An "Inside" look at LA.Tech's Derek Dooley

Tennessee is looking for a young confident coach with charisma that has SEC experience. The Vols may have found their man in Ruston, Louisiana. Derek Dooley, the son of Georgia long time head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley, appears to be one of the leading candidates to replace Lane Kiffin as the next head coach at UT. Go "Inside" to get a closer look at perhaps the Vols next head man.

There is no doubt that the name Dooley is a name that SEC fans are familiar with.

Vince Dooley, the former long time head coach at the University of Georgia, is a coach and name a lot of Tennessee fans may still remember.

Enter Derek Dooley, a young motivated and driven head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Dooley spent time at SMU as the Mustangs recruiting coordinator, before working as the wide receiver coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU under Nick Saban.

According to Jason Jones, the Scout.com publisher of HerecometheDawgs.com, he isn't surprised that Dooley's name is being mentioned with the University of Tennessee recent vacancy.

"You knew this day was coming," Jones told InsideTennessee.com. "He got a lot of looks when Auburn and Mississippi State opened up last year. He has that charisma about him that you know he is going to be a big time coach in a big time conference before his career is over."

After going 5-7 his first season in Ruston, Bulldog fans were pleasantly shocked with the team's best record and a bowl win 8-5 in Dooley's second year at the helm.

While expectations were high this past year, Jones explained that luck wasn't on the Bulldog's side in 2009 with Louisiana Tech losing five ball games by less than 12 points combined.

"We lost a lot of seniors and knew this was going to be a young team," Jones explains. "We lost to LSU by 10 points; we had several games we could have won. The 4-8 record isn't indicative of Dooley or this team."

In fact Jones feels that the schedule is set up for Tech to win at least eight or nine ballgames in 2010 if Dooley in fact stays in Ruston.

"One thing I can say is that if Derek leaves for Tennessee, he has left this program in so much better shape than he found it," Jones said. "We will hate to lose him; he has done so much for this program."

What makes Dooley different than other Tech coaches in the past?

"He is a detail oriented program manager," Jones said. "He is very driven to succeed. He gets the most out of his players and coaches, he is so determined."

Jones is also impressed with Dooley's work ethic.

"He is a workaholic," Jones said. "He is always the first one at the coaches' offices and the last one to leave. You won't find many guys that will out work Coach Dooley."

Dooley has worked on the offensive side of the ball most of his life, but still loves to play great hard nose defense. It also appears that Dooley knows how to play SEC caliber football.

"Derek likes to control the line of scrimmage," Jones said. "He loves to run the ball down your throat. He wants to run first and pass off of the run. He wants his offensive lines to dominate their opponent."

Jones spoke of Dooley's charisma, but also is high on his character and demeanor.

"He is easy to get along with, especially when he is in his element," Jones said. "Our fan base wasn't dead when he got here but he has definitely waked it up a lot. He has given the players and the fans the confidence that we can compete against anyone. He has given that confidence back to this program."

Dooley has been on several impressive staffs. In 2003 when the LSU Tigers won the national championship he was on Saban's staff that consisted of Will Muschamp, Kirby Smart, and Jim Bo Fisher to name a few.

"It's not surprising that Will would recommend Derek for this job," Jones said. "He is well respected by a lot of big name coaches."

Did Dooley interview for the Tennessee position on Thursday?

"I can't confirm that 100 percent," Jones said. "I can tell you he was out of town yesterday. The rumors are swirling around Ruston that he was interviewing for the job, that's about all I can at this point."

A question every Volunteer fan wants to know about its next head coach is can he recruit?

According to Jones, recruiting won't be an issue with Dooley.

"When he first got here we were lucky to compete for instate kids against Monroe and Lafayette and Grambling," Jones said. "His second year we were competing against the schools in our conference. This season we are going up against the likes of Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. We will win some of those battles against the SEC this year."

The overall talent level of the Bulldog is already on the rise.

"It's phenomenal what he has done recruiting so far especially considering our facilities and our recruiting budget," Jones said. "He has taken our recruiting to a whole new level. He was the recruiting coordinator at LSU. He knows how to recruit at a high level. Again he won't allow his staff to be out worked or out recruited. Tennessee won't be disappointed."

Stay tuned to InsideTennessee.com for an "Inside" look at all the candidates that we feel that are in the final three or four to replace Lane Kiffin.


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