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No John... There are rules to recruiting. Dooley and his staff get a FIXED number of high school visits and can have a FIXED number of people back on campus. The coach at UT has always (due to the supposed lack of players in TN) ALWAYS had to have those visits occur half way around the country (which yes, does drive up that price) but that has NOTHING to do with Kiffin or Fat Phil... It has to do with Tennessee. The UT coach will max out those visits every year...MAYBE Saban doesn't, but he's in a unique place. I can assure you Muschamp, Chizik, Richt and your golden boy at Vandy are, however. Chizik and Dooley are taking the same number of trips. You are flat wrong to suggest otherwise. Dooley's just cost more.....And Dooley will be taking his max trips long after he rebuilds his roster to 85.


And speaking of TN, Dooley is actually starting to pluck players out of there. Expect this year's class to be 30%-40% UT kids. There have always been more good players than TN got credit for. If guys like Reveiz,  Kerbyson, Crowder, Downs and Young continue to pan out. Recruiting won't be so hard in Knoxville anymore, anyway...

2 years, 10 months ago on SEC Football Recruiting Budgets


Your conclusion on Tennessee makes zero sense, Mr. Pennington sir.... If Rivals is correct, Tennessee signed approx 27 players in 2010 and 21 last year. So they signed 49 people. COULD have signed up to 54, with back counts. So while it is true that Kiffin and Dooley had to run off a lot of Fulmer's crap, TN did not go out and sign more recruits than anyone else in the league after going through that. And had they run NO ONE off, I can assure you that Dooley would have taken just as many visits, had just as many players come in, and bought just as much video and scouting footage as he will this year or next. They all do the same amount (all out) regardless.... It's just that in Knoxville, you correctly point out, its a plane trip and rental car to Chicago or Baltimore to see a recruit when all Nick Saban has to do is drive up to Birmingham or for Richt down to Atlanta or for Chizik over to Columbus...   

2 years, 10 months ago on SEC Football Recruiting Budgets


Best thing about it...The day after he's talking up his special brand of recruiting prowess...he has one of his biggest commitments year-to-date de-commit to Georgia Tech (unrelated to the comments).


Gonna be real funny to see that front-runner Clay Travis melt down when Vandy starts 2-5 this year...

2 years, 10 months ago on Only Thing Dumber Than Comment Made By VU’s Franklin? The Reaction To It




The SEC channel isn't getting on basic cable in Texas, or Missouri.


Time Warner, Cox, Comcast are ALL trying to reduce the number of lightly watched channels in their standard bundles.  The biggest reason is the cost of sports programming plus the expense of carrying lightly watched channels like WE or OWN.Their business is hurting.


SEC TV might very well get on basic cable in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, TN etc. Not disputing that...But it possibly won't in Florida and it certainly won't in Texas or MO.


The cable providers are not at all happy with the cost of sport content. They aren't trying to add more right now. You add SEC TV to basic cable, people's bills have to go up or your profit goes down. One or the other. No way around it. I don't think the Espinoza family in San Antonio Texas will be happy when they learn that Joker Phillips highlights just caused their bill to grow.


I think the SEC TV economics will ONE DAY normalize to what the Big Ten gets, despite the population difference.   I don't see the viability of/demand for the product in much of Texas or MO.

2 years, 10 months ago on Everybody Agrees: An SEC Network Would Make It Rain


Have any of these people ever been to Texas, or Kansas City, Mo for that matter?  Saying the SEC footprint is now 90mm households (so let's calibrate TV revenue based upon the difference between 90 and 60mm) is simply not true. While I am aware that not everybody in Chicago is an Illinois fan, nor is everyone in Detroit a Michigan fan, or even college sports fans for that matter, it is far more likely that a sports viewer in those cities would all of a sudden begin watching Big Ten programming all year long, today, than it is that a resident of Houston, Texas is all of a sudden going to start watching the SEC programming, of which A/M is, ostensibly, only a 1/14th of the content anyway.Whether you are a college sports fan or not, those midwestern TV markets and viewers have been Big Ten country for decades.


The overwhelming majority of people in Texas do not really care about A/M....They care about the Longhorns, Cowboys, Texans, Spurs, Mavericks, Astros, Rockets, and on and on and on... Yes, they will watch the SEC football games on Saturday because the SEC matters and is always in your face on every channel, but I can assure you they have NO desire to watch the Mark Richt spring practice wrap-up show or the May 24th reply of the 1997 Kentucky South Carolina game. They do not care about UF women's gymnastics. And they NEVER will.   (this is nothing against A/M. They have a great, large alumni base and following)


Saying you"have" Texas because of A/M is just not true. It probably won't be true even 25 years from now. Certainly not in the next 10. Saying you have Kansas City because of Missouri joining is just not true. Same deal. Those people do not care how James Franklin's recruiting is going this year.


25mm people in Texas will not consume one half as much of the SEC network as 5mm people in Alabama will. 


And just assuming it will be added to sports packages is NOT true. CEO of Comcast is already on record bitching about the rising cost of sports programming (while his own business is getting hammered due to people not consuming TV like they used to). They are not looking to pay ESPN even more money every year....Time Warner guy said just yesterday, that he wants to move to smaller bundle options for his markets....This is going to be a call me up and order directly for 4 bucks a month deal.


I hope ESPN pays the SEC, and I quote, 500,000 million, more money is great. I'm an SEC fan...but if I'm running that network I'd price the SEC as a 60mm person market. There are 20mm people in Texas that just don't care if Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are playing football/basketball/or snow boarding (when there are 95 other games, including tons of other SEC programming, on that day, as well)

2 years, 10 months ago on Everybody Agrees: An SEC Network Would Make It Rain


Only coach that bothered me was Joseph at the end to Nebraska. Wilcox and Sirmon were a package deal and the guy, Wilcox, wanted to move out West. So he did. Yes, it was a painful loss timing-wise probably and certainly didn't HELP Dooley in any way, but coordinators move at all programs...sometimes even laterally. Could have easily still happened had UT won 8 games last year. And Wilcox had a multi-year deal in place, anyway... Harry Heistand was almost a total failure. Shame on Dooley for hiring his resume at all in the first place/but not for losing him....  JP, you know damn well that Lance Thompson is an absolute trainwreck. Saban will be the last guy, maybe the second to last guy, he ever works for. He wasn't recruiting like he had been. He needed to go, even had the Vols just won the Sugar Bowl.... I agree with Pennington on the TE guy that went to work for Leach. He was only making 200k a year at UT and got a package deal out there with his good friend as his boss who will get at least 3 years for sure out in Washington. Anyone takes that deal...... The receivers coach Baggett was a bad situation. Dooley was damned if he did/damned if he didn't kick Da'rick Rogers off the team. Dooley chose Rogers over Baggett. Time will tell if that was a good idea or not...


Anyway, you saw last weekend why we are even having these discussions. Ol Phil did a crap job as coach post 2001, especially post 2005. Dooley had a total sh-tsandwich for talent the last two years and has done an amazing job in restocking the talent base in a very tough recruiting environment, especially along the o and d line, linebackers, receivers, QB's, really all of it.. But you can't expect true freshman to win games in the SEC, especially second string true freshman, regardless of how good they end up being later on.  


Dooley has had two years of pretty damn good (based upon the tools he had to work with) and one day of disaster (UK game, which yes, was on him).  


Knoxville journalists need Knoxville news fodder to try to get national attention and put money in their pockets. I get that. UT has been losing games, so that's certainly something to talk about. I get that.... But Derrick Dooley day in and day out has been getting the program back a little bit closer to where it needs to be, inch by inch, in a remarkably difficult conference and under very difficult circumstances that he didn't cause or create. People realize that. He very much deserves this third year and probably even a fourth if he can get 7 regular season wins this year. He may or may not be the Vols coach of the future, but he very much is the coach bringing the program back from the total disaster that Fulmer and Kiffin made of it. I don't know who that was available and willing to come on Jan. 20 2010 that could have done any better, in any way Pennington. Do you? You never seem to write about that...

2 years, 11 months ago on Dooley Says Staff Exodus At UT Was "A Good Correction For Me"


Kind of agree with some of this. It will also be happening one day over in Alabama, to a lesser extent, when UNA gets into D1-as they are pointing toward.


If UNA can just keep one or two Huntsville or Florence kids a year up there by their might be one less kid that goes up to Ole Miss, Vandy or MSU or maybe even a Knoxville or Auburn one day (none of this will ever impact Alabama, nor will GSU ever impact UGA) If a state kid gets that offer (s), he doesn't turn it down for those schools, not in our lifetimes...


But yes, GSU over a Missouri or a Kentucky...I could see that occasionally for an Atlanta prospect, if GSU gets pretty decent


But still, theoretically the state of Georgia (or Florida or Alabama) is always growing. You kind of need some more schools.


Of course, in reverse....the Vols certainly didn't benefit when ETSU stopping playing football, and there is some high school talent in East Tennessee, regardless of what your Rivals stars say..  

2 years, 11 months ago on Georgia Recruiting Is About To Get Tougher


Hey want to do 99% of your reader's a huge favor? How about you write a "summary" of each of the new schools some time? I don't mean a "here's what the 12th man is" type deal; rather a "here's who matters; here's who the major boosters are; here's the past scandals; past accusations; past successes, etc etc".."the dirt". I note that you are jumping right into the details on TAM and MO, just like you do for the other 12 schools, and that's great, but almost none of us have any background whatsoever as to what you are talking about....and without some we just don't it's probably about time we start learning as we're stuck with these people for the foreseeable future and need to know about them.

You obviously have opinions and claim to know all about the "old" schools, so I assume you are getting up to speed on the new ones as well. Help us out.    

2 years, 11 months ago on Aggies Wait For Final Word On Byrne's "Transition"


Is UT really in the national headlines? I tried ESPN, the AJC, the Tennessean, everything I could think of and no one outside of Knoxville seems to be saying anything about this.

3 years ago on UT Cuts 17 Positions As Athletic Departments Merge


"We've done these ranking since 2008" ........What?


These are Rivals rankings; not yours. You have only gone to their website and copied the data. Then you develop conclusions you think sound interesting to justify the numbers. I can assure you that Derrick Dooley is not at all concerned that Vanderbilt has a higher Rivals ranking than UT on April 17th. I can guarandamntee you that South Carolina and Arkansas AND UT will end up with far better athletes than Vanderbilt by Feb 1, 2013.


Vanderbilt is not beating out other SEC schools for these players. Franklin is going and picking up a few guys that some ACC schools usually got. And good for him. He's making Vandy better. I'd LOVE for Vandy to get good and occasionally beat some real SEC schools. They always play hard against UT, and I'd like them to be able to cause some other teams some real problems, too. As a Vol fan.


Lemme ax you a question... How do you feel about your Knoxville colleagues such as Hubbs or Hyams and even Adams, I believe, all saying that their impression is that Dooley upgraded his coaching staff this last year? Especially at OL and DB. Heistand was a massive failure (yes, Dooley's fault for hiring him). Everyone on earth knows Lance Thompson has personal issues (Dooley's fault for keeping him). Wilcox never was going to stay and he and Sermon were a package deal (coaches simply move sometimes and no, UT isn't perfect right now).


Hart is going to be on Dooley's a-s if they go 6-6 this year, but even a child can see that the UT team hitting the field in September of 2012 will be far more talented than the team hitting the field in 2011.


Yes, it will be up to Dooley to win those games. And he had no excuses for Lexington last year. But the Vols will get their 8 wins this years and things will be just fine up there.



3 years ago on SEC Commitment Comparitor – 4/17/12


Franklin has certainly done a great job, and I expect it to continue on the recruiting trail. Vanderbilt has always had a lot to offer a kid. Nashville is a great town....However, it will be interesting to see where things stand going forward. They went 6-7 last year; they are likely going to start their 2012 season with a 2-5 or 3-4 record (tough schedule) and will have to fight to get back to the 6-6 mark and back to the Liberty Bowl. Their fans will never support them. The SEC just gets harder and harder. Their talent level might very well ramp up, but it will be a full, 4 year project at Vandy just like it was a multi-year project at Knoxville after Fulmer wrecked it there. I don't think Franklin sticks around for 4 years of beating his head into the wall to scrap to go 5-7, 6-6.... The gap is simply always going to be too great. Franklin can and will always prevent a 2-10 going forward, which is a success in its own right, but there's no 9 win season out there for him. He will learn that. Got to think Ole Miss and UK will stop at nothing to correct their own issues at least to the point where they no longer lose to Vandy. He's got to play Missouri every year now. Poor Franklin has a lot of people gunning for him. It can't be done there; not because it's Vandy, rather because the other schools will NEVER accept losing to them. If Vandy goes from a 5 out of 10 to a 7 out of 10, the other schools will just make it a 20 point scale...


As for Dooley, he always starts slow. They are well ahead of last year's pace, and you are wrong about his job security being the primary reason recruiting is sluggish (even though it's far ahead of last year's pace).Rumors certainly aren't helping him, but  he lost his recruiting coordinator and most of his assistants 60 days ago. A lot of kids are simply taking a step back and getting parents back in front of the new coaches, coming back to see where they fit with the new staff etc. They are actually very happy with their unofficial visits so far.  People feel they have a lot of solid commits coming in the early summer. Dooley has done a solid job rebuilding talent up there, with kids who are staying out of trouble by and large. An interested journalist could write one hell of a book on just how bad Fulmer's recruiting was from 2005-2008. Kiffin did even worse the next year.    


It IS ironic that Dooley lost a high profile recruit to Arkansas last year (according to the recruit himself) primarily due to Petrino starting those same rumors about Dooley's job security, and the girls he said he met on campus...No joke. Otha Peters.

3 years ago on SEC Commitment Comparitor – 4/17/12


I think Dooley is going to be OK. Assuming Justin Hunter continues to progress with his recovery (and he is apparently off to a great start so far) and that Cordarelle Patterson is even close to the player advertised, then the offense will keep them in every game next year, as it very well could be one of the nation's better ones. The four non conferences and UK and Vandy 99% guarantee a 6 win base to build off of.... Yes, I saw last year's UK game.....So Dooley needs two of the remaining six and the heat is largely off.


And yes, defense will be quite important to getting 8 wins; however, Tennessee had a fairly decent defense given the age of some of the players last year, and considering where the offense often left them after Bray got hurt. They continue to rapidly upgrade talent with players like Sentimore. Bray is healthy at present.


Dooley and Sunseri have said many times that they are not going all out 3-4. So 4-3 always will be an option (UGA went all out two years ago I believe). Assuming that every defense is in the nickle or dime 25 percent of the time,and assuming they will still play some 4-3 (which they have good players for, and already know), you are really looking at about half of UT's snaps coming in the 3-4.


UF, Bama, MSU and UGA, even USCe all project to be fairly vanilla offenses for awful lot of offensive explosiveness left each one of those schools this year with Rainey, Demps, Dubose, Richardson, Jeffrey, Orson Charles, etc... So, Tennessee will at least have mostly I-formation, pound it at you offenses to defend when in the 3-4 in 2012 (not a lot of wildcat, spread, etc)... Probably some very good offenses, it's still the SEC, but nothing Muschamp, Saban, Richt or anyone else seem to be saying indicates anything other than basic, right at you offensive football for their teams next year. 


Tennessee may very well still have a talent or coaching (or both) issue next year when it steps on the field against the upper half of the SEC, but they are gonna beat NCST and Ga Southern to start the year. They will have UF at home in the third game and UF probably ain't gonna be all that dynamic on offense at that point. The Vols are certainly experts at finding ways to blow that Florida game, but I don't think that one will be lost due to an inability to grasp what UF is doing offensively out of the 3-4-or a match-up problem when UF has the ball. (keep in mind that Grantham was playing Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, AJ Green, and Marcus Lattimore that first year and UGA wasn't going to stop them in the 4-3, 5-2, or wasn't all scheme).


I like where the Vols are. They will not be an LSU or Bama next year, by any means, but the indications are that the run game will be improved. If Bray, Hunter, Rogers and Clear all stay healthy, the offense will put points on the board even in the SEC games.


There is reason for optimism that the Vols can put two or three 30-24 victories on the board in their six "real" games, as I think the defense can hold together well enough in the transition year to occasionally force a few punts and turnovers each outing. The Vols will likely start 9 out of 11 players on offense who will get drafted when they leave the school, so they will have a shot...if they can make some plays when it counts, they will probably beat some good teams this year.   


That doesn't leave Dooley in too bad of a spot.



3 years ago on Bama-To-UT Transfer Sentimore Thinks Sunseri Will Lead Vols To A Title


We know you quite eagerly await his next episode...what else would people talk about on local TV shows if it wasn't for 20 year old kids screwing up.  Look, Rogers is obviously an odd (possibly bad) apple. He is old enough to be responsible for his own actions. And Dooley is certainly old enough to be responsible for his decisions as the coach.  But the fact of the matter is that Fat Phil created and caused this exact situation. At some point, it was going to take a little bit of a "stain" to get a program as hopelessly untalented as UT back up to where it needs to be to win again. The state of SEC football is too cutthroat. UT is damn lucky to have gotten Rogers when it did (remember the exodus of commitments after Kiffin left?). UT is NOT to the point it can run his crappy attitude off yet, either. It's not like the kid is doing drugs, stealing laptops, or holding up people at gas stations (yes, he was in the massive bar fight with half his team two years ago). 99% of UT's fans would rather win first, have perfect tranquility later.... So yes, you put up with Rogers' tweets and missed study halls right now, and even his impact on the locker room. Because you know what? Derrick Dooley, Malik Jackson, Dallas Thomas, Tyler Bray and all the other supposed "indignant" teammates can't get it done on their own. They need Rogers, and Rogers needs them until such time as UT can win 9 plus games a year without him and Da'rick can go pro. And the media will b-tch until that happens because the media has nothing else to do (or constructive to say). And that's fine. People pay you to do it...But since you are getting paid, why don't you go hound Fulmer for having to have Rogers around today. Had he maybe recruited just one or two decent receivers in between donuts, Dooley could afford to fight back a little harder when kids tweet too much now.


Anyway, not going to change your and Hyams' opinion (you have money to make off these kids), but if Rogers is the worst discipline case that Dooley ever has to bring in to fix things (and the book is still out if things will be fixed), then he's going to go down as a saint relative to his peers in the the SEC.    

3 years ago on UT's Rogers Says He Never Considered A Transfer


Lemme tell you what will happen here. Your conclusion regarding Dooley's predicament is spot on. He desperately needs Rogers, but he can't afford to keep him...And this is a big year coming up....What will ultimately break this stalemate for Dooley is Cordarelle Patterson. Dooley will not kick Rogers off right now (in my opinion), rather he'll be "suspended" until summer. At which time they will let him back on the team. Also at which time they get to see Cordarelle Patterson in the flesh running routes with Bray throwing. 


If Patterson turns out to be what the coaches expect, Rogers is gone the second he even looks at someone sideways again. If Patterson isn't ready to excel from day 1, then Rogers sticks around and things certainly remain dicey for Dooley in that locker room. 


Dooley cannot afford to NOT have either Rogers or Patterson out there playing well next year. And candidly, neither can the program. It HAS got to get to 8 wins this year, even if it is forced to take the "unpleasant" route there by keeping Rogers.


Anyway, I think Patterson will work out and you'll see Rogers gone by 8/1...

3 years ago on WR Rogers' Tweets Raise Questions About His Status UT