|Derek Dooley's Hot Pants?|
Athlon Sports asked its contributors if Dooley was on the Hot Seat. Most agreed with the question. Here's the response of Mitch Light.
"I believe it’s fair to say that Derek Dooley will be on the hot seat in 2012, his third season in Knoxville. He didn’t inherit an ideal situation at Tennessee, but he has done nothing in his two seasons to prove that he is the long term answer for the Vols. In five years as a head coach (three at Louisiana Tech and two at UT), Dooley has a 16–24 record in conference play. In his two seasons at Tennessee, he is 4¬–12 in the SEC, with two wins over Vanderbilt and one win over Ole Miss and Kentucky. That simply isn’t good enough. His 2011 team was hit hard by injuries, losing star wideout Justin Hunter to a torn ACL in Week 3 and quarterback Tyler Bray to a broken thumb for five games. That can explain some of this team’s struggles, but there is no reason that Tennessee should have had so much difficulty running the ball. The Vols ranked 117th in the nation in rushing, averaging a paltry 90.1 yards per game. That is inexcusable.
It’s always dangerous to throw out a number of wins required for a coach to keep his job, but Dooley will probably need to win at least eight games in 2012. Regardless, though, his team needs to look like it has improved — something that can’t be said for each of the last two seasons."
An online poll by the Knoxville News Sentinel has more telling information. When asked "Do you approve of the job Derek Dooley did this season?" 74% of the responders said "no." There are also stories of dissension in the ranks within the Tennessee football team.
Dooley will probably survive the offseason, but he may have to show vast improvement to survive past a third season in Knoxville, and produce more wins than memes.
(via Athlon Sports, The Knoxville News Sentinel, Mr. SEC)