Q&A with Derek Dooley, Part V

How does Tennessee diagnose what high school quarterback prospects to pursue? How do star ratings affect the type of player striding onto college campuses? Sign in or subscribe now to get the answers from Derek Dooley's sitdown with InsideTennessee.

An appointment weeks in advance, a code properly entered onto a keypad, several paces along a hallway that runs parallel to the sideline on the indoor football field below and two more doors to pass through and you're there.

The Tennessee head football coach doesn't have just a tremendous amount of time to sit down with reporters to answer over 30 minutes straight of unscripted questions.

When Derek Dooley does afford that time to news services, it allows readerships such as those at InsideTennessee to get a glimpse into one of the premier programs in the Southeastern Conference.

Keep reading to find answers in this installment of questions below:

IT: Are star ratings changing the type football player that you get signed and on campus?

Dooley: I think managing the expectations that we put on these guys is more difficult now than ever and it's really not fair to the kids. I have a quote: 'Life wouldn't be so difficult if we didn't expect it to be so easy.' We build up under the nature of our recruiting industry, we build up how great these players are and what an impact they're going to have on a program. Unfortunately, a lot of them start believing that and when they get here they realize it's tough. It's not what everybody wrote about over the last year. It's going to require a lot of work, a lot of discipline, a lot of perseverance and a lot of grit.

"I take a lot of pride in the job we've done in getting the quarterbacks that we have here."

Derek Dooley

So, making that jump from 'I'm here and I'm ready to change your program' to 'This is going to take a little work, effort and time,' that's a big jump. But, that's our job as coaches to do it.

IT: Did coach Jon Gruden get a chance to sit down with you or any of the Vols while he was here for the coaches clinic? What was the message?

Dooley: Yeah I did. I spent a little time with him, and I am going to go back to see him in June. When he was here we talked a good bit about offense, personnel and I wanted some more time on the head coach stuff. So I am going to go visit him in June.

He is an awesome ambassador for football, but what I respect so much about him is that he's got really the dynamic TV personality that everybody loves but he's a true ball guy. He really grinds on it. He knows football. He takes a lot of pride in his knowledge of football. He works at it. I have a lot of respect for him, and I am glad he's a part of Tennessee.

IT: At some schools like Ohio State the guys in the NFL that played there will come work out in the summers before OTAs with their pro teams. Can a current player and Shaun Ellis or Peyton Manning work out here?

Dooley: Yes and they do. They can work out with our team and of course there's always limits on what they can do. But, we always in encourage our NFL guys to come work out. I think it's a real healthy thing. When they see what good looks like, a good player who's got a tremendous work ethic and having success at the highest level, I think it's a good vision and picture for our team.

IT: How difficult is the process of evaluating a quarterback in terms of how to figure out the best guys to go after and gauging their ability to go through their progressions. Is that on Jim (Chaney)?

Dooley: Well I think the evaluation process of a quarterback needs to be more than watching 25 plays of film. It requires a lot of time and diligence where you're watching his game highlights and his game film to really determine all the issues. You're watching him in camp work out. You're watching him practice. You're talking to him in meetings.

So, it's a very diligent process that you have to be disciplined at and not jump to conclusions because there are no perfect quarterbacks. They all have fleas. You have got to make sure you feel like you have a good handle on identifying what the fleas are and then how is that going to fit in with your system.

I take a lot of pride in the job we've done in getting the quarterbacks that we have here. So, hopefully we will continue that trend because I feel like we have three really good ones and there's not many teams out there that can say that.

Dooley leads the team out from InsideTennessee on Vimeo.

Danny Parker is currently the Associate Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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