is a totally difference situation."
It appears many feel that Dooley's secret weapon against the Ducks will be new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. Wilcox played at Oregon and has had a lot of success against the Ducks on the other side of the field.
Dooley was asked what led him to hire Wilcox when he was putting together his coaching staff.
"What caught my eye was how his defenses performed while he was at Boise State," Dooley said. "They have a lot of offense successes over the years but the last three years they have played tremendous defense."
Dooley's personal meeting with Wilcox apparently sealed the deal for the new Tennessee head coach.
"It's one thing to know how he calls defenses, but once you meet him personally and see what a high character person he is, that's all it took for me," Dooley said.
Starting center Cody Pope left practice Tuesday in an ambulance during practice, and Dooley explained the situation.
"Cody is going to be fine," Dooley said. "We just took a precautionary approach to the situation. He is out of the hospital and is expected to practice this afternoon. Yes, I expect him to play this weekend. Everything checked out, he is OK."