One thing definite, Dooley is different

There were obviously a few things clear after Derek Dooley's first press conference on Wednesday since the day he was hired. The first thing that was obvious was the fact that there is a new sheriff in town running the Vols Football Program. While cordial at times, the similarities between him and Nick Saban also shined through several times. Go "Inside" to get our thoughts on today's presser.

There were obviously a few things clear after Derek Dooley's first press conference on Wednesday since the day he was hired.

The first thing that was obvious was the fact that there is a new sheriff in town running the Vols Football Program.

Secondly Dooley, who has avoided the media for the last few months since that opening press conference on January 15, showed he can get along with almost everybody with a funny candid demeanor.

The third obvious thing is that Dooley is going to run his ship a lot tighter than anyone has ever has in Knoxville. He is going to do things the Saban way, now his biggest task is to do what Saban has done at Alabama, win a national championship or a conference championship in his first three years while coaching the Crimson Tide.

Dooley isn't about promoting himself, unlike last year's head coach, he more about promoting his team, worrying about the important things as X's and O's instead of making numerous highlight reels on ESPN.

He will get to do things his way as long as he can prove that his way can win ballgames.

Let this team go 4-8 and 3-9 his first season and see what happens.

His approach with the media and the Vol fans will only work if he wins, if he doesn't, those who are being shut out from being a part of the everyday program operations, won't cut him much slack.

That's why some coaches try to make friends with the media and fans and give them open access to their program. That approach doesn't always work out either. In this game and especially in the SEC only one things matters, and that is wins and losses.

All scrimmages in the spring and fall will be close to fans and the media, the new head coach considers them practices.

Members of the media will get to attend the first few minutes of each day's practice in the spring, then they will be asked to leave and return to practice after its over. Pretty similar to last year's policy. Anyone who is at practice, including invited guest (big money donors) will not be allowed to talk on their cell phones, text message anyone or talk about any injuries while they are attending a practice.

Dooley said this about his injury policy.

"It's hard to tell about a injury," Dooley explained. "I'm not a doctor. I don't know how a player will respond to rehab or how he might be out. So there are two categories as far as I'm concerned when discussing injuries. He is either questionable or he is out for the game. I won't be giving daily reports on who is banged up etc."

Dooley was very cordial at times with the members of the press, seemed very agitated at times at several questions regarding former players being welcomed by him and his coaching staff around the program.

Dooley did make it clear that he welcomes all former lettermen and former Vol players to his program, perhaps even to his house, but not without doing one thing first.

"All we are asking the former guys to do is to pick up the phone first and tell us they are coming," Dooley explained. "I have a great relationship with my brother that lives in Athens. I love when he comes to visit, but I do expect him to call first before just showing up and walking through my door."

It appears that there was a mis-communication with some former players over the last few weeks, when one former player felt slighted by Dooley and his staff when they were asked to leave the indoor practice facility during an off season conditioning session.

"Things have been taken out of context," Dooley stated. "I never said these guys aren't welcomed. I'm new, I didn't know who some folks were, I just want them to be courteous to us and let us know they are coming. It' just takes one phone call."

Dooley also made it clear that his policy only pertained to practice and workout sessions.

"They are part of our family," Dooley said. "I don't have an issue if they are working out or seeing the trainer. I just want to know at all times who is in the building while we are conditioning and working out."

One of the positive things this writer saw from today's press conference is how much Dooley appears to care about his team and how focused he is to run his program how he sees fit.

Instead of it being all about himself, it appears to be more about the overall health and direction of his entire program.

Every head coach deserves to do things his way.

Does that mean Dooley's way is wrong, no it just means it's a lot different and will take some getting use to.

Closed practices aren't something new or something Dooley invented. It's a normal practice at a lot of the top programs.

It's just a lot different from a coach last year yelling from the roof top saying look at me, look at me, look at what I'm going to do here for your football program.

Now you have a guy that is focus on doing things his way, a way that has worked for programs he has been involved in.

Only time will tell if it works or not, but until then we should let him give it the ole college try. He earned that right when he was named the Head Coach at the University of Tennessee.


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