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July 23, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We will continue by welcoming the new head coach of Tennessee, Derek Dooley. Coach, welcome.
COACH DOOLEY: Thank you for being here. I'll start by saying it really is an honor and a privilege to be standing here representing the University of Tennessee. I also want to thank you for the coverage you do for our program and for our league. I've been in places where we don't get that kind of coverage. In fact, I was joking with one of the Ruston media today that I used to call to try to get interviewed to promote our program. So I appreciate all you guys do for college football and the University of Tennessee.
It's certainly been a tough couple of years for our fans. This is a program since General Neyland came on campus, the winningest program in college football. So this is a group of fans that are used to winning and they're also used to stability. You look at the tenures and job that Coach Majors did, Coach Fulmer did. We have a fan base that likes stability and they like winning.
We come in at that time where I thought it was very important to evaluate all of our structures, everything we did. And we've done that. Whether it pertains to recruiting, how we evaluate players, what we're looking for, how to recruit 'em, how we support 'em when they come on campus, our academic accountability, how we support 'em off the field in their personal growth.
We've begun implementing our structures in all those areas, and a lot of change in all those areas, that I feel like will pay grade dividends to reestablish the things that made this program so great.
So I'm proud of where we're headed. We certainly have had our bumps along the way and we'll continue to have our bumps along the way. But anytime you had the transition that we've had at the head coaching level - three in three years - you're naturally going to have more attrition than you normally would have and you're naturally probably not going to have the kind of recruiting classes you can have with stability.
So we head into the season with a lot of youth and a lot of inexperience at a lot of positions. But I feel really good about the young talent that we have on our team. I really feel good about the senior leadership that we have. So I'm excited as we get ready for training camp one week from now, looking forward to what the future's going to hold.
With that, I'll let you guys open it up for questions.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You're the third head coach in as many years. Can you talk about how the PR efforts of your lovely mother have helped you? And is she here?
COACH DOOLEY: Opening question is about my mother. Doesn't matter where I go, that's the question I get (laughter). She's become an icon in the state of Tennessee, so much that I had to kind of try to temper her back a little bit. As you know, that's impossible.
You know, there's a lot of questions, and I'm amazed at how interested people are in what my parents are going to wear, the colors they're going to wear. She made no bones about it in Atlanta at a "Big Orange" caravan event, walking in with an orange boa.
So she's certainly a great personality. Everybody loves her because she subscribes to the theory speak first, think second, the exact opposite of my dad. So hopefully I try to take that little portion of my dad - think first, speak second. But I do have a lot of her in me, too.
I've been blessed to have someone as special as she.
Q. How are you enjoying the City of Knoxville, all that good stuff? Has your dad picked out any orange shirts yet?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, Knoxville has been great. This has been the best transition our family's ever had. It starts with the people in Knoxville. They've just been incredible. So gracious, so welcoming. It's certainly a part of the country that I came from. I feel like I'm at home. I do. I hope I'm able to be there for a long time.
And the Tennessee fans have been great. I'm just amazed at the spirit and the openness they've had of accepting a third new head coach in such a short time. So we couldn't be more pleased about the transition.
You know, it's funny because it's a classic case of expectations. Everybody's wanting to know what are my parents going to wear, what color. My mother shows up in orange. The next question is, When is your dad going to do it?
Nothing is ever good enough. Give me some time. We'll get them in orange. I'm sure right now he's thinking a little bit of orange.
Q. Can you just talk about the quick, decisive moves you made after the bar fight and the message you sent? Some of your predecessors, would, you know, second and third chances. Basically you put the hammer down. Talk about the message you were sending.
COACH DOOLEY: I didn't really act to try to send a message. I did what I thought was the responsible thing to do as the head football coach. The first thing was to quickly get back to town. I was out of town at the time. Get my arms around what happened. I spent several hours talking to everybody who was at the site, try to gather as much information as I could. I felt like it was important to make some swift decisions based on the information that I had.
It's certainly not the call you like to have. Anybody that's been a head football coach understands those things are going to happen. When it does happen, I think it's important to be quick. I think it's important to be consistent. I think it's important to make the decisions relative to the information that you have. And I did that.
Since that time, you know, all we're doing now is kind of waiting for any other legal proceedings to carry on. Until we get some resolution on that, that's where we are at this moment.
Q. Here at Media Days, Commissioner Slive and Coach Meyer of Florida talked about how glad they are to see a person of character at Tennessee now. Personally, how have you been welcomed by other people in the conference?
COACH DOOLEY: I've been real appreciative of how welcomed I have been by the commissioner. I had known the commissioner before I took the job. I have a lot of respect for the job he's done. But I've also had a tremendous amount of respect for the coaches in this league. They were very gracious in our meetings.
You know, it feels good to be welcomed, I guess. But at the same time, that's not gonna win you any football games. It's certainly not gonna help you stay at Tennessee.
I think you can have a good professional relationship and a warm relationship with your competitors. I expect to do that with all the coaches in our league.
Q. When you accepted the job at the University of Tennessee, had a chance to visit with your father, what kind of advice did he give you? He was such a legacy in the SEC for many years. Now you're coming in to be a head coach at the best conference in the country, particularly at a program that has a lot of notoriety.
COACH DOOLEY: Those of you that know my father know that he really wasn't one of those fathers that was in your day-to-day life. He felt like it was important, you go out, you make your mistakes, you learn from your mistakes, you grow as a man and as a professional.
But I will say there was a little bit of change when I got this job. Sometimes I felt like I was that 11-year-old boy playing little league whose dad was right on him. But I think it's because he understands the nature of this job. He understands how critical some decisions you have to make, especially early on, can impact this job. He understands the pressures of the job and the magnitude of it.
He's been very supportive and he always will be, but not intrusive. He never will be. I would be a fool if I didn't reach out to him, someone who has had the success that he's had. Certainly I've done that and I'll continue to do that. But at the end of the day, I'll continue to shape the program that fits my personality.
Q. You mentioned last year, after Louisiana Tech played LSU, that sometimes your players at your program would kind of play in awe at bigger programs. Talk about the change going from a smaller school to an already established program at Tennessee.
COACH DOOLEY: You said some of our players were what?
Q. You mentioned sometimes your players would play in awe of bigger teams.
COACH DOOLEY: Play in awe, yeah. We did have that problem, especially the first couple years at Louisiana Tech. It's a really different circumstance there. We played LSU our first year. We got embarrassed. I felt like we didn't compete. I was disappointed. We went back two years later, and I felt like we competed really well. At the end of the day they overwhelmed us, they had a good football team, good coaches.
But I hope that we don't have that problem at Tennessee. I don't expect that. What I'm more concerned about is really the intangible values of how we compete. That's what I was saying at Louisiana Tech. It's no different at any program you're at. You want them to play with great effort, great discipline, team spirit, great toughness. That's always going to be the starting point that's going to lay a foundation for how you compete. If you don't do those things, you really have no chance at any level.
Q. What kind of relationship do you still have with Nick Saban? What is that going to be like when you're on the opposite side this year?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, I have a great relationship with Nick, professionally and personally, anytime you've worked with somebody for seven years. And he really gave me a lot of opportunity as a young coach to blossom, to wear a lot of hats. He had a very big impact on my development as a young coach. I'll always be appreciative of that. He gave me a great opportunity.
We've developed a great personal relationship, as well. I spent some time with him at the lake this summer. I've reached out to him on several occasions on the phone. I expect us to continue that relationship, despite the competitive element that's going to be there every fall.
It's no different than playing your friends in backyard basketball. Nobody wants to win more than either one of you, but at the end of the day you have a lot of respect for each other, professionally and personally.
Q. After the bar incident, you used the phrase 'a change in culture.' What is it you wanted to change?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, certainly our image is not where we want it to be now. You said, What is our image? It's hard to define what it is publicly, okay? All I know is whether you have two incidents, four incidents, five incidents, either way, you don't want any incidents in your program.
It's important to do a lot of things internally to try to minimize the risk of those incidents. It starts with the head coach laying an expectation of how we're going to represent the institution. But as we all know, that's only a starting point. I think from there, there's a tremendous educational component that goes with it, of teaching young people right, wrong, how to act, good choices, consequences of choices.
Then certainly there's a support and discipline component that comes with it when there are mistakes. And that's never gonna change.
Now, we have begun a new structure. We call it the VFL. Everybody wants to play in the NFL, but we want to be a 'Vol For Life.' We want to turn professional as men. And the program is centered around several components: character education is one of them, there's a life skills component, there's a community service component, spiritual growth component, career development component. And I think over the course of two, three, four years, you'll really see tremendous change in how we're going to help our young people.
I think it's an important part, because, you know, we put so much emphasis on football, we put so much emphasis on academic support, as which we should. But there's a little area out there that sometimes we neglect. We talk it, but what are we doing structurally to really emphasize what we're saying?
That's your personal growth as a man. I always say, this is a critical time in a young man's life. You're leaving home for the first time. There's a lot of things out in the world there that you're not ready to take on. It can knock you off track. If you don't have a lot of guidance along the way, you're going to fall pretty hard.
Look, I know this because I was raised by two of the best parents any young person could ever have. Christian people. Taught you right from wrong. But I had the same issues that every young person has. We got a lot of bullet-proof issues. We got a lot of entitlement issues that we have to work through. So I needed this program as much as anybody.
I have two young boys who I know will need it when they get to 18 to 22 years old. So I just take a lot of responsibility as a coach to develop that part of it.
Now, at the end of the day, I know what the job's going to get measured on: the success we have on Saturdays. But I also feel like we have a tremendous chance to impact their lives and we're going to work hard to do it.
Q. Can you talk about your offensive philosophy. With so many offenses in college football going to a spread, what do you think the next trend for offense in college football is?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, I'm not here to predict the next trend. I do think that every year you have to constantly evaluate where you are, where the game is changing. You got to keep up.
I would say I'm a little bit of the traditional pro-style mode, if you will. I know you have to run the football to be successful on offense, but I also know you have to be multiple. In today's game, to win, you really have to be good at everything.
The old days of run it to win or throw it to win, I think you have to be good at everything. The defenses are so good, the coaching is so good, they can take away from you if you're not. That doesn't mean you have to be great at everything, but you got to be able to run it, play-action it, spread out, drop back and throw it, and you got to not turn the ball over.
We're going to put in our system. Then you got to build your system around your players, because every player's unique. Some years you have great runners. Some years your wide-outs are your strength. Some years your quarterback is your strength. So if you can find what the players can do, shape the offense around them, give them a chance to win the game and score points, I think that's what we're going to head.
Q. How does your past as a lawyer help you as a head coach now?
COACH DOOLEY: I don't know (laughter). I don't have to bill time, thank goodness.
You know, let me just phrase it in the terms of education. Education is important. You know, whether you go to law school, medical school, or any other graduate program, I think anytime you stretch your mind and allow it to grow, it helps you in problem solving. It helps you to think through multiple issues. It helps you to multi-task things.
I can't really put a handle on specifically how it helps me, other than I am able to read the NCAA manual and understand it the first time, because it was clearly written by lawyers when you read the language.
And because of that, it's created a lot of confusion. You know, I always think if just football coaches sat down and wrote out the rules, it would be a lot simpler. But that's now how we do things.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Coach Saban, did a great job of building LSU and Alabama, two states that produce a lot of talent. Is rebuilding at Tennessee tougher because you don't have as many SEC players within your state as Alabama and Louisiana?
COACH DOOLEY: That's a good question. It goes to recruiting.
Certainly at both of those places, they're gonna sign a lot more players from in-state. But I do think there's a tremendous, unique perspective in recruiting that we have that none of the other institutions have. We border eight states at Tennessee. I really consider, you take about three to five hours around Knoxville, there is a tremendous amount of talent all the way around at every state.
So even though a lot of people say we don't have a great number of recruiting base, I don't really see it that way. I mean, we can drive three hours down the road and there's a multitude of players.
Does it create challenges that it's not your home state? Of course, it does. But there's also a special uniqueness that Tennessee has because of that.
I've always, from the outside, admired the passion of the former players at Tennessee. It's incredible how much they love the place, how they come back. I don't think there's very many programs out there that have former players do that. And I think it's because of our geographic location that we're able to pull players from so many different places. That when they come to Tennessee, they truly leave home, they unpack their bags, they form new relationships, form special bonds that last forever. So I consider it a real strength.
Q. In what shape did your predecessor leave the program, in your opinion?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, I don't really know, 'cause I don't know how it was before he got there. All I can do is see where we are now and where we need to go. So I've never really looked back. You know, I wasn't here to analyze what Coach Fulmer did or what Lane did. That wasn't what my job was.
My job was to see where we are, what we need to do to get back what Tennessee fans expect and our university expects, and that's all we've done.
Q. Have any of your fellow coaches thanked you for not being Lane Kiffin or not being anything like him?
COACH DOOLEY: No, no. I mean, how do you answer a question like that (smiling)? Y'all are just waiting for me to say something, I guess. Let's go on to the next one.
Q. You mentioned that your dad has gotten a little more involved, giving you more feedback since you got this job. What has been the nature of that feedback? What has he told you?
COACH DOOLEY: What's been the nature of the feedback? Well, it really depends on the issue.
I will say the first couple of weeks on the job, he'd call me and he'd say, Do you know who so-and-so is?
I'd say, No, I don't know who that is.
What do you mean you don't know who that is? He was all conference in 1962.
I said, Dad, I don't even know who my defensive end is, give me a chance.
He's all-consumed Tennessee, but that's how he does things. He gets so into it. He's learning the geography of the state, the political history of the state, the great Civil War battles of the state, what's the motto of the state, the history of winning, all the coaches, the records. That's what he's doing.
So he's a tremendous resource. But his perspective has been very valuable, it really has.
Certainly where I use him the most is when you have to make tough decisions, which you do all the time. We saw it this summer. He was very valuable in his input. Like I said here, he was running an organization for 40 years as a leader, and very successful. He's a tremendous resource for me. That doesn't mean I go do what he says all the time, but it's certainly some valuable feedback that I get.
Q. Probably for the first time since the SEC went to divisions, Tennessee has been picked to finish fifth in the east by the media. Is that a fair assessment?
COACH DOOLEY: I don't know. Here's what I do know about pre-season polls. Generally, it's based on how you performed last year and who you have coming back next year. None of us really predict who the new faces are. As a matter of fact, we have a ton of new faces. We don't know if they're great players of the SEC, good players or bad players. Naturally, we're not going to be picked high. I don't expect to be picked high.
I think the pre-season polls are great fodder to get the season going and the fans excited. As long as you know what they're based on, it really allows it to keep it in perspective.
Q. You left a secure job in the law to go to something I'm assuming you were more interested in pursuing.
COACH DOOLEY: Secure job? You are out of your mind if you think it's secure.
Q. It's more secure than sports. What was your parents' reaction when you told them, after going to law school, that you were going to leave after a couple years of practicing, to become a coach?
COACH DOOLEY: My mother was devastated for my wife, just was stunned, couldn't believe I would do it. My father tried to act like he was surprised, but he understood. I think he was really making sure it wasn't just because I was unhappy at my job.
Every job gets tough. You always go through times where it gets tough, Do I really want to do this?
I put a lot of thought into it over a long time. He knew it. How could he argue? He did it for his whole life.
But once I made the decision, the same way with my incredibly supportive and lovely wife, Allison, who was just as stunned. The support since that time has been just incredible, overwhelming, and I wouldn't be here without it.
Q. Would you talk a little bit about your quarterbacks and what the strengths of them are, the two of 'em particularly.
COACH DOOLEY: Well, start with Matt Simms. He came out of spring as our quarterback. Matt is very mature physically. I think he is matured incredibly emotionally over his experiences the few years before he got to Tennessee. He's got a good presence and command about him and leadership qualities. Very strong arm.
Tyler Bray is a tall high school talented midyear enrollee. Because he's just a lot younger, the adjustment is going to take a little more time.
Now, at the end of the day, neither of them have performed the way I know they're capable of performing because of the newness. They were thrown right into the fire. They have to grow up quickly. They have to learn the offense quickly. They have to gel with the players on the team quickly.
So it will be fun to watch both of their progress. I think both of 'em are extremely talented. They have a great future.
Then, of course, we have Nash Nance that came in who just came to campus this summer who also fits that bill.
All I can say is 'work in progress.' They're young, they're new, and we'll see where it all takes it.
Q. A lot of people point to Tennessee having three head coaches in the last three years and all those different voices the players are having to listen to. How truly challenging is that for the players or is that just an overrated, outside excuse?
COACH DOOLEY: It's not an excuse. Let's don't use that word. But players do -- in many ways, teams adopt the personality of their coach. I mean, they do. We've seen it forever in sports. So our players have had three different personalities. We got a little Sybil in us right now.
But young people are very resilient. They change, adjust quicker than all of us. Give them credit for. At the end of the day, somebody asked me, Are they buying in?
I love that term, a classic sports term, 'buying in.' At the end of the day, we won't know how they're adjusting until we hit some adversity.
Now, we hit some adversity off the field, and they adjusted great. They believe in what we're saying, they believe in how we want to represent this place, but we're going to hit some adversity in the fall, too. That's when we're going to find out where we are as a program and how much we've embraced the new way of doing things.
I have every expectation that they're going to change and be a reflection of what my personality is and what our expectations are. I have no doubts in my mind they'll do that.
Q. Given all the challenges you face, how significant is it to have players like Chris Walker, Nick Reveiz?
COACH DOOLEY: I mention that we do have a really great group of seniors. When I take over this many program, I'm not one of those guys that say, I sign these guys, they're my guys. To me, they're all ours.
Chris Walker is no different to me than any freshman that we're bringing in that we signed on signing day.
Now, great seniors, great people, good players. What does that mean? Well, first of all, we need them to play well. Because we have a lot of youth around them, we certainly need our veterans who have experience to play well next year. But more than anything, we need them to affect others in a positive way and affect them to play better and act better.
I'll reference what happened this summer. I blamed Nick Reveiz as much as the guys who made bad decisions out there. When you have good players on the team, the players on the team set the tone in the locker room. Just because you represent this place well, it's your responsibility to make sure everybody does.
I think when we make that jump as a team, that's when we'll begin to make some serious changes.
Q. Obviously, you have the relationship with your dad and with Coach Saban. What are some things that you yourself have learned on your own, some character traits of your coaching style that may be different from both of them? As far as changing the culture of Tennessee football, what are some things that you'd like to see in the future, particularly immediately this season in terms of getting them to buy in?
COACH DOOLEY: Well, let me start by saying that Nick and my father are not the only two coaches who have influenced me. I mean, I've been so blessed to be around great football coaches and good people, starting with my high school coach Billy Henderson, who probably had as big an impact on my coaching style as anybody right when I took the job. Just an incredible way with people.
Then Jim Donnan gave me my first opportunity as a graduate assistant. I learned just a tremendous amount from him. He was incredibly successful. Mike Cavan gave me my first full-time job at SMU. Learned so much from him. I've also learned from all the assistants that I've been blessed to be around. I've been around a lot of 'em.
I was seven years with Nick. Been around a lot of assistants. You learn something good from every coach, and you also always learn some things that maybe that's not the way to do it. Then at the end of the day, you tie it all in with your personality. I've been real fortunate to be around so much.
Your next question is about what we expect to see this fall?
Q. Immediate changes.
COACH DOOLEY: Well, it's hard to have a lot of immediate change. When you're talking about changing of how you're representing a place, it takes time. What I want to see this fall is how we compete for 60 minutes for 12 games. There's nothing more important to me than that, that we go out there and we're a fun team to watch, by the spirit we play with, by how we're not affected by any adversity that happens in the game. And that we go represent with the kind of intangible values that form the basis of our program.
Q. Alabama and Florida have dominated in recent years, not only the SEC scene, but the national scene. How difficult is it, from what you've seen and know about this conference, for other teams to not only catch them, but pass programs like that?
COACH DOOLEY: Yeah, well, first of all, the national scene is really irrelevant, because when you dominate this league, you're going to be on the national scene. So that doesn't make it any more challenging because they're dominating on the national scene. This league to me is the standard of excellence in college football.
Every time there's a program that's dominating in a certain time, everybody thinks, Oh, my God, nobody can catch 'em. But over time, teams do.
What we can't do is sit there and go, Florida and Alabama are winning right now. Oh, my God, we got to do what they do.
We're not gonna do that. We feel like we have a formula that's gonna be successful in this program, and we got to keep our focus on what we do, because if we're worried about what they're doing at Alabama and we're worried about what they're doing at Florida, we're not paying attention to what we're doing.
We got to worry about ourselves first. I think that's when you can be able to compete at that level.
Q. What is the Georgia game going to mean to you this year?
COACH DOOLEY: The Georgia game? It means we're going to play a quality SEC opponent, a great coaching staff on the road. That's a tough thing to do in this league.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for everything they've done at Georgia, and they're doing at Georgia, and I always will. I did leave Georgia when I was 18 years old. People somehow forget that. I've had a lot of teams that I've bled blood, sweat, and tears since then. I know for a lot of people, they are trying to make that game a little more nostalgic or personal than it is. Certainly, I have friends at Georgia, but I have friends at LSU and other programs around, at Alabama. So that's just kind of how the SEC is.
But it's, to me, going to be no different than any other tough SEC road game. It's going to be a tremendous challenge.
Q. Your team at LA Tech, LSU, do you think you have some advantage, recruiting-wise, that you can recruit for Tennessee?
COACH DOOLEY: I'm not sure that's a huge advantage. We're a little further away, Louisiana. I still believe that the heart of your program has to be local. It has to be from that three- to five-hour radius drive from Knoxville. Louisiana is a little further.
That doesn't mean we're not going to recruit Louisiana. It doesn't mean that if there's an interest from a player down there coming to our program that we're not going to be aggressive.
But at the end of the day, really our recruiting success I think is going to be defined more locally.
Q. How concerned are you with the agent issue and the things that you'll do to educate your players?
COACH DOOLEY: I'm always concerned. I'm not any more concerned about that than I am about every temptation, every bad thing that's out there in society that can allow a player to make a bad decision. At the end of the day, it really is no different. You have a drug dealer and you have a decision to buy from a drug dealer and do drugs. It's a behavioral issue.
All right, now, how do you stop it? First of all, it starts with education, which we're doing and going to continue to do a great job. We've hired Joe Mendes the same way as many of the other coaches in this league have. We have a whole NFL agent education program that we've implemented.
But at the end of the day, it's the responsibility of the player to not take it. And I don't know any other way to put it. You know, it's a responsibility of the player, that if somebody comes up and confronts you in public and wants to fight you, to walk away. It's a responsibility of the player not to break the law. So it's a responsibility of the player not to break the rules of the NCAA.
It's no different than coaches going out recruiting. I mean, I really believe that. What a lot of those agents are doing is no different than what our coaches do: they're trying to get a player to come to their program. There's boundaries when you do that.
Now you're always in that little gray area: Do I cross the line? Every profession has that. That's when you've got to dig deep into your core and make a good decision.
Let me tell you, along the way, I've made plenty of bad decisions. We're human. There's bad things out there. It's been that way since the Bible.
Now, the trick is learning, growing, maturing, figuring it all out. And that takes time. So I think it's a responsibility on everybody's part to do that: the agent's part, the player's part.
Q. In all seriousness, was there anything you did like about the way Lane Kiffin handled your job?
COACH DOOLEY: That I did like? I didn't evaluate the job Lane did, so I don't know. All I know is I got to Tennessee, Here's the situation, Here's the roster, How do we move forward?
So I didn't have time to analyze all the decisions that the prior coaching staffs made. I don't know any other way to say it, you know.
I just said, What's our job here? Here's the issues. We got these problems personnel-wise. We have these problems structure-wise. Every program you inherit, you have challenges. Doesn't matter who the predecessor is, you have challenges. There's no perfect programs out there that just run like this.
It's tough. It's challenging. There's a lot of things that can always pull your program off track. That's your job, to keep it moving in the right direction.
Q. Was there anything that he had in place or had instituted that you said, That's a good idea, something I want to keep?
COACH DOOLEY: Structurally, we've made a lot of changes. That's not to say that how it was before wasn't right; it's just what I felt comfortable doing. So we've changed really most things. But that's not because I think how they were doing it before was wrong. It's just I have a lot of conviction in how I do things.
So the changes that we made are not because we've analyzed the past and I said, That's absurd.
It's because I'm more comfortable doing it this way, I know this works, and I believe in it.
Q. You mentioned all the changes you made already. Do you feel like you've done everything you could do up to this point or do you feel like you need more time still, you wish you had more time?
COACH DOOLEY: No, I have not done everything I need to do. In fact, you always look back, and there's several things you would have done differently, you would have handled it differently. I think that's always going to be the case.
We have a lot more to do, and we're gonna do it. I wish I could snap my fingers and everything's in place, but it just doesn't work that way. It takes time. It takes staying the course. It takes not letting some of the external forces pull you off and start putting doubt in what you're doing. And that's what we're going to do.
Q. The haze of the evening at the bar at Knoxville, how difficult has it been for you to determine what actually happened with the number of players involved in that, especially to Da'Rick Rogers, a guy that was arrested? Have you been able to determine his level of involvement in that?
COACH DOOLEY: It was very easy to determine what happened because I talked to every player individually, all right? They have been incredibly honest, incredibly forthright with what they did, what happened, what they did wrong, the poor judgment they used, and the good things that happened. I've made the decisions based on that.
Nothing since that time has come out that's been any different or anything inconsistent with what every single player has told me. In fact, any doubt that I had that day when I was talking to 'em has all been removed since that time, especially as the investigation continues.
I treated the Da'Rick situation no different than how I treated Marlon Walls and how I treated Greg King and how I treated some of the other guys. I made a decision of how they handled it, the judgment they used, and then we made decisions internally based on that. Unless anything else comes out, that's the course we're taking.
Q. Have you spoken at all with Kiffin? When you reached out to both Phillip and John, what kind of input did you get from them?
COACH DOOLEY: No, I haven't spoken with Lane. It's just 'cause I don't know him. So it's not anything more than that.
I did reach out to Coach Majors and I did reach out to Coach Fulmer because I have just an incredible amount of respect for what they mean to the University of Tennessee. I have an incredible amount of respect for the job that they've done at the University of Tennessee. I would be an absolute fool if I didn't reach out to them and get their input on many things.
Of course, I had Coach Majors actually come clinic our staff on some of the great history and traditions. If y'all know Coach Majors, we had to put a time limit on it because he could have talked forever.
Then I reached out to Coach Fulmer, who I know is in many ways still in a painful state, and I understand. I told him that, I understood, because it was a difficult time in Tennessee.
I also told Coach Fulmer that he's a part of the great tradition here. He'll always be a Tennessee Volunteer. As that pain goes away over time, I hope he'll come back. He already started that process, I believe that. I just have a tremendous respect for both of them. They represent Tennessee the right way. They won an incredible amount of games and they'll always be a part of our program.
Appreciate you guys coming. Thank you again for the coverage you give our program. We'll make sure we do our part so the coverage is always positive.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
End of FastScripts