Dooley and his staff emphasized the fact that Saturday's scrimmage would be their first true measurement of where the Vols were early in spring football. The conclusions were anything but positive.
"You always have a couple of conclusions after the first scrimmage and the first one is, we are really a bad football team," Dooley said following Saturday's scrimmage.
The offensive team was especially woeful in the early going. Tyler Bray and the Vols offense came out with little enthusiasm and were "thrown around the yard."
"I was really disappointed in the first half with how the offense came out," Dooley said. "It was a total dominating first half by the defense and it was strictly because of more effort, toughness, enthusiasm, spirit, all the intangibles. The offense went about four straight three and outs."
Da'Rick Rogers, who finished the day with two catches for two touchdowns and 79 yards receiving, said that the Volunteers were flat and needed some motivation to really get going.
"We came out a little flat, sluggish on offense, we weren't very focused, but the second half we got screamed at a little bit and got our minds right," said Rogers.
Derek Dooley has continued to acknowledge that his young football team must learn to play out of a funk and Saturday was no different.
"In the second half, the good news is in the second half they responded with a little more energy, emotion and went on a couple of good scoring drives," Dooley said.
Dooley biggest disappointment had to be in the Volunteers running game, which saw senior tailback Tauren Poole run for just 21 yards on nine carries.
"I didn't expect to come out here and look like a championship-caliber football team," Dooley said. "I am not down at all. It is right about where I thought we were."
While Poole accounted for much disappointed, sophomore back Rajion Neal made some noise in the first scrimmage with 152 yards, 3 touchdowns and a long run of 69 yards.
"It definitely started up front with my o-line and then out there with my receivers, they helped me out a lot," said Neal. "You can't do anything without those guys, it is a team sport."
"I have to keep going, stay humble, go watch this film, take constructive criticism, just keep rolling and have fun."
Tyler Bray and the Tennessee passing attack struggled as well. Bray who accounted for 172 yards passing, three touchdowns and two interceptions said he didn't feel the day was terrible, but it certainly wasn't a success.
"The passing game is terrible – from an execution standpoint," Derek Dooley said. "That is usually the hardest thing to get. We had some dropped balls, we had a penalty and the quarterback wasn't as accurate as he normally is."
One thing is for certain, Dooley is glad the Vols are in the midst of spring football.
"The running game is non-existent. The kickers and punters were below average. I am glad it is April."
Stayed tuned for more from the Vols first scrimmage on InsideTennessee.
Rajion Neal 14-152-3-63
Tauren Poole 9-21-0-15
Tyler Bray 27-11-2-172-3-70
Matt Simms 7-4-0-62-0-42
Justin Hunter 3-44-1-15
Matt Milton 3-35-1-13
Mychal Rivera 3-23-0-9
Da'Rick Rogers 2-79-2-70
Vincent Dallas 2-43-0-42
Brent Brewer 6 tackles, 1 TFL (-3), 1 interception (4 yards), 1 PBU;
Malik Jackson 5 tackles, 3 tfls (-12, including 1 sack for -10), 1 qb hurry
Nigel Mitchell-Thornton 4 tackles, 2 sacks (-18), 1 interception (23 yards)
Rae Sykes 4 tackles, 1 sack (-10), 1 PBU
Justin Coleman 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Austin Johnson 4 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Jacques Smith 3 tackles, 1 TFL (-1), 1 QB hurry
Raiques Crump 3 tackles, 1 QB hurry
Dontavis Sapp 2 tackles, 1 sack (-9)
Steven Fowlkes 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-1)
Willie Bohannon 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 QB hurry
Art Evans 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Daryl Vereen 2 tackles
Prentiss Waggner 2 tackles
Anthony Anderson 1 tackle, 1 interception (81-yard TD), 1 PBU
Marlon Walls 2 PBUs.
Field Goal Leaders
Michael Palardy 3-of-4, long 42
Michael Palardy 3-41.0-44
Matt Darr 4-39.3-47.