InsideTennessee.com got the opportunity to sit down one on one with Tennessee Head Football Coach Derek Dooley last Friday.
We got a chance to ask him about his recruiting philosophies and some important questions about the lack of commitments the Vols are currently faced with. Dooley was very upfront with his answers about several key situations.
Question: What is your general philosophy when it comes to recruiting? Do you like to take a longer time to evaluate? Do you not like offering as many prospects as some staffs might?
Answer: We are just as aggressive as anyone else is. At the end of the day what matters are the relationships that are built over time? If we want a player we also want that player to want us for the right reasons. That helps develop a strong lasting relationship and will help down the road if a player considers leaving the program etc. We want someone that wants to be here. I'm not into the quick sale. I'm not into sound bite recruiting. I'm into gathering information over time and relationships over time. When they commit to us I want it to mean something to them.
Question: Some Volunteer fans are concerned with the lack of commitments at this time of year, are you concerned? What would be a fair number of commitments that you would like going into fall camp?
Answer: I don't have a number. I could go get 25 commitments tomorrow, but it would be from guys that couldn't help us win in this league. The recruiting industry has created an overzealous exuberance with all schools fan bases when it comes to recruiting. What matters is what happens on signing day. It also matters how those players develop over the next four or five years. So to sit here on May 10 and to create hysteria is not something I'm going to do. It's not something I'm going to fall for. I could go in there and get two commitments today from a couple of prospects to make it look like we are falling in line with everyone else. That's not good for our program. I'm concerned with doing a diligent evaluation of each prospect. I want us to be aggressive in selling our program and getting the right kind of player for our program that is going to help us win championships at the University of Tennessee. When you're in your first year at program you are going to be behind in recruiting. Just like the staff that was here was last year. It's going to take a couple of years to build those relationships with the high schools and the prospects.
Question: How important are summer camps to your football program here at Tennessee?
Answer: They are very important. What goes with summer camps is it is critical to get prospects on your campus before the season begins. To see what our culture is all about here and to see what our coaching is all about. It gives them an opportunity to see how we coach and how we teach the game of football. That is what going to help get us players here at Tennessee.
Question: After taking time after spring football to evaluate each position on your football team, what is the biggest need area in this 2011 recruiting class to help improve the talent level on this team?
Answer: There is not an area on our team that we don't need improvement in. There isn't a position that we don't have a critical need to improve the talent level at. We aren't going to be able to solve this problem in just one recruiting class. I would love to sign 40 in this next class, but we are only allowed 25. We will go into fall camp with 75 scholarship players. We have a serious depth issue. There isn't a position on this team that isn't affected. There isn't one position that needs more attention than any other. They all need it.