Tennessee fans are still getting to know Vols Head Coach Derek Dooley.
We at InsideTennessee.com decided to go behind the scenes to get an "Inside" look at the new head man of the Vols. We go one-on-one with Ruston Daily Leader Sports Editor Buddy Davis to get his thoughts of what Dooley meant to the Louisiana Tech football program.
In a two-part series we do a question-and-answer feature with someone who knows Dooley better than most. Davis developed a great working relationship with Dooley and took time out of his busy schedule to share with Volunteer fans his thoughts on the Vols new head coach.
Question: Is Derek Dooley a good play caller?
Answer: I think overall he is and will continue to get better. Refer back to No. 6 answer. I am sure he'll leave so much of that to his coordinators at Tennessee.
Question: What kind of offense can Tennessee fans expect to see this fall?
Answer: Probably a grind-it-out type of attack with bits and pieces of passing. DD is big on establishing a strong run game first and I would think that's what Tennessee fans can look for.
Question: What do his past players think of him? Were LaTech players glad to see him leave or hated to see him go?
Answer: Overall, the vast majority of Tech players had Dooley's back. Oh, there were some probably doing cartwheels of him leaving, but that would probably be the case had Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry or George Allen suddenly appeared. The many guys I've interviewed the last three years had a lot of respect for what he was doing and really bought into Dooley's quest for showing up on time, wearing proper attire to media luncheons/press conferences, getting out into community, etc.
Question: What kind of recruiter is he?
Answer: Recruiting is his strongest suit, I believe. First of all, he's got Hollywood good looks (tell him that for me) and is the second consecutive Tech head coach who could probably appear on the cover of GQ (following Jack Bicknell, whom we often kidded as being the "hunk of the WAC")Seriously, though, having been a lawyer doesn't hamper his communicative skills and he's passionate about what he believes in. In two to three years, I believe the Vols' fans will really see his impact in this area.
Question: Does he delegate as head coach or is he someone who wants complete control of his program?
Answer: I think DD likes to control as much as possible of things. He delegates, but when all is said and done, he prefers a final stamp on things. That was my observation.
Question: Please describe in detail your thoughts of Derek Dooley as a head coach.
Answer: I believe, in time, he can become a good head coach in the SEC. I think he's still two to three years away maybe, because we are talking about the "NFL of college football." He's going from WAC to SEC. Nothing against the WAC, but simple history and success tells you this is a huge step up. He'll have to adjust and he will.
I've said this numerous times to other media guys from Knoxville: Don't sell DD short. The guy is sharp, organized, totally focused and hell-bent to do well. He loves being a football coach. He isn't going to settle for being just another son of a famous legendary college coach. He wants to establish an identity of his own and be known as Derek Dooley, successful SEC head coach and not just son of Vince Dooley.
Question: What is his major challenge at the SEC level?
Answer: Major challenge in the SEC for DD? Easy: Being able to swim in the tough recruiting waters and living up to the expectations, usually short on patience, of fans in the conference.